Saturday 4 September 2021

Book Review: Driving Stevie Fracasso by Barry Divola

Driving Stevie Fracasso 
Barry Divola
He's about to find everything he didn't know he was missing
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Publication date: 3rd March 2021
Genre: General Fiction
Pages: 352
RRP: $32.99AUD
Source: My purchase 
About the book
Jaded music journalist Rick McLennan knows his life is going south when he loses his job, his apartment and his long-term girlfriend all on the same day. But then he is thrown a lifeline - a commission to write the story of his ex-rock-star brother, Stevie, and drive him from Austin, Texas, to New York to play one final gig. One small problem: the brothers haven't spoken in thirty years.

Rick knows it's a bad idea. But he's out of choices. So he gets behind the wheel of a beaten-up 1985 Nissan Stanza and drives towards his destiny. He's about to find everything he didn't know he was missing. It's September 2001.
My review
I have to say I've never been interested in music or bands. The only records I've brought are a couple of Slade albums in my early teens. What I'm saying here is you don't have to be a music buff to love this novel. Though if you are, you will!
Driving Stevie Fracasso is a story about finding yourself, reconciling your past and growing up and learning what's important in life.
Music journalist Rick loses his girlfriend, his accommodation and his job on the same day. However when he is offered the job of writing a book on washed-up musician Stevie Fracasso, on the proviso he picks him up in Austin and drives him back to New York, Rick decides it solves his immediate problems so accepts. The only problem is, Stevie is his brother and he hasn't seen him in 29 years.
After stealing borrowing his ex-girlfriends car, what ensues is a road trip filled with colourful characters, a busted nose, acquisition of a three legged dog and words of wisdom that come from the most unlikeliest people as Rick and Stevie visit Stevie's top attraction list on their trip.
I had a blast reading Driving Stevie Fracasso, it was witty and heartfelt. Rick was quite annoying at the start of the book. He was forty years old and still acted like a twenty year old. I felt embarrassed for him. He has a big chip on his shoulder about his life, his parents and his brother. Rick's character was well drawn and I enjoyed following his road to enlightenment. 
I love stories about road trips and Barry Divola didn't disappoint. The road trip through New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville was eventful and funny - usually at Rick's expense.
"Don't you know anything about road trips? They're not about the destination, they're about the journey."
Driving Stevie Fracasso was a roller coaster journey for Rick and he did finally reach his destination, reassessing his hopes and dreams.
My rating 5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Barry Divola is a journalist and author born and bred in Sydney, currently living in Perth. He writes regularly for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review and Qantas Magazine. He was a senior writer for Rolling Stone (Australia), the long-time music critic for Who, and his work has appeared internationally in Rolling Stone, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Monocle and other magazines. Driving Stevie Fracasso is his first novel, but he has published eight other books – four non-fiction books, three children's books and a book of short fiction (Nineteen Seventysomething). He has won the Margaret River Short Story Prize, the FAW Jennifer Burbidge Award, the Cowley Literary Award and the Banjo Paterson Award for Short Fiction (three times). Although he plays in three bands in two cities, he has been informed not to give up his day job.  
Challenges entered:   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21


  1. Wow, this one sounds fun but ominous - did the timing (September 2001) of the road trip to New York play into it at all? I'd be really curious to check it out, if so!

    1. Yes, it did. Probably should have mentioned that in my review. The aftermath was connected to the ending of the book.