Monday, September 15, 2014

(80) Driving with the Top Down by Beth Harbison

Colleen Bradley is excited for her upcoming road-trip. She desperately needs a break from her teenage son and work-a-holic husband. So while they are off bonding on a trip to the baseball hall of fame, she loads up her little car, hitches up the trailer and is ready to set off on a trip down the coast to find new merchandise for her antique store Junk and Disorderly.  Colleen is less than thrilled when she finds out her grumpy niece, Tamara, will have to join her.  Tamara is a sullen teenager who has repeatedly gotten into trouble ever since her mother died and she was forced to live with her father, Colleen's brother-in-law. The two are just hours into their road-trip wh:en the stumble across Colleen's best friend from college, Bitty.  It is obvious that Bitty is down on her luck and joins the road-trippers on their journey.  Across the miles the three women learn things about each other and themselves, but will their renewed relationships survive when they return home and back in the real world?

Driving with the Top Down is a fun and quick read about three women of varying ages fundamentally dissatisfied with the life they are leading.  The book is told from the viewpoint of all three characters, so you get inside their head to see what is not being said and frankly it is just downright sad.  Bitty is completely lost ever since her separation from her husband. Tamara is a teenager completely lost ever since her mother passed away and she has made some incredibly poor choices. And Colleen has spent her entire marriage believing that she was second choice and the years have taken their toll.  I enjoyed this book when the women were opening up with each other, especially when they were playing the "Never have I ever" game. It was then that they seemed to be most "real" and at ease with each other.  I love the way things were wrapped up, especially with Tam.  She needed Colleen in her life most and I really enjoyed reading the Epilogue. 

Bottom line, Driving with the Top Down was a feel good novel that I could see becoming a feel good Lifetime movie.  The characters all have unique perspectives, but at the end of the day they all want the same thing. To be loved, wanted, and appreciated.   A quick and fun read. 

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