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Riding in Cars with Boys: Confessions of a Bad Girl Who Makes Good

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  7,857 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
Denied college, Beverly Donofrio lost interest in everything but riding around town in cars, drinking and smoking, and rebelling against authority. She got married and divorced and finally ended up in an elite New England university, books in one arm, child in the other. A book about the compromise between being your own person and fitting into society.
Paperback, 204 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Penguin Books (first published 1990)
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Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As part of a grad school psychology class, I was required to analyze a movie from one of a variety of topics. The movie version of this book was the option I chose. I actually felt that the characters, as portrayed in the movie, were somewhat sympathetic. It felt, in the movies, like Beverly was struggling but doing the best she could while seemingly stuck in adolescence. There was some growth in the character...

The book was, sadly, not as compelling as the movie. Yes, many of the stories were t
Dec 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at the library as a book on cd. I was in a rush and recognized the title as something I'd heard of before (probably from the movie that was apparently made from it) and the blurbs said it was funny. I'll spoil that one for you right now, it was not funny. Not even a little. The best thing it has going for it is that it's short. She keeps reminding us over and over how much her entire life sucks because she got pregnant in high school and she's so dramatic about it (" no no, ...more
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite
I adored the movie adaptation of this book, it made me roar with laughter and even made me cry which is a rarity.However, Riding In Cars With Boys by Beverly Donofrio just didn't live up to my expectations.

In this memoir we follow Bev's journey as she becomes a teen mum and wife. She battles with her hate as she sees everyone around her moving on while she is stuck dreaming of having an education and a better life; without her son.

I feel a connection to Beverley, I'm not exactly sure why but I
Apr 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I was looking forward to reading this because it came so highly recommended, but I was so sorry I wasted my time on this book. Beverly, the main character gets pregnant as a teenager by a loser who she barely knew. What comes next is a series of time periods in her life where you are convinced that at any moment, Beverly will grow up, quit whining and do what she must to raise her son, now on her own. But with each passing year in her book, my realization grew stronger that Beverly was a selfish ...more
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, non-fiction
This book was a wild ride (pun intended). I enjoyed it a bunch.
Rachel Hallock
Dec 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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”, me
Feb 28, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chik-lit
I read this book because I was a so-so fan of the film. I wanted to read the actual memoir.

Bev is an self-centered woman who regrets the conception, birth, and life of her son. She only cares about herself, and there were moments where she seemed to glory in her child's misery. The scene that really stands out to me is when she tells Jason that Ray is gone and she seems to say how they'll be without money or food over and over until Jason breaks down, scared and unhappy. What sort of mother does
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
I truly enjoyed this book. I also really like the movie that is based on the novel, and I have seen many reviews claiming the movie is better than the book. I truly feel both are special in their own ways. One of the things the book adds that is missing from the movie is how remarkably honest Donofrio is about herself. The movie paints her character as someone who means well, but is a victim of misfortune. Donofrio doesn't hold back in exploring her selfish, self-destructive tendencies. Many rev ...more
Ami Nicholson
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great story. I saw the movie years ago, and I am glad that the novel is absolutely nothing like it. I almost wish the film directors hadn't taken such liberties with the story, because I would love to see a movie of this as written. What I loved most about this book was the raw honesty of Beverly Donofrio. We automatically assume that all women have some sort of maternal capacity, and that attitude is a disservice to women everywhere. Some of what she put her son through was shocking, ...more
I'd read Looking for Mary (which I loved) by the same author and have heard her on NPR and sought this book our on BookCrossing in trade. Talk about brutal honesty! Donofrio doesn't hold back. But with it all, the book is fresh and engaging. Such a different take on life from mine, even though we're not too far apart in years. But she drew me right in and kept me engaged through-out her story.

I loved one description, especially--she's just gotten some news- some very good news, and writes:
I f
This only gets 3-stars because the back story from the movie was embedded in my head. If I had never seen the movie, this book would've come across completely flat. This is a rare instance where I would say that the movie is way, way better than the book; including all of the story plots that were changed for the movie.

Not to mention, that Penguin books did a terrible job converting this book to an eBook edition. Spacing was mid-word "im matterialy", "Si mone", etc and every single time the word
Rebecca McNutt
This book too a few pages to get into before it started to get interesting, but as it goes on, it becomes a memoir fueled by a rebellious main character who dreams of a better life, and by events that allow her to get there.
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the author's own story about being a young single mother to a little boy. It is sad in parts, and very funny in others!

I really liked this book (and the movie too!).
Walter Hutchens
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Read this for a class on memoir writing (taught by the wonderful Theo Nestor, author of How to Sleep Alone in a King Size Bed, at the Univ. of Washington in Seattle). Not surprising this book was made into a movie, she noted; it's very cinematic. I agree; if you are interested in writing, it's worth checking out this book for craft/technique.

Haven't seen the movie yet, but I agree with other reviewers here that many of the narrator's choices were bad and that explicit introspection is not a pre
Two obstacles overcome to get this book read -- my love/hate relationship with Drew Barrymore with this crappy photo on the cover, and the clunky, sentimental title. After that, this book is a nice, quick read, with some important things to say about the experience of women in the last half of the 20th century.
First off, our book group will be watching the movie together in the next week or so, and I'm braced for a Barrymore performance. I can't watch her without thinking "you spoiled E.T. child
Arianna Connal
It was an honest account of a selfish kid who had a child and kind of raised it, but she never seemed to grow up herself. Not even as she was writing this stuff did she seem to have any remorse... She seems to be proud of what she did, even though, by her own account, she was a selfish, crappy mom. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were one of those books with the person saying, "Look, I'm not happy with what I did, but this is how it was." Instead of, "Look at how I took advantage of e ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book a lot and thought it was well written, and not to sound like a cliche or anything but I however felt like I can relate to Beverly on certain things. I think it's a book for people who are interested in non fiction/biographies (but we all have differences in what we like in biographies), and I didn't think the movie did a good job on basing this on the film too. In my opinion the book is definitely way better than the movie.
Juliana Graham
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
A really easy read with interesting, though not particularly likeable characters. Beverley was obviously a smart girl who made a mistake by getting in with the wrong guy but turned things round (with major ups and downs along the way). The version of the book (audio book) that I had featured a lengthy interview with the author which was very interesting and shed a different light on some aspects of the story.
Susan Ortega
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bittersweet story unflinchingly told with utter honesty. This should actually be read by anyone studying the 60s. Working class familys message is Girls Dont Go to College. Friends talk of marriage. Boys go off to war. Girl pouts but then the Sixties and their Do What You Want To Do message hits. This means She Can Go To College! But, Girl gets pregnant.

Much social commentary in this Girl Meets Boy/Boy Does Drugs/Girl Raises Son tale. Loved it.
Fallon Perrault
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was way better than the movie! This book shows how a girl who was doing well had dropped her high expectations and hopes and dreams due to her son. Her husband was a slob who was always in the way and late to pick up their son or made up lies and excuses as to where he was. This girl makes an amazing change to keep her and her son in the lead to success. She does not want her son to fail like she did in life. This book will enlighten you in many ways!
Sep 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Not so much about riding in cars with boys, but the result of a rebellious girlhood, before abortion was legal.

Though at times I was horrified at the narrator's/main characters indifference to her child, it was indeed a rather touching story. Not to mention a must-read for anyone studying or just plain interested in feminism.
Sep 10, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
This book is way better than the movie, and I liked the movie. I found Donofrio's voice authentic and interesting. I love reading stories about mothers who are not traditional, who articulate the dark side of having children. And who by association make me look half-way competent as a parent. An enjoyable read.

Nov 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moving memoir by a working- class Italian-American girl who gets pregnant in high school, marries the wretched guy, and eventually comes into her own. She is a neglectful, resentful, but nevertheless loving mother, and a rebel in a sexist family and community. Quite entertaining. I saw the movie some time back, which was miscast with Drew Barrymore starring.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Started out good - but I found it impossible to route for this woman who refused to learn from her mistakes. Instead she seemed to blame everyone else (the 'establishment,' her parents, her husband and most of all her son) for all of her poor choices and problems.
Mar 20, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: one-star
I picked this up because the movie is one of my (many many many) favourites, but I was dissapointed big time! The book is neither funny or interesting or... anything like the movie adaptation!
Characters are not likeable, Bev is not amusing, witty, someone you'd like to read about more.
Jun 17, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's been awhile since I've read this but the fact that I don't still have it says something. I didn't really like Beverly. She was annoying, rude, and bitchy.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVED this book!!!
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved, loved, loved this book! It was very funny and great to read. I would recommend it to anyone!
Rachel  Cassandra
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
This book is genius.
Jim Breslin
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Engaging story from the first page. Definitely recommend.
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Beverly Donofrio is an author most noted for writing Riding in Cars with Boys, an autobiographical account of her life. The book was made into a movie with the same title and starred Drew Barrymore as Donofrio.

Her second memoir, Looking for Mary, or the Blessed Mother and Me, is about the Virgin Mary, faith and her own life as a mother.

Donofrio's father is of Sicilian descent and her mother is an
More about Beverly Donofrio...

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