Please note all the reviews found on this blog are simply MY OPINION on the books that I read. There are many people out there who will disagree with my assessment of a book and that is fine - read my review - decide for yourself whether or not you want to read the book. If you do read it, by all means comment on my review with your own thoughts on the book!! I was not an english major, I judge the books based on my own taste and opinions, so read them with that in mind! Debate and discussion on the books I read is welcomed and encouraged!!
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Riding in Cars with Boys by Beverly Donofrio

ISBN: 0-14-029629-8 Page count: 204


The catholic daughter of a police officer, teenager Beverly Donofrio finds herself pregnant and married to a loser - not the life she dreamed for herself. This book follows the life of Bev as she tries to make the best of a bad situation. Teenage pregnancy, divorce, drugs, college, and family all play a huge part in the woman Bev becomes and the son she never wanted.


The critics quote on the front of this book is this: "A classic. Unless you hate to laugh, read it now."

I have to completely disagree with this quote. I did not find this book funny - in fact, I don't think I laughed or even cracked a smile once while reading it. Does that mean it's a bad book? Definitely not! Quite, the contrary actually - I really enjoyed this book. I'm just letting you know that it is definitely not a comedy. I found this book to be extremely sad, and at some points, down right depressing.

Beverly Donofrio writes with a blunt honesty rarely seen in books. She was not afraid to write exactly what she was thinking and feeling, even though sometimes it did not exactly paint her in a great light. For example, she is very open about her bitterness towards her pregnancy and the fact that although she loves her son, he definitely was not wanted. In one part, she actually talks about wishing her husband would die before she was 35 because by then her son would be 18 and she could start her life over again. Not exactly the words of a perfect mother or wife. Not really something too many women would be willing to admit out loud, let alone put in print.

Overall, a brutally honest novel filled with the dashed hopes and dreams of a woman who found herself in a situation she never imagined.

Movie tie-in:

As a general rule, I prefer to read a book before I see a movie based on a book. In my experience, the movies usually don't compare to the book and sometimes if you haven't read the book, the movie is hard to follow and just doesn't make sense (I'm talking about you Twilight!)

This is one of those situations where I happened to see the movie first. Let me be honest, I loved the movie. I thought it was hilarious. Now, having read the book, I am a little confused as to how both the book and the movie could have been based on the same woman's life. Minor characters in the book become major characters in the movie, and major characters in the book are not in the movie at all. Also, major events in the book either did not happen in the movie, or were completely different - taking place in a different order or in different contexts.

Taken separately, the book is great and the movie is great. Compare them and some major continuity issues come up. So is the book the real story or is the movie how it all happened? I don't know. I almost hope the movie is the truth, just because the book is so sad and depressing, however, I think that probably the book is more accurate and the movie changed things to make it more interesting for audiences.

In this particular instance, it really doesn't matter whether you see the movie first or read the book first because they are so vastly different that they are almost unrecognizable as being based on the same woman. Strange!

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