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The Driving Lesson

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  357 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
From Edgar Award-nominated author Ben Rehder:

Charlie Dunbar had big plans for the summer break, but becoming a fugitive was nowhere on the list. Even more unexpected, his partner in crime is his own ailing grandfather. Now they're on the run, trying to make it across the country to see a special kind of doctor, while the world becomes mesmerized by their journey. They are
ebook, 176 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Ben Rehder
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Norma Huss
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, ya-youth
I enjoyed this book tremendously. Rather surprised me--- It's in 14-year-old Charlie's viewpoint (and I'm a great-grandma). Grandma's really should say something like this is scandalous---a child driving a car half-way across the country, aided and abetted by his grandfather who is seriously ill, dodging the police and evading his parents. But that's not what I want to say. I say, "Go for it!" (Just don't let MY grandson try this ;-) ) It's thoughtful, surprising, and sounds just right.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sweet and Real

Some relationships are so special and I loved being part of Henry's and Chuck's. A predictable ending still didn't prepare me and it hit me in the feels, hard. Great story.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new, own-e-book

I knew from the first page of this book that this one would be special. I wasn't wrong. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a story that is touching, funny, heartwarming and thought-provoking. And it will be appreciated by readers of either gender.
Rachel Phillips
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's real good

As we'd say in Texas - real good. Thanks, Mr. Rehder. I grew up in Texas, out west around Odessa, then Austin for some good years. Your books take me home to larger-than-life Texas.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Read

This book was great. At first, the story line seems unbelievable; but soon you are hooked. Then, your heart is involved and the story feels real.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I did enjoy this book. I found it to be an easy read. It made me really think about
my beliefs and feelings toward the choices that we make in life.
Kara Prem
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is a pretty easy read, but it deals with physician assisted suicide, and certainly makes you think about it. Charlie is looking forward to summer break, never expecting that he'll become a headline story on CNN, but that's what happens. His grandfather has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and only has a short time left to live. "Opa" has decided to seek out help in Washington (they live in Texas), one of the only states where assisted suicide is legal. He picks Charlie up from schoo ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I did not know what to expect after the first paragraph. But it turned out to be a wonderful coming of age story about a grandparent and his 14 year old grandson.

Charlie Dunbar is the only son of Glen and Sarah Dunbar. Charlie is what I would call a typical 14 year old. He knows right from wrong, but he can be "bullied" into making a wrong choice by someone calling him names. So starts the journey of Charlie and his Opa.

As they travel across country from Abilene TX to Seattle WA and stops in b
Joyce (Chloe)
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Charlie Dunbar had big plans for the summer break, but becoming a fugitive was nowhere on the list. Even more unexpected, his partner in crime is his own ailing grandfather. Now they're on the run, trying to make it across the country to see a special kind of doctor, while the world becomes mesmerized by their journey. They are the subject of heated debates on cable news channels. Thousands of people voice their support on Facebook fan pages. And Charlie's own parents appear on live TV to
Angel **Book Junkie**
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I truly liked this book as told in first person it is the story of a young boy who goes on a trip with his opa and causes an all out police search with him. I do not believe in writing spoilers because I know how nosy I am and I always read them even when they are hidden. This story made me feel as though I knew the people or I was watching it first hand on the news. The author did a wonderful job of making me feel as though I could see the story and feel the excitement within the book. If I cou ...more
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
yes i began this book on the evening of the 22nd and finished it in one sitting. hard to pass by a book with the cadillac ranch on the cover and the promise of a road trip. it was a quick and fun read. of course i have traveled all the roads taken in the book, so it brought back my own memories as i followed charlie and his opa as they travel from austin to....ah no spoilers. just a fun read. i hope you read and enjoy. i'm now looking for another book by ben to see what he does in another genre.
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this Book!

I chose this book for two reasons: The story lined sounded kind of interesting and It was cheap. Good choice because this cheap little book turned out to be quite a find. It tells a bittersweet story about hanging out with your Grandfather and not only getting a chance to drive the car, but a chance to learn multiple life lessons. The author has an easy story-telling style and you actually care about all the characters. Try it and you will find you've made the right choice as wel
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Charlie (Bud) Dunbar expects no surprises on his last day of school, but is not anticipating his grandfather to appear and suggest that Charlie (who doesn't even possess a driver's permit) drive Opa to his doctor's office. Thus begins a road trip for Charlie which is at times amazing, enlightening, amusing, educational, and saddening. This novel handles a difficult legal and emotional subject with intelligence and grace.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This well-written YA book provides a sensitive, yet humorous, look at the serious subject of assisted suicide. It would earn the extra two stars if it managed to be a bit more balanced in its exploration of this topic. As it stands, the author has a clear point of view, and he seems to give characters with opposing positions much less than admirable motives. Still, it was a compelling and thought-provoking read.
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It made me think of my own dad. I could see him taking my son on a road trip one day, site seeing, teaching him history, etc. I would have loved to have spent my grandfather's last days together, like the boy and his grandfather do. so many memories to cherish, but I don't have much to comment on the subject matter. I have a lot a mixed emotions on the subject and feel this isn't the place to discuss it.
Pam Bohmfalk
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yags2013
I thought this was a great little coming of age book. It reads fast yet there is much thought provoking and challenging stuff to deal with. As Charlie and his Opa drive across country, Charlie must come to grips with his grandfather's illness and options but also learns a lot about points of view, dealing with tough questions and what is important in personal relationships.
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a ride! After a minor theft incident with his best friend, Charlie winds up on the road with his dying grandfather for the adventure of a lifetime. This story has enough pathos to keep you turning pages and leaves you thinking about the characters long after you finish. A brilliant work that I highly recommend.
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not the typical read for me, but I actually grew to love this story. The relationship between Charlie and his grandfather warmed my heart. This book would bring up heated debates about assisted suicide for the elderly. I think recommended age should be 8th grade or older unless the 7th grader is really mature.
Sep 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I did really enjoy this book. It's about a 14 year old who goes on a cross country trip with his grandfather against his parents' wishes. There are some deep subjects touched upon, but not really dug into. A good conversations starter with your kids, if you are looking for that. A quick read, and a great YA book. I will definitely be recommending it to my son.
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This is an interesting look at a person's right to choose how to end their life. A fourteen year old boy takes his grandfather on a road trip from Texas to Washington where he will have the right to choose to end his own life. This is quite a responsibility for a teenager but he seems to see the importance of making his grandfather comfortable and to be treated with respect and care.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-written story about a road trip that Charlie Dunbar takes with his grandfather. Only one problem: Charlie at fourteen is an unlicensed driver and neither one clears it with his parents. This is a very entertaining and quick read.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent 'coming of age' book that follows a journey by a young man and his grandfather. Geography, relationships and some of life's toughest questions are all explored in this super quick read. I wanted more!
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I really did like this book.The characters seemed real and I loved them.I wish they would make it into a movie.I didn't like the "romance".I mean who meets a girl and then the next minute you're kissing her? Just saying.That just didn't seem real to me.But other than that I loved it.
Dean Thurman
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gentle and clever writing

A five-star novel must contain a bit of every basic emotion, invoked with the strength of sensitivity, and a storyline that makes the reader feel compelled to turn page after page. I couldn't put this book down. What a lovely piece of powerful work!
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Engaging 'road trip' or 'coming of age' tale - with a twist. Lots to think about - when is it right to disobey your parents, for example.
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I didn't know what I was getting into when I started reading this book. It was a good story and it brought up some big questions.
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great YA book to read and talk about.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great story. I didn't realize it was a young adult book until part way into it, but still enjoyed it. I could picture my grandsons with their Papa. Recommend for any young adult as well as adults.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this and it was a well written, engaging story. Handled a controversial subject beautifully.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Driving Lesson 1 3 Sep 04, 2012 09:10AM  
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Ben Rehder wanted to become a writer ever since he was dropped on his head as a toddler. As he grew into a young adult and the vertigo gradually dissipated, his passion for literature grew. Ben longed to craft the type of soul-stirring prose that would touch people’s lives and help them explore new emotional horizons. But he went to work at an ad agency instead.

Throughout his rewarding and fruitfu
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