Rummanah Aasi
  I was approached by Thomas Sullivan, a writer for several magazines such as Word Riot and 3AM Magazine,who asked if I could review his book entitled Life in the Slow Lane on my blog. After reading the excerpt found on his blog, I accepted. The author provided me an electronic copy of his book in order for me to do an honest review for you.

Description (Thomas's website): Being an instructor for a private driver's ed company sounded like the launch of a career that would last a lifetime. Not! During his short stint in the instructor's seat, Sullivan learned more than he wanted about poorly maintained cars, calm kids with angry parents, inefficient efficiency campaigns, too-rapid business expansion, and suburban angst. Oh, yes, and a bit about mustaches. An irreverent account of one man's descent from hope to a struggle to escape the chaos of sub-prime suburbia, Life in the Slow Lane celebrates the humor, resolve, and intelligence teenagers use to survive the dysfunctional world their elders have created.

Review: Driver's Ed is a class that all teens look forward to taking in high school and a course causes probably the most anxiety for parents. Driving is usually used as a metaphor for freedom, a way to escape and discover new things. It can also be a metaphor for the choices that we make in life, where our choices lead us to make different turns and take us in different directions that we originally had planned on taking. Life in the Slow Lane, an enjoyable, quick read, shows the reader how both of these metaphors work quite well.
   Life in the Slow Lane is best described as a memoir-ish novel, where Sullivan details his journey of becoming a Driver's Ed teacher for a private company. In the novel he not only shares his experiences of being an instructor in which he details his students' lessons, but also a commentary on how a dysfunctional company works and to his (and my surprise) survives.
    The best parts of the book are the variety of students and their driving lessons that appear throughout the novel. These lessons, I think, reflect on most people's own first driving experiences from the hilarious but honest mistakes to near life threatening accidents. The novel did make me laugh several times, mostly because it often reminded me of my own experiences where I either shook my head and thought, "Oh, I've been there" or "I can't believe I did that once".
   Sullivan's writing is very much laid back and conversational, but sometimes his own personal flashbacks tend to not only digress from his story, but also take the reader out of the book. I have read a few reviews before in which readers thought Sullivan was a bit preachy, but I didn't think this was the case nor did I think it was his intention. I think the whole purpose of the book was to show how corrupt and abysmal the private company is. I just wished that Sullivan fleshed this out more by showing it through his lessons rather than the big "ah ha" moment at the end, which I found to be a bit repetitive and tedious. Nonetheless I found Life in the Slow Lane a fun read and sad look at how some companies run.

Rating: 3.5 stars


Words of Caution: There is some language in the book. Recommended for teens and up.

If you like this book try: Crusader Guy by Thomas Sullivan
1 Response
  1. Jenny Says:

    Love the books you can relate to, where you do just what you did and shake your head knowing you've been in that same situation. Too bad about the "ah ha" moment at the end, I tend to like things to happen all throughout the book just as you said, but all in all this does sound like a good read. Great review Rummannah!


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