THE GOD OF DRIVING by Amy Fine Collins


How I Overcame Fear and Put Myself in the Driver’s Seat (with the Help of a Good and Mysterious Man)
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A Manhattan socialite’s effusive account of the weirdly symbiotic relationship that developed between herself and a Turkish driving instructor with a penchant for platitudes and a diversified employment background.

When Fine, who writes on fashion, art, and design for Vanity Fair, began taking driving lessons with Attila, dubbed by her the God of Driving, a book editor friend urged her to take notes and keep a diary. The present work is the result. With Attila, who teaches personal growth as well as driving, she learns not just how to handle a car, but how to handle herself. Under his guidance, she finds her patience, peace of mind, and consideration increasing and her physical health improving. Under her guidance, he learns to speak better English. After months of car-driving lessons, Attila introduces her to motorcycles. For her first bike lesson, Fine reports: “I selected black leather pants with ruffles down the legs, a tiny silver Geoffrey Beene T-shirt, and some old black boots from Manolo Blahnik.” Details such as this pervade Fine’s breezy reporting. To drive a sports car she rents for them at $700 a day, Attila wears “immaculate white linen pants, a short-sleeved plaid aqua shirt, slickly polished loafers, and no socks,” while she is clad in “a short navy blue cap-sleeved Beene shirt that unzipped down the front like a scuba suit and blue-and-white Monolo mules.” Even the brand of her body cream is recorded. When the motorcycle they purchase jointly is stolen from Attila before she ever rides it, their relationship stumbles briefly, but matters pick up again when they attend a three-day driving school in Connecticut, where Attila learns racing and she practices accident avoidance. Two weeks later she invites him to join her at the Maybach First Drive, a Mercedes publicity event in Hamburg, Germany. By the happy ending, Fine is driving with confidence and pleasure, and Attila, with her help, is about to open his own driving school.

As much a profile of the author as of Attila, and likely to appeal more to Vanity Fair readers than the Car and Driver crowd.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7432-4421-4
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2004