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Driving Sideways

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,271 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
Leigh Fielding wants a life. Seriously. Having spent the past five years on dialysis, she has one simple wish: to make it to her thirtieth birthday. Now, thanks to the generosity of the late Larry Resnick and his transplanted kidney, it looks like her wish may come true.

With her newfound vitality (and Larry’s kidney) in tow, Leigh hits the road for an excursion that will c
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 20th 2008 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Sep 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved, loved, loved this book. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. The author points out how disconnected you feel when you're away from home and you see nothing but local TV commercials (and hear the jingles). She even mentions "Save big money at Menards."

2. Her pop-culture references are spot-on -- references to everyone from Georgia O'Keeffe to the Blues Brothers to the Las Vegas strip to Target.

3. Her main character is funny, self-deprecating and amusingly profane (and to all the prissy pe
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
just finished this book today. I'm sad that it is over. Jess Riley is a great author and I hope to read more from her in the future. When I read this book, I wished Jess was the cool (as defined by me) older sister I never had. So many funny lines, but also inspiring at the same time. It inspired me to stop staying in (and drinking red wine) and "get a life if it kills me." Well maybe that will start tomorrow because I am definitely drinking out of the box of wine tonight.
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Did I read the same book as these other people? Leigh has been through a LOT in her life, including lots of time in dialysis - but she finally got a kidney transplant and is off to enjoy her new life...

This sounds good on paper - and the write-up on the back of the book sounds hilarious. Instead, Leigh is selfish and immature, and her "adventures" are just annoying. The author tries to make all sorts of silly little inside jokes for someone of "her age" but it just comes off as flat. The languag
Jun 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, botm-reads
Driving Sideways, by Jess Riley
★★★ and a 1/2 (rounding up to 4)

Synopsis: Leigh Fielding wants a life. Seriously. Having spent the past five years on dialysis, she has one simple wish: to make it to her thirtieth birthday. Now, thanks to the generosity of the late Larry Resnick and his transplanted kidney, it looks like her wish may come true.
With her newfound vitality (and Larry's kidney) in tow, Leigh hits the road for an excursion that will carry her from Wisconsin to California, with a few s
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really, really liked this book. I would recommend it to anyone who needs to get a little Perspective with a capital P, and who needs to realize that compared to the main character in this book, any problems you may have really aren't THAT bad. Leigh is 28 and is faced with spending the last several years of her life in and out of hospitals, on dialysis, and waiting for a kidney donor. She truly doesn't believe that she will make it to age 30. If that isn't enough, her mother abandoned her and ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Why did I wait so lone to read this book? Leigh Fielding lives with her brother and his wife about 30 minutes from where I am sitting. I loved all the local references. Also my mother was on dialysis for some time before she died so those references rang true as well.

Leigh was lucky to receive a kidney transplant and through a mix up the anonymous donation didn’t stay so anonymous. Leigh has planned quite a road trip and she has added a stop to visit one of her donor’s relativ
Sherri Hunter
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Driving Sideways by Jess Riley is yet another one of those books I acquired on a whim, added it to my "to be read" mountain with every intention of reading it quickly. Instead, it languished for years in the bottomless pit of my reading pile. With Driving Sideways, new to me author Jess Riley introduces us to Leigh Fielding, a dialysis patient who has recently received a kidney transplant and thereby a new lease on life.

I know it doesn't sound very appealing on the surface, but where this story
CJ - It's only a Paper Moon
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes good stories
A really good book about living your life and learning to be your own person. It's a story about Leigh Fielding who has PKD and has just had a kidney transplant, a miracle unto itself, she then decides to take a road trip so that she can see her mother,meet up with her best friend and essentially be free of her overprotective brother and her own limitations.

She gets "hostage-ed" into taking a 17 year old hitchiker named Denise with her to California and coincidentally, Denise is the name of her
Aug 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a kidney transplant patient with a new lease on life. After her transplant, Leigh Fielding decides to embark on a road trip from Wisconsin to California to settle various unfinished business. Of course, the road turns out to have more metaphoric bumps and detours than she expected.

Denise, a quirky 17 year old hitchhiker with a couple of little secrets, is my favorite character. With her carefree exuberance and capriciousness, Denise draws the narrator out of her egocentric r
May 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book was totally not my style. Not that it was badly written, but I simply couldn’t connect with any of the characters. On paper, Leigh Fielding seems like a fun young woman, but in fact she’s rather annoying, and is way too glib. I really couldn’t relate to the flippant manner she went about her life. This smart-alecky attitude started to irritate me after the first 100 pages. And what about the author’s anus fixation? What was that ABOUT?
In short this is the story about Leigh Fielding who
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is what I ultimately classify as my favorite term for a novel: subtle.

It was simply wonderful. It touched on a lot of the issues that I face as a so-called cancer survivor, except in this case, the narrator has PKD (a kidney disease I'm not quite adept at spelling). All the health insurance problems, life decisions, desire for independence and friends and a social life that does not revolve around hospital visits, etc...the author did a great job of getting it "right" - even though it
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2009
WBC-10 pts---new author

I LOVED this book. It caught my attention from the first few pages and held it all the way through. I loved the fact that the main character made her way through South Dakota. Being from Sioux Falls, you don't find many books that deal with anything near here, but this one did. I also loved the ending. Not all the strings are tied up, but you get the gist of what is going to happen. I am a sucker for the happy endings, but the ones that allow you to make your own ending is
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book as a bit of "fluff" after reading a very depressing memoir. I expected it to be very forgettable. I was pleased and surprised to find that it was amusing, touching and witty. I didn't want to come to the end, and when I did, I wanted to know more. The only problem was the speed with which sarcasm and "one-liners" appeared. I felt that I was still appreciating the wit and language of one when another had already gone by. I do read very fast, so maybe the problem was mine..
Laura Napoli
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars...

Driving Sideways was a light, easy read. It made me laugh out loud which I don't do often when reading novels. Even though a lot happens in the book, I was never really hooked. But I'm glad I read it and would recommend it to any 20 or 30 something's looking for a quick, fun read.
Kate Stolz
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was ok

this book was billed as a "hopeful and hilarious debut." I can agree with hopeful. it's definitely NOT a book I couldn't put down. in fact, I had to make a commitment to finish it. it's not a book I would recommend.
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good easy read about a young girl taking a road trip in search of some answers.
Darren Tang
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This novel was excellent. Best read of the year.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
I will bet there are plenty of people that would love this book. I can't seem to get into it - I think some of the things that are supposed to be funny just rub me the wrong way. There is no other way to explain it. Did Not Finish after page 60ish. I tried. I'm the type of person who needs closure and finishes books no matter what. This might be my first DNF ever. I couldn't relate to the main character enough to care about the rest of the story.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laughed a lot at this one but felt the ending was a bit weird...almost like the author wasn't sure how to tie it up.
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I really wanted to like this book. I was looking for a breezy chicklit road-trip, but there were several things that made this book increasingly unpalatable. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Leigh and Denise, and the belief Leigh had that her transplanted kidney, Larry, allowed her to channel the donor was very amusing. Her friends Jillian and Wes were completely unbelievable. Both felt like a hodgepodge of personality characteristics and I found Jillian's sulking tiresome.

Then there were th
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
If the 1/2 star system was available, I would give this book a 2 1/2. This was Jess Riley's first novel, and while there were definite moments peeking out at good novel writing skills, overall, I am unimpressed.

Riley for the most part had a good sense of flow and kept the reader connected to all the details of the characters. Her wit in the book began to weigh the book down. She reminded me of a 5 year old child who realize that they are funny and start doing the same thing so often that the adu
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This story takes on a tough subject, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), cysts that develops in the liver and elsewhere in the body, sometimes causing kidney failure which happens with Leigh, the main character. This could had been a very heavy and difficult topic to read about, but the author lightens it up by making Leigh have a wicked sarcasm sense of humor. I found myself laughing out loud a few times even.

Leigh wants to thank Larry's family for giving her his kidney, after all she's been on d
Connie N.
This comes across as a young adult book, despite the fact that the main character is 28-years-old. But she has been affected with kidney disease and has had a transplant, which makes her dependent and seemingly younger than she is. She's never had a career or a long-term relationship, so this road trip is a new adventure for her. It's also against her brother's wishes, with whom she's had a love-hate relationship for years since he is her guardian. That's another reason why she's emotionally del ...more
May 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Whenever my daughter or I read a great book we share it. Driving Sideways was first read by Lauren and she passed it along with a great review read by the author no less. Knowing that the author might read your review is very daunting to me. I am not an English major and tend to write in short but sweet sentences. But here goes.

Leigh Fielding has a kidney disease (PKD) and for the last five years has been on a restricted diet and constrained by being on dialysis. Now thanks to the late Larry Res
Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Driving Sideways by Jess Riley

Leigh Fielding, a kidney transplant who is now free of dialysis, sets out on a road trip seeking adventure and reunions with an old flame, an old friend and her long gone mother. Shortly into the trip she meets Denise, a teen with a horrendous tale who needs a ride, and, against her better judgement and in order to get her purse, she agrees to give her a ride. Leigh uses plenty of humour to help alleviate stress and get through difficulties, and receives a number
Stephanie Weeks
While there were tons of funny, humorous jokes & great life lessons, I could NOT get excited about this book. Bought it completely on a whim from my local used bookstore & while I really enjoyed the IDEA of the story.. it seemed to jump all over the place! There were constant flashbacks but they weren't always clearly spelled out & I got confused out. I did however highlight & underline all sorts of quotes in this book and I did find myself relating to so many things in this stor ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Riley presents an interesting story that has the potential to be a lot of fun while still addressing some interesting issues including chronic illness at a relatively young age and the impact that this can have on an already difficult or complicated life; however, she falls short. She uses a lot of unpleasant ableist jokes in her narrative - which is incredibly unproductive given the focus on Polycystic Kidney Disease and the awareness-raising attempt at the back of the book, which immediately t ...more
Apr 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
I picked this up looking for a quick fun read, and that's what I got. I enjoy random humor, so this book was pretty entertaining for me, with some laugh out loud moments. Some people might say the author is trying a bit too hard to be funny and goes overboard, I was okay with it.

To keep the summary short and sweet:
A girl goes on a roadtrip and encounters some interesting people and crazy adventures. And the moral of the story - live life to the fullest.

The people she meets and some of the things
MB (What she read)
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Going in, from the cover art and book blurb, I expected this book to be chick lit. It turned out to be something else entirely. Like life, it was both heartwarming and heartbreaking at times. It was flip, funny, and sad, and ultimately hopeful. I am glad that I read it!

I wish that I had found this book earlier in my life. It reminded me of a friend who had experienced and was experiencing much of what this book's heroine went through. If I had read this book then, I would have had better underst
Jan 27, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone!
This book is SUCH a great book. I've read it three times over and over again because i just love it soo much. It is about a girl in about her mid twenties close to thirty and she decides to take a road trip. She had just had a kidney transplant, but she still had the mind set to move on and do it.
She has three objectives for this trip..
1) Meet her mom in California, that left her and her brother when she was little.
2) Talk to an old college boyfriend and talk about being friends and "things" lik
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Win a Free Signed Copy of Driving Sideways 2 20 Apr 01, 2012 04:47PM  
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Wisconsin native Jess Riley spent much of her childhood being punished for lying and/or passing notes during class, both of which qualified her for a possible future as a novelist. She won her first short story contest in high school for a tale told through the point of view of a seven-year-old black boy living in Cabrini Green because as a middle-class white teenager, she knew a lot about that ki ...more
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“I want to move to the mountains. I want to live in a little cabin next to a towering, tenacious mountain fourteen thousand feet above sea level and eat a bowl of raisin bran every morning in its shadow.” 0 likes
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