Rachel Hallock's Reviews > Riding in Cars with Boys: Confessions of a Bad Girl Who Makes Good

Riding in Cars with Boys by Beverly Donofrio
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Dec 28, 2009

really liked it
Read in December, 2009

I read Riding in Cars with Boys, by Beverly Donofrio. There’s a movie based on it with Drew Barrymore, but before I read the book I hadn’t seen it. As a notorious Barrymore-hater, I figured the movie would be atrocious, but surprisingly was the best I’ve ever seen Drew. I must admit I did read the book because it had a movie to go along with it, but as usual, I liked the book better than the movie.
To summarize briefly, Bev is a teenage girl living in the projects who gets into some “trouble”, meaning she gets knocked up. As a pregnant teenager, she deals with the hardships of having to grow up too quickly and trying to balance her own life with caring for her child.
Beverly is absolutely crazy, but she is inspiring in her own right. Actually, her insanity is legitimately proven when she visits the division of vocational rehabilitation.
“If I scored crazy and smart enough, they’d send me to college; if I scored crazy and wasn’t smart, I’d get vocational training.” (Donofrio 140)
She scores crazy and smart, but doesn’t quite have the initiative the DVR is looking for. They send her to community college, but she has to find her own transportation and childcare for Jason.
Beverly is a captivating author. She has a brash style and doesn’t glaze over anything, but with what she has been through, that’s to be expected. It is obvious from the very beginning that she was much more intelligent than a “hood” is expected to be. She knows it, too, and tries to make the best of her life.
I liked this book. It was interesting and fast paced. Usually I’m not a big fan of biographies because people’s lives really aren’t all that interesting. As Bev says,
“All life is, is three or four big days that change everything.” (Donofrio 94)
I can’t help but agree. Usually biographies drag on with unnecessary information, but Riding in Cars with Boys isn’t like that. It’s all relevant.
The only thing about this book that irks me is the end. Suddenly the book jumps from Bev and Jason finally moving to New York, with Jason being only about 7 years old, to him attending college. I really would like to hear more about their time in the city and how Bev grows from still being a kid herself to finally becoming the mother that she needs to be.
Bev isn’t a famous person who I just wanted to learn more about. She’s just a person who was born into sub-ordinary circumstances and made the best of her dismal decisions. I generally like books where at least on main character is more than a little crazy and end up idolizing them a bit more than they might deserve, but Bev, although crazy, is a good person and a good role model.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan Costello Nice Review. :)


message 2: by Brenashawnae (new)

Brenashawnae I enjoyed this because you aren't nagging upon the fact that Bev does mess up a lot. You give her the credit she deserves for being a young,liberated, and though it took a few years, a successful mother! I haven't seen the movie, but now that I've read the book, I really want to see how Drew plays the role of Bev!


Nicole I agree that I wish more of New York was included, but at least we got some. The movie didn't include it at all. I didn't really find her a good person, but fascinating non the less. Thank-you for posting your review! I am glad someone else liked the book there is a lot of hating on it. :)


Nicole PS merry Xmas


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