Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust – Book Review

Paradise Drive

Paradise Drive – Book Review

When was the last time you picked up a book of poetry and found it so compelling, you simply could not put it down?

If you love literature – if you’re a fan of compelling narratives – if you gravitate towards books that weave social commentary into their themes and cause you to look at the world and yourself through new eyes – you will appreciate Paradise Drive by Rebeca Foust!

Paradise Drive is an award-winning book of poetry. Specifically, Paradise Drive presents us with 80 contemporary sonnets that tell the story of Pilgrim – a woman contemplating her life’s journey from her impoverished childhood roots in Pennsylvania to her now financially lavish but spiritually bereft life of privilege in Marin County.

Pilgrim’s journey is not pretty. Life on Paradise Drive is filled with the raw stuff that many desperate lives are made of and Pilgrim isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues head-on.

Rebecca’s sonnets are vivid, gritty and grim – but also insightful and infused with humor to help counteract life’s darkest moments.

In The Prime Mover, Pilgrim shares how “Her father smelled like failure because he could not pay the bills”…

In time, “From the Sears Wish Book, Pilgrim longed less for the Things than the glossy intact lives holding the Things.”

In a 3-part series of sonnets entitled Party Etiquette, Pilgrim addresses the shocking attitudes of the elite she and her son must endure when he is diagnosed with autism – yet interjects the horror of “what brick does, on contact to a child’s perfect face” with a baffled PTA’s mom question: “What’s wrong with a kid being artistic?”

Paradise Drive is a book for the disenfranchised.

If you appreciate good poetry – if you’d like to read the work of a gifted poet – then pick up Paradise Drive.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Video: Rebecca Foust Interview And Poetry Reading

About Rebecca Foust

Rebecca Foust

Rebecca Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence and is the recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place, the MacDowell Colony, and the Sewanee Writer’s Conference.

Her fifth book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Her other books include All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving Prize), God, Seed (Foreword Book of the Year Award) and two chapbooks that won the Robert Phillips Chapbook Prizes in 2008 and 2009.

Foust’s poems appear widely in journals including American Academy of Poets Poem – A-Day series, Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, Sewanee Review, and Verse Daily.

A first generation college graduate, Foust attended Smith College (BA 1979), Stanford Law School (1979), and Warren Wilson College (MFA 2010). She lives in Northern California and works as Poetry Editor for Women’s Voices for Change and assistant editor for Narrative Magazine.

Foust has won the 2015 American Literary Review Creative Writing Award for Fiction judged by Garth Greenwell and the 2015 James Heart Poetry Prize judged by Jane Hirshfield.


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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. However, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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7 Responses to “Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust – Book Review”

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  1. Vicki says:

    I really enjoyed this book!

    • Wasn’t this an amazing book?
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Vicki!
      I’d love to read your review (if you wrote one) – if you did, please share it at The Book Nook and leave a comment so I can drop by! 🙂

  2. Serena says:

    Thanks so much for being on the tour….I loved this review.

    • Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of the tour, Serena.

      This is my third poetry tour with you and each of the books I have read have been fabulous and have introduced me to poets I would have not discovered otherwise!

      I look forward to our future collaborations! -)

  3. Amy Orvin says:

    I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds good. I saw your 5 star rating, so I am very excited to give it a read.

  4. I have never heard an author speak of her book in this way. Very enlightening.
    I also have never read this type of book, only poetry books or novels.

    Thanks for sharing about this author!!


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