Velva Jean Learns to Drive

Velva Jean Learns to Drive

A Novel

Book - 2009
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From the author of the New York Times bestsellers Holding Up the Universe and All the Bright Places (soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning) , a spellbinding debut about ill-fated love--and what it means to grow up.

"A touching read, funny and wise, like a crazy blend of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, a less morose Flannery O'Connor, and maybe a shot of Hank Williams . . . Niven makes some memorable moon-spun magic in her rich fiction debut." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Like All the Bright Places , hailed as a "charming love story about [an] unlikely and endearing pair" ( New York Times Book Review ), Jennifer Niven's debut novel is a big-hearted story about the struggle to find happiness.

Velva Jean's mother urged her to "live out there in the great wide world," and growing up in Appalachia in the years before World War II, Velva Jean dreams of becoming a big-time singer in Nashville. Then she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome juvenile delinquent turned revival preacher. As their tumultuous love story unfolds, Velva Jean must choose between keeping her hard-won home and pursuing her dream of singing in the Grand Ole Opry.
Publisher: New York : Plume, 2009
ISBN: 9780452289451
Branch Call Number: NIV
Characteristics: viii, 404 p. :,map ;,21 cm


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Nov 30, 2014

My father grew up in Southwest Virginia Appalachia in an area much like the setting for this first Velva Jean book. Niven's descriptions, depth of characterization, and gradual progression of Velva Jean's story to her realization of herself and where she wants to go are very powerful. I would compare her to Harper Lee and Fanny Flagg. I will definitely be reading the other three books in this series and perhaps some of her non-fiction work.

Aug 17, 2013

A wonderful read! Velva Jean and all the characters in the book are engrossing and evolve in a heartfelt way over the course of the story. As Velva Jean grows up in a backwater town in North Carolina, you will become attached to her, her family and other foks who affect her life. I look forward to reading Velva Jean Learns to Fly.

rowanquincy Sep 25, 2012

What a great read. So well written, I just got locked ihinto the story, Velva Jean is such an interesting character, I couldn't help but root or her. Just didn't want the story to end.

Bierlingen Aug 25, 2012

An absolutely delightful read...chock full of heartfelt emotions and detail. It offers a good insight into rural Appalachian life... the good times (buck dancing and music) and also the difficulties (poverty and intolerance) encountered. It is beautifully written.

Jan 13, 2011

book club read this and I liked it - passed it on to my mother-in-law who is enjoying it too

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