Driven

DRIVEN

A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back

Melissa Stephenson

For fans of Wild, a searing memoir about one woman’s road to hope following the death of her troubled brother, told through the series of cars that accompanied her.

Growing up in a blue-collar family in the Midwest, Melissa Stephenson longed for escape. Her wanderlust was an innate reaction to the powerful personalities around her, and came too from her desire to find a place in the world where her artistic ambitions wouldn’t be thwarted. She found in automobiles the promise of a future beyond Indiana state lines.

From a lineage of secondhand family cars of the late ’60s,

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For fans of Wild, a searing memoir about one woman’s road to hope following the death of her troubled brother, told through the series of cars that accompanied her.

Growing up in a blue-collar family in the Midwest, Melissa Stephenson longed for escape. Her wanderlust was an innate reaction to the powerful personalities around her, and came too from her desire to find a place in the world where her artistic ambitions wouldn’t be thwarted. She found in automobiles the promise of a future beyond Indiana state lines.

From a lineage of secondhand family cars of the late ’60s, to the Honda that carried her from Montana to Texas as her new marriage disintegrated, to the ’70s Ford she drove away from her brother’s house after he took his life (leaving Melissa the truck, a dog, and a few mixed tapes), to the VW van she now uses to take her kids camping, she knows these cars better than she knows some of the people closest to her. Driven away from grief, and toward hope, Melissa reckons with what it means to lose a beloved sibling.

Driven is a powerful story of healing, for all who have had to look back at pain to see how they can now move forward.

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  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Hardcover
  • July 2018
  • 256 Pages
  • 9781328768292

Buy the Book

$23.00

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About Melissa Stephenson

Melissa StephensonMelissa Stephenson earned her B.A. in English from the University of Montana and her M.F.A. in fiction from Texas State University. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Rumpus, the Washington Post, ZYZZYVA, and Fourth Genre. Driven is her first book. She lives in Missoula, Montana, with her two kids.

Author Website

Praise

“Wanderlust is instilled in Stephenson from a young age, and cars both enable her spirit of adventure and allow her to get at intangible emotions while dealing with very tangible objects…Moving…We need more stories from women like [this]…[who] crave new experiences and knowledge, and are frank about the compromises they have to make for their families.”Outside  

Driven is an edgy memoir of cars, crises, and coming of age…[it’s] worth reading for a quality more difficult to portray in dust jacket copy: being in the hands of a real writer and watching the mastery of craft on the page as [Stephenson] condenses and expands the moments of ordinary life into story, casting for insight and meaning…It’s clear we’re in the hands of a professional…[she] sets a scene so we feel like we’re inside her skin…Stephenson exploits the bread and butter of memoir — parsing childhood experiences and complicated family dynamics — but Driven also explores edgier, more experimental terrain…Both the irony, and the beauty, of this book is that it isn’t so much a story about her brother at all. This story is hers.”Texas Observer   

“In a passionate memoir, Stephenson finds comfort and freedom in the cars that grounded the turbulence and restlessness of her life.”Shelf Awareness