Saturday, March 15, 2008

Driving with Dead People-Monica Holloway

Driving with Dead People
Monica Holloway
Simon & Schuster, Apr 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9781416955122

When Monica Holloway was a little girl in Elk Grove, Ohio, she sat in the passenger seat of her father’s pickup truck while he would cruise the neighborhoods searching for accidents that he could film; the gorier the better. Her ghoulish father had more movies starring strangers in gruesome situations than he had of his children. Thus it is not a shocker that with her Adams family-like beginnings, when Monica turned nine years old she became fascinated with a funeral home, befriending the daughter Julie Kilner of the mortician.

Monica and Julie play together in the casket workroom. When they get driving licenses, they obtain jobs driving the hearse. However, although life at the mortuary is fun, at home it proves otherwise as her father is abusive and her mother is too busy taking care of herself to care. Her siblings have their own issues trying to avoid their parents and each other. Yet through this dysfunctional family upbringing, Monica remains a Pollyanna especially when she is with Julia, DRIVING WITH DEAD PEOPLE, or just hanging around the funeral home. That is until she learns how damaging her parents are with one last betrayal.

This is an offbeat but engaging memoir of an optimistic person who finds salvation in a funeral parlor that enables her to overcome growing up amidst a dysfunctional family. Told with humor and intelligence, Monica Holloway's autobiography provides an inspiration that a person can overcome almost anything by setting goals and thriving to achieve them like this author has even if it means DRIVING WITH DEAD PEOPLE.

Harriet Klausner

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