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The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  1,407 Ratings  ·  198 Reviews
“The journey from the head to the hand is perilous and lined with bodies. It is the road on which nearly everyone who wants to write—and many of the people who do write—get lost.”

So writes Ann Patchett in "The Getaway Car", a wry, wisdom-packed memoir of her life as a writer. Here, for the first time, one of America’s most celebrated authors ("State of Wonder", "Bel Canto"
Kindle Edition, 45 pages
Published August 25th 2011 by Byliner, Inc.
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Dec 11, 2013 Booksaremyboyfriends rated it it was amazing
THE GETAWAY CAR is Patchett’s mini-writing memoir and it’s my favorite work of hers to date. Girl had some making up to do. I’m a BEL CANTO fan, but I had very mixed feelings about this summer’s STATE OF WONDER. But all is forgiven because girl takes a hammer and NAILS it with this short and sweet memoir that tracks the ups and downs of her career through the sale of her first novel. Highlights include her tales of being one of Grace Paley’s student (Paley is so obviously Dr. Swenson in STATE OF ...more
Catelyn May
Jan 20, 2012 Catelyn May rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks
Sometimes I read a book at exactly the right moment. And every time it happens, I am struck by that peculiar feeling that I've received something valuable that I didn't even know I needed. I needed to read this and I read it at exactly the right moment, and that might color my feelings about it, but isn't that how it is with everything?

When I was younger, mostly middle school and high school, I read books on writing. I never wrote much myself, as I knew that most of what I would attempt would be
Deborah Edwards
Jul 06, 2015 Deborah Edwards rated it it was amazing
Writers are always looking for inspiration. Most of us know we will never write the Great American Novel, but we continue to write. Most of us also know we will never make our living as writers, and so we work other jobs to pay the bills while writing in the bits and pieces of time not filled by other concerns. When we think of an author like Ann Patchett, who has made the leap, has written successful novels of depth and substance that also afford her to pay the bills and live her life as a ...more
I'm wavering between three and four stars. Patchett is not my favorite writer but she's a writer and I enjoy reading what authors have to say about how they do their work. I write, too, just in a totally different capacity, but it's still writing. I often find helpful things in essays like this, whether it's comfort (yes, it's normal to have demoralizing moments in the process of writing), or tips that might work for me when I have trouble focusing enough to get all that blasted information and ...more
Apr 07, 2013 Crystal rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-writing
This is a Kindle "Short" that I enjoyed very much. I have not read any of Patchett's other works but her discussion of how she approaches fiction intrigued me. I read this in two sittings so I'm not sure that I remember what the getaway car had to do with it, but this is a comfortable, entertaining read for those writerly types among us. Or I would imagine a fan of her work would enjoy reading this. She offers some advice for those "writerly" types who want to publish and she gives general ...more
Dec 05, 2013 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Loved every word of this insanely wise and insightful account.
Feb 16, 2013 Mayra rated it it was amazing
I’ve never read a book or a short story by Ann Patchett before and I can’t tell you that I ever will—I passed Bel Canto more times than I could count when I worked at Borders without feeling any urge to pick it up. I also can’t tell you why I decided to pay $2.99 for an ebook by an author I’d never read before, when I haven’t read writing memoirs in almost a decade. But here we are. I bought it, I read it, I loved it and I learned from it.

This is super short, under a hundred pages (or a hundred
Joe Flood
May 15, 2012 Joe Flood rated it it was amazing
The questions I get most about writing are the practical ones. What do you write with? Where do you write? How do you find time to write?

Answers to these questions are supplied by novelist Ann Patchett in The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life. It's like a FAQ for aspiring writers.

Do you need to get an MFA in Creative Writing? Not if it means going into debt, according the prudent Patchett.

Should you turn your desk away from the window, to avoid distractions? "Desk positionin
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Nov 29, 2012 Melissa Crytzer Fry rated it it was amazing
Truly inspirational little memoir for writers. Filled with so many quote-worthy snippets ... though this one resonated with me greatly (and obviously with many others, given the number of Kindle "highlighters" on it):

"I believe that, more than anything else, this grief of constantly having to face our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing."
Dec 27, 2011 Georgiana rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-free
Won a copy of this Kindle single when joining I've heard parts of it before, in various talks given by Ann Patchett (and posted online). I enjoyed listening to the talks more than reading this single. I'm not interested in writing fiction, but many of the suggestions made by AP have to do with good work habits, not exclusively with writing.

Favorite quotes:

“It's a wonderful thing to find a great teacher, but you also have to find him or her at a time in life when you're able to liste
Sep 05, 2011 Tricia rated it really liked it
Ann Patchett offers a glimpse into her writer's life with "The Getaway Car." Part-memoir, part friendly "since you asked" advice, the essay addresses the reality and myths of the writing life. To her credit, Patchett does admit that what she outlines as her process is just that: her process. She illustrates this by comparing how she approaches a novel versus how her best friend and fellow writer approaches her novel writing. Some people compose in their head for months or maybe even years ...more
Juan Ignacio Gelos

“The journey from the head to the hand is perilous and lined with bodies. It is the road on which nearly everyone who wants to write—and many of the people who do write—get lost.”So writes Ann Patchett in "The Getaway Car", a wry, wisdom-packed memoir of her life as a writer. Here, for the first time, one of America’s most celebrated authors ("State of Wonder", "Bel Canto", "Truth and Beauty"), talks at length about her literary career—the highs and the lows—and shares advice on the craft and ar

Oct 26, 2011 Happyreader rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Apparently one of the downsides of being a best-selling author is that you’re constantly inundated by offers from insistent strangers to take advantage of the fabulous opportunity to write their enthralling life stories. For a 50/50 split of the profits, of course, since they’d write it themselves if they had the time.

This short piece essentially says feel free to dig out that inner great novel yourself because she’s not going to write it for you. Just realize that you’ll need talent, drive, dis
Oct 03, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
I LOVE to read books about writing, especially the memoirs. I've read a few of Patchett's books and I prefer the nonfiction, this especially included. I like her practical stance on MFA programs (don't go in debt for one) and her honest sharing of how difficult writing can be and how completely stubborn the writer can be (about writing). Patchett had the benefit of studying under some of America's premier authors and argues you can teach a person to write, albeit only in sentence structure, plot ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoirs
Warm, smart, and funny. Great reading for any writer no matter what stage of a career they might be at. I found it incredibly reassuring and kind, and I marked several sections with (electronic) highlights so that I can go back and re-read them again next time I'm battling self-doubt and insecurity.

Also, I read several anecdotes out loud to my husband because they were so funny!

But my favorite section was the one on her friendships with other writers, which was so true and so powerful. I loved
Kaytee Cobb
Feb 20, 2016 Kaytee Cobb rated it it was amazing
Read this for the #MMDReadingChallenge as a "book you can read in a day", or a morning, as the case may be. it was short and witty and insightful. even if you don't have dreams of writing, I think that Patchett's advice is kind of universally applicable: put in the time, do what you love, work through the process, just sit down and do it. Recommended, and a very short easy read anyone can finish in a day.
Jul 03, 2013 Natalie rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-book
A short little craft book, where Patchett mainly talks about her process and dishes out a little practical advice. Her best piece of advice, really, seems to be to 1. write and 2. to not listen to advice and find your own process.

This book will be featured on SummerBooks in the coming weeks.
Patrice Fitzgerald
Mar 19, 2012 Patrice Fitzgerald rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this short and frank book about writing from Ann Patchett, of whom I'm a big fan. I was impressed by the practical nature of her advice -- exactly what the book promises.

She's entertaining and succinct.

Highly recommended for writers.
Aug 15, 2016 Sonya added it
Shelves: 2016
I'm not going to rate this book, because it's not really a book. It's a brief, beautifully written, treatise on writing and writing practicalities. I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed hearing that Patchett and Elizabeth McCracken are friends. That made my day.
Anne Bogel
May 13, 2013 Anne Bogel rated it it was amazing
This is the first Ann Patchett I've read, outside of the occasional magazine article. I thought this memoir was absolutely terrific, and well-suited to the Kindle single format.
Dec 28, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing
Brilliant as always, Ann Patchett. Delightful and useful advice for all, not just writers although certainly its focus is on helping writers get started.
Joan Winnek
Feb 25, 2012 Joan Winnek rated it really liked it
I read this right after finishing Ann Patchett's first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars, which I loved. This short memoir tells how this book came to be.
Jul 25, 2016 Sinclair rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, small book on writing advice. I'll read this again.
Aug 30, 2011 Marybeth rated it it was amazing
Great, simple advice. Every aspiring writer should read.
Jeroen Nijs
Nov 26, 2016 Jeroen Nijs rated it really liked it
For me, the most important quote was:

I never learned how to take the beautiful thing in my imagination and put it on paper without feeling I killed it along the way. I did, however, learn how to weather the death, and I learned how to forgive myself for it.

I have the same thing; when I write something, it is always different from the way I had imagined it, and I hate that. (I even feel like that about these short reviews.) It was very comforting to hear that Patchett has the same problem, and th
Oct 27, 2016 Patricia rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I admire the concept of this little book that tells her story of doing the work to become a writer. Then, when she is questioned about her success, she can respond.".read The Getaway Car to learn what worked for me."

I enjoyed the mini memoir and plan to read it again for inspiration every year.
Debbie Stone
Oct 30, 2016 Debbie Stone rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, memoir
I wasn't really looking to find out more about writing as a career, so I'm not sure why I picked this up.  But I did and I liked it well enough. It was interesting to see a little bit into Patchett's life.
Oct 31, 2016 Joni rated it really liked it
Such a great mini-memoir about writing by such a great writer. This book gave me so much to think about because I keep saying I "want" to write (who knows what), but I don't do it (who knows why). This might just inspire me to at least sit, as Patchett suggests, and perhaps give it a go someday.
Kate Donnelly
Oct 25, 2016 Kate Donnelly rated it really liked it
Informative suggestions on writing the novel. Patchett does not push how she writes, but provides things she has learned. Her best advice seems to be :if you want to write, you must write. No excuses.
Dec 08, 2016 Nicole rated it did not like it
Meh...don't rush to make this purchase. This is only available as an ibook/ebook. I can't tell you how much I loathe reading from a device.
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Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother is the novelist Jeanne Ray.

She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live. Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog. If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home. "Home is ...the stable window that opens out into the imagination."

Patchett attended hi
More about Ann Patchett...

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“Art stands on the shoulders of craft, which means that to get to the art, you must master the craft. If you want to write, practice writing.” 9 likes
“The more we are willing to separate from distraction and step into the open arms of boredom, the more writing will get on the page.” 9 likes
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