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Velva Jean Learns to Drive | [Jennifer Niven]

Velva Jean Learns to Drive

Set in Appalachia in the years before World War II, Velva Jean Learns to Drive is a poignant story of a spirited young girl growing up in the gold-mining and moonshining South. Before she dies, Velva Jean's mother urges her to "live out there in the great wide world." Velva Jean dreams of becoming a big-time singer in Nashville until she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome juvenile delinquent turned revival preacher.
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Publisher's Summary

Set in Appalachia in the years before World War II, Velva Jean Learns to Drive is a poignant story of a spirited young girl growing up in the gold-mining and moonshining South. Before she dies, Velva Jean's mother urges her to "live out there in the great wide world".

Velva Jean dreams of becoming a big-time singer in Nashville until 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.

©2009 Jenniver Niven; (P)2009 Penguin

What the Critics Say

"It's 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." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (355 )
5 star
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Overall
4.2 (250 )
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Story
4.6 (254 )
5 star
 (189)
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 (50)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Shauna 01-08-10
    Shauna 01-08-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Lovely book"

    This book is a wonderful read. It is a simple story of a girl and her dreams. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy EL DORADO, AR, United States 11-05-09
    Kathy EL DORADO, AR, United States 11-05-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    69
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    4
    Overall
    "Great Book!"

    I loved this book, it kept my attention for the full 14 hours. I read it originally because the narrator is one of my favorites and she did not disappoint this time either. I only wish this author had another book, I would download it now.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    April M. Hargrove Laurel, MD 03-18-15
    April M. Hargrove Laurel, MD 03-18-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story Beautifully told!!"

    True characters, wonderful, tangible story line, great narration...I will definitely read this book again!! I look forward to Velva Jean Learns to Fly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    happywife 03-16-15
    happywife 03-16-15 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful!"

    Really enjoyed this! Very well done. Story was great, reader did a fabulous job of bringing the tale to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise Sovine 02-25-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sweet story, Interesting characters."
    What about Jenna Lamia’s performance did you like?

    She does a great job!! Usually when a narrator speaks in a voice of opposite gender, it is uncomfortable for me to hear. Not her though.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Norman H. Johnson 02-20-15 Member Since 2011

    nhjlayton

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thanks for a look into the rural South."

    Narrator is fantastic! ! I often select a book because she does such a great job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betsy 11-14-14
    Betsy 11-14-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome narration! Extraordinary story!"
    What other book might you compare Velva Jean Learns to Drive to and why?

    Coal Miner's Daughter, Forrest Gump, the Hunger Games, Doll House, The Book of Bright Ideas


    Which character – as performed by Jenna Lamia – was your favorite?

    Jenna Lamia was a pitch perfect Velva Jean. I wish she had narrated the entire series.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    All of the above!


    Any additional comments?

    I wish Jenna Lamia had narrated the rest of this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joanne 09-19-14
    joanne 09-19-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It was just OK"
    What made the experience of listening to Velva Jean Learns to Drive the most enjoyable?

    The book was entertaining but a little boring. I kept waiting for something, not too sure what, just something...It never came.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A little bit more drama would help.


    Any additional comments?

    Really not a horrible read, just ho hum, yawn....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-17-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "Like living through this personal history"

    I absolutely loved this book, from start to finish. I thought it was so well written, right from the start, that it kept my attention every minute. I have lived in rural areas for so long I could have known these families, understood their loyalties and values and respected their sense of honor in life. There is a tough pride that has come from doing things that had to be done, without complaining, with a simple acceptance of life and death that is a rare thing in our modern society. I found myself cheering Velva Jean on, wishing for her dreams to come true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 06-17-14
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 06-17-14 Member Since 2014

    I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    114
    113
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful Story - really enjoyed!"

    This is a lovely story and I really enjoyed listening to it. Jenna Lamia is one of my favorite narrators and, of course, she did a fantastic job with this book. It is the story of a woman coming of age during times of change. The story is pleasant - very little in the way of violence - which is a refreshing break. Walking through Velva Jean's life with her, in a tiny town off the Blue Ridge Parkway during the Depression was fascinating!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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