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The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  1,369 Ratings  ·  189 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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Community Reviews

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Sep 05, 2011 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 18, 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 writ ...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 writi ...more
Dec 03, 2013 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Loved every word of this insanely wise and insightful account.
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
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
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."
Lorin Cary
Apr 20, 2016 Lorin Cary rated it it was amazing
Pratchett calls this a "practical memoir" rather than a guide because she for uses on what works for her, who she writes, what her experience has been. Along the way her experience provides useful tips. Put in the time. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Time applied = work completed.
And she suggests several books: Collected Story, by Grace Paley; Raymond Chandler's, The Long Goodbye; books by your Elizabeth McCracken, who reads and makes suggestions on all of her work. Short but pithy. An
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
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

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 (Patch ...more
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
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
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.
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.
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
Mar 09, 2015 Lauri rated it it was amazing
This is a very enjoyable memoir of novelist Ann Patchett's life as an author. It is an interesting stroll down memory lane with her, touching upon her educational background, her mentors, and her struggles and successes. Whether or not you are or want to be a writer, there are lots of little gems in here. A few examples:

- "We all have ideas, sometimes good ones, not to mention the gift of emotional turmoil that every childhood provides. In short, the story is in us, and all we have to do is si
Jan 14, 2016 Alok rated it really liked it
The book is about the real life experience about how a renowned author journeys from the initial struggling days of writing till she achieves success. The book is slated with good practice's and techniques to be followed based on the author's experience. According to the author each one of us has stories and contents imbibed in our mind, but the key to good story is how one plots the same and convert what is in the mind to three dimensional reality as fathomed by reader so as to make it interest ...more
Susan Barsy
Aug 15, 2014 Susan Barsy rated it it was ok
Shelves: lit
As a expression of personality, this breezy, how-I-did-it reflection on achieving writerly success was unbecoming. Ms Patchett is spunky and wants us to admire her, but that's hard to do when she displays such evident condescension toward some of the ordinary devotees who attend her talks because they admire her or want to learn something of the secrets of novel-writing. She pillories those who strike her as stupid or benighted. This is an ungracious thing to do.

Some bits of advice in this book
Niki Danforth
Feb 03, 2014 Niki Danforth rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading the essay, "The Getaway Car," by Anne Patchett, as part of her longer collection, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. In this one essay, Patchett takes a stab at exactly what it means to pour everything you are into being a writer. The author says, "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."

Jul 25, 2016 Sinclair rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, small book on writing advice. I'll read this again.
Jul 11, 2012 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.
Cathy Cook
Oct 05, 2016 Cathy Cook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is a Writer's Life for Me?

Recently, as I sat listening to an author talk about his book, I pondered what it must feel like to know the accomplishment of having a book published. The Getaway Car succeeded in both encouraging and discouraging the ambition to try writing for me.

Anne Patchett pulls no punches. She claims no shortcuts or easy steps. She has accepted her pathway to success as a writer. Discipline. First she spends time imagining the story, but then she must kill the 3-D wonder she ha
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.
May 12, 2016 Rissie rated it it was amazing
A mini memoir about the work of writing. How good can it be? Turns out, REALLY great. (It is by Ann Patchett after all.) I have already recommended it to several friends, three calculus students and two geometry classes. If I could, I would buy copies for all of them.

This little book is about how to write, but I found that so much of her advice and wisdom can be applied to any task that requires creativity. (There are many more of these tasks than people realize.)

"It turns out that the distance
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.
Jun 17, 2015 Ginger rated it liked it
Everyone loved this, but aside from it being too short, I just didn't think much of the advice was all that universal. It seemed very common sense to me, which is not to say that writing is easy, but I just think many know how to do it (just write every day, keep writing, edit, etc.), it's just that writing is hard and most of us don't want to do it.

Still, I'll read anything Patchett pens. If you want even more insight into her writing life, I suggest picking up Truth & Beauty. It's her memo
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.
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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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