Driven by 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 herGrowing 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 f...

Details Driven

Release DateJul 24th, 2018
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography

Reviews Driven

  • Brandice
    It can be dangerous to buy into the comparison of one book to another, especially when you loved the original one in said comparison. I typically avoid buying into this type of hype, but have to admit the comparison to Wild, one of my favorite books, is what initially drew me to Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back. I thought it was a decent read but not nearly of the caliber of Wild. Driven is a memoir by Melissa Stephenson, cent...
  • Heather Hess
    I didn't feel like i read a memoir; I felt more like I was just having coffee and a chat with someone who was telling me their life story. It was written like a conversation with the reader and I really enjoyed that.I think this book is very relevant right now because of the way the author talks about her brother and how he affected their lives. Suicide is a big topic right now and this story has some powerful insights to it and how to deal with ...
  • Karen Nelson
    This is one of those books that has a theme that sneaks up on you. I was unsure of where this would take me, but I did enjoy the journey. Written with a contemporary bent, this book examines grief and what it is like to have a sibling being taken so young. Growing up in a blue-collar Midwest family, the author uses her words to paint the picture of that life. Melissa Stephenson wanted to escape the stillness of her world and see beyond Indiana, a...
  • Elizabeth
    (I received a free advance reader copy of Driven via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This is an abbreviation of my complete review which can be found on my blog.)When we think of heartbreak, most of us think of losing a romantic love. Yet the pain of losing a loved one to death is every bit as devastating – if not moreso—than the heartbreak of a lost romantic love. Both losses can launch us into a deep spiraling grief that consumes ...
  • Emily
    I read this book over the course of a weekend; it was that good. I just read. And I loved it. It talks about family, and history, and the various lenses through which we view events and our own histories and all the ways in which our lives are build by events and then we look back and those events change depending on our perspective, and we learn and we grow and we look again. It's about growth. It's about grief. It's about how grief draws on you...
  • Shannon Perri
    I absolutely loved this memoir. The language was shimmery, yet lean and precise. The voice was strong, and above all, there was hope--a momentum toward vitality -- in a book that deals graciously with hard topics such as grief, suicide, and alcoholism. I can't wait to read what's next from her.
  • SundayAtDusk
    Early on in this memoir, Melissa Stephenson describes how her state trooper grandfather was "reduced to a stain on the highway", when a car hit him while he was helping a stranded elderly woman. Personally, I thought that was a very distasteful way of putting it, and there is unfortunately much distastefulness in this story. (As well as painfully obvious proof the author has a MFA in fiction.) Actually, there's downright vulgarity where Ms. Steph...
  • Zachary Houle
    I’ve only owned one driveable car in my life: possibly a Tonka. It was a little race car I nicknamed the “88 car” because it had a gigantic 88 stickered on the side. It was my training wheels to a real bicycle, as it was something you could pedal, and I suppose it was a sort of consolation prize for me from my parents as I really wanted a Big Wheel after seeing kids driving those around in Toronto apartment building complex parking lot when...
  • Amy
    3.5 Stars Because Melissa grew up in the Midwest around the same time as I did, (minus a few years), I felt like she could have easily been a classmate of mine, living through the seasons of childhood, preteen, and full blown adolescents. Her memoir captures the different roles she played in life as a daughter, sister, and eventual wife and mother. But the heaviest emphasis is on her relationship with her older brother, Matthew. Matthew’s probl...
  • Tyler
    A few things about this book bothered me from the start- the unapologetic confederate flag license plates to start in the intro... but then calling the Chinese foot binding practice Japanese, totally different culture and country! and a couple chapters later stating she sold a car with a cardboard love letter of features including that it was a manual, then the next few pages saying she bought and drove her first car with a clutch after selling h...
  • Bamboozlepig
    This was a fast read for me, mostly because in the second half, I pretty much skimmed. Stephenson has a solid writing style that sometimes ventures into the hard-boiled noir style. I was more into the part about her growing up and remembered so many of the pop culture references, not to mention the cars. I felt bad that her brother killed himself and she and her family were struggling to cope with his loss. But it was after the suicide section th...
  • Janilyn Kocher
    Driven is a memoir centered around Stephenson's family's cars and her love of travel. Stephens has wanderlust in her blood and once she escapes from the flat lands of Indiana she goes coast to coast and everywhere in between. The story is also about her relationship with her older brother, all their problems, and his death. Driven is a smooth narrative, down an open road that full of speed bumps. It's also a sad story about a life so full of pote...
  • Ann
    I just received this book, and read it in 1 day. I really liked it. I loved how Melissa added so many of her memories from the 70s which brought back memories for me, as we are from the same era. I enjoyed reading about her many cars that the family went through, as we also had many cars too. The only things that I did not like were the details of her brothers death scattered through the book, and the chapter dedicated to the funeral and preparat...
  • Shelly
    This is an exceptionally written book but it is not a happy book. I could have written parts of this book myself which makes it all the more sadder for me. Expect a very realistic portrayal of what it is like to deal with family members in crisis due to depression and addiction (both drug and alcohol) and the process of grief. While the chapters are written around the cars, they really only serve as metaphors for where the author was in life duri...
  • Sue Ann
    Full disclosure: Melissa’s parents are childhood friends of mine. It was a very emotional experience to read about the family from her perspective. I hope this telling has a cathartic affect to help her cope with the tragedies she has faced. One thing is clear— she is a strong and determined young woman.
  • Katrina
    I tried to go slow and savor, but that was impossibleI keep trying to find a clever way to talk about reading Driven. All I have is the corny idea that I was driven to read it until there were no more words left to read. As with so many of my favorite books, I will now turn back to the first page and read it again.
  • Ronnie
    I feel for her and what she has gone through and appreciate her sharing her story but my rating is for the writing, which I did not enjoy and rolled my eyes or cringed at many times. There's also a few typos in the book, though I noticed that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt gave is 5 stars on here.
  • Erin Maynard (Andersen)
    Shes a good writer but not a good storyteller. I didn't care about anyone in the book or what happened to them
  • Elena L.
    "Driven" doesn't seem like a memoir because the writing is quite light about tough subjects such as grief and suicide. I enjoyed the idea that each chapter is about a car that they went through but the story itself didn't grab my attention.[I received this ARC through Goodreads and all opinions are my own]
  • Amy Morgan
    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. Melissa Stephens has always found it hard to be settled in one place. She also had a fascination with cars and tells the story of her family through the variety of automobiles that have come and gone through various and important parts of her life. After her brother commits suicide he leaves Melissa his dog and his truck. As Melissa drives his truck back to Texas she begins recounting her memor...