I'll Ask You Three Times, Are You OK?: Tales of Driving and Being Driven

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9780060853938: I'll Ask You Three Times, Are You OK?: Tales of Driving and Being Driven

"I am a poet," I said. "It is my destiny to do strange things."

My father gripped the wheel of his car. "I am the chauffeur for foolishness."

We said no more.

Foolhardy missions. Life-altering conversations. Gifts—given and received. Loss. Getting lost. Wisdom delivered before dawn and deep into the night. Love and kissing (not necessarily in that order). Laughter. Rides on the edge. Roses. Ghosts.

As a traveling poet and visiting teacher, Naomi Shihab Nye has spent a considerable amount of time in cars, both driving and being driven. Her observations, stories, encounters, and escapades—and the kernels of truth she gathers from them—are laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving, and unforgettable. Buckle up.

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About the Author:

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She has received a Lannan Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and four Pushcart Prizes. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is the author of two acclaimed novels for teens, Habibi and Going Going, and her essay "Maintenance" appeared in The Best American Essays, 1991, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. School Library Journal said of her collection of essays, Never in a Hurry, "The author has the ability to perceive and describe her surroundings so skillfully that readers are drawn into these experiences and are enriched in the process." Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as "a wandering poet." She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

From Publishers Weekly:

Nye brings a keen curiosity and a poet's sensibility to this smooth, anecdotal collection that amplifies the notion that the journey itself is the destination. The most memorable characters are taxi drivers, such as the Syracuse, N.Y., cabbie whose conversation gives the book its title: driving her to the airport before dawn, he warns Nye that he will ask three times if she is okay, Just to make sure you feel safe and secure. We're living in strange times, and I want you to feel very comfortable. In other highlights of Nye's tour, she re-creates the voices of a rickshaw driver in India who tries to talk her into visiting a rug store instead of the Taj Mahal; the Glasgow driver who invites her to sit in front with him and bids her farewell with, Okay then, be safe to the other side of the sea; and an Egyptian driver in New York City who boasts of trafficking in counterfeit handbags. Nye muses on what she learns on specific travels and shares stories about driving other people (among them, possibly senile strangers, distinguished visiting writers and her own son). Aside from some name-dropping and some mildly self-indulgent moments, Nye's prose flows fluidly and evokes any number of different settings. She makes her case that what happen[s] in the margins, on the way to the destinations of any day, might be as intriguing as what happen[s] when you {get] there. All ages . (Sept.)
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