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Velva Jean Learns to Drive Audiobook

Velva Jean Learns to Drive

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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

4.3 (518 )
5 star
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Overall
4.2 (403 )
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Story
4.7 (406 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Imamomof4 07-19-15
    Imamomof4 07-19-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
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    Story
    "Historical Fiction + Jenna Lemia = Enjoyment"
    Any additional comments?

    I'm a sucker for historical fiction - especially stories that deal with actual people and events, not just stories who happen to be set in the past. In fact, it's my favorite way to learn about history. Even though some people are fictional, someone very like them probably did exist and lived similar lives. This story paints a vivid and fresh picture of life in the hills of North Carolina at the time that Skyline Drive was being cut through the tops of the mountains. It reminded me often of the story of Christy by Catherine Marshall, although this was bit more earthy. I truly enjoyed the reading as well (Jenna Lamia is winner!). Ms. Niven did a wonderful job creating believable period characters, yet mixed with a little of the outlandish to spice things up a bit. You'll simultaneously cheer for and shake your head at Velva Jean!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    parents 07-11-15
    parents 07-11-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very enjoyable"

    This book was a great listen, which I highly recommend. I was always eager to get back to it. The story is engaging and at times moving. The narration also was high-quality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nanette 06-17-15
    nanette 06-17-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    51
    19
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    0
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    Story
    "depressing go nowhere"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    no. starts out with great promise and fades to disappointment. however VERY WELL READ.


    Would you recommend Velva Jean Learns to Drive to your friends? Why or why not?

    no. starts out with great promise and fades to disappointment. however VERY WELL READ.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Opening scenes are the best. The train wreck is pretty good.


    If you could take any character from Velva Jean Learns to Drive out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Velva & her brother what's-his-name


    Any additional comments?

    Good reading. The reader kept me in the book. I would have put it down had it been in print. Thanks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    April M. Hargrove Laurel, MD 03-18-15
    April M. Hargrove Laurel, MD 03-18-15 Member Since 2017
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    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 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    2
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    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
    9
    3
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    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
    5
    1
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    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
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    83
    15
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    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
    12
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    "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

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