Velva Jean Learns to Drive Audiobook | Jennifer Niven | Audible.com
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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

4.1 (224 )
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  •  
    Susan Rock Hill, SC, United States 12-17-09
    Susan Rock Hill, SC, United States 12-17-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If Jenna Lamia reads it, I'll listen to it!"

    And once again, she doesn't disappoint. Of course, I have to give Jennifer Niven some credit since she wrote this wonderful story. The characters and the plot are so real. It could happen in your own back yard. Although I felt like it was a little slow at first, I quickly became hooked to the characters, especially Velva Jean herself. Highly recommend it!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Spokane, WA, United States 04-03-13
    Kim Spokane, WA, United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2009

    Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""Old-timey" story with a Southern Accent - Great!"

    First off, I must agree with the other reviewers who rave about Jenna Lamia's narration - I could listen to her forever - she is downright melodic in her delivery. The author did a fabulous job of marrying the scenic, rugged background of the hill folk with the life story of the main character. This book is about a young girl growing up in the Appalachia in the 1930's-40's. She experiences hardship and joy - love and loss - despair and hope - all the things that make for a rich and meaningful story. I really enjoyed this selection and will recommend it to anyone longing for a journey back in time with the added bonus of it being "G-rated" for the most part and appropriate for younger listeners. My grandmother lived a similar life and this book made me feel closer to her, even though she has passed on. Folks were just tougher back in those old days - life was hard but the rewards were so much sweeter for it - makes you realize how much we take for granted in this day and age.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Hampden, ME, United States 10-11-11
    Susan Hampden, ME, United States 10-11-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "GREAT!"

    Honestly, one of the best books I've listened to!
    Ranks up there with The Help, The Kitchen House, etc.
    Good storyline, good characters, well written - what more could you ask for?
    Well performed as well, by Jenna Lamia.
    Just a really, really good read - I promise - you won't be disappointed!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    June Duluth, GA, United States 12-01-09
    June Duluth, GA, United States 12-01-09 Member Since 2003

    AVID reader; very critical. My reviews don't repeat the book's description, but are why I enjoyed the book and why I think you will.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This should win an Audie Award"

    I loved this book. Like the prior reviewer, it kept my attention from beginning to end. Jenna Lamia is one of my favorite narrators, and southern literature suits her voice. This book ranks right up there with Secret Life of Bees (also narrated by Lamia) and The Help (Lamia is a narrator here, too.). This is the first fiction book by this author, which can't be her last. She ties all the "little stories" in the book together with a very easy to listen to style. And no, it's not about driving. Highly recommend this one.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila AZLE, TX, United States 07-22-11
    Sheila AZLE, TX, United States 07-22-11 Member Since 2011

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining and interesting"

    Velva Jean is an interesting listen and even a bit inspiring. It's set in the Depression era, but the author accurately reflects the 'life as usual' for families and communities who had already lived in poverty for generations. The blend of Christianity with mountain folk lore and superstition was amusing. Of course the narrator, Jenna Lamia, could read a telephone book aloud and manage to hold my attention. I found it both entertaining as well as interesting.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan palm Bay, FL, USA 05-28-10
    Susan palm Bay, FL, USA 05-28-10
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    "Wonderful book!!!!"

    I loved this book! I was sad when it had to end. The narrator is the absolute best! I hope the auther writes more books soon, maybe a part II of Velva Jean?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barb McDougall 11-04-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent listen"

    This book was a great listen. The only reason I downloaded it was because it was narrated by Jenna Lamia and every book she has narrated I have really enjoyed. She is a great story teller. So this book was a surprise, I enjoyed it that much. Velva Jean tells her story and you fall in love with her naive, honesty. I will proably listen to this one again.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Delran, NJ, United States 11-14-11
    Dawn Delran, NJ, United States 11-14-11 Member Since 2004
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    "Thoroughly enjoyable!"

    This is a great story and the narration was superb. I truly could not stop listening. As soon the book finished I immediately downloaded the next one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 11-14-13
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 11-14-13 Member Since 2007

    A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb narration, good story"

    Set in rural North Carolina in the 1930s, this is a coming of age and self-discovery story of young Velva Jean. While the story is enjoyable and simple, it raises great questions about life, love, families and marriage...what do you do when someone misunderstands your appropriate and helpful actions? What do you do when someone's actions of love are actually oppressing you? When is it appropriate to be selfless and when is it appropriate to be selfish? Is there room for both?

    The audio book is excellent, with a narrator highly skilled at providing appropriate accents and voices. She clearly enhanced the book experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura SACRAMENTO, CA, United States 12-19-12
    Laura SACRAMENTO, CA, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Loved this book!!!"
    What did you love best about Velva Jean Learns to Drive?

    I love any book that Jenna Lamia narrates. She was perfect for this book. It makes walking my dog so much more fun!!!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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