Driving Me Crazy can easily be described in one word: sassy! It is a book about mothers, sisters and “other passengers” – basically anyone who crosses the paths of Maggie Dufrane, Maggie’s younger sister, Jean, and their mother.
Maggie and Jean are both in their forties, and their mother is seventy-five. “Mama” is aging and, unfortunately, her health is ailing. The book centers on Maggie and Jean caring for their mother as her health declines after a fall that winds Mama up in the hospital – and where Maggie and Jean learn that Mama has congestive heart failure. Mama has an estimated one to seven years to live, and this is heartbreaking, understandably, for Maggie and Jean. Their father died years ago, and Mama is one sassy woman who has served as the loveable yet indomitable matriarch of the family all her life. Life simply will not be the same if Mama is not around.
Maggie is the main character of the story, and it is told from her point of view. Maggie is divorced and childless, a semi-successful mystery author who is trying to get back up on her feet after a failed marriage. When her younger sister, Jean (only younger by a few years but of a much more delicate constitution), calls Maggie one night to frantically report Mama’s fall and ensuing hospital stay, Maggie realizes that her quiet life in her apartment is gone – at least for awhile. Maggie packs up and moves into Mama’s home in Mississippi, where it becomes clear that Mama is going to need help with her daily needs. Jean lives nearby, but she is married (although also childless), Jean’s husband travels frequently, and Jean does not drive. Therefore, Maggie is essentially caring for two people, while also caring for Mama’s sweet but anxiety-filled dog that drops fur the more nervous he gets.
While Maggie is adjusting to life at Mama’s house, she meets a local weather radio DJ who becomes a slow but sure love interest – which is quite welcome to Maggie, as her love life has of late been nonexistent. That said, it is hard for Maggie to put her own needs first, because Mama’s health continues to decline and, when Jean announces a huge secret and surprise, life is clearly going to change for the entire family. Fortunately, Maggie’s “new man” is the patient, caring sort and the two form a friendship that has a spark within that knows good things come to those who wait.
Driving Me Crazy is entertaining, poignant read and has a delightful Southern flair with fun characters. Mama is the sassiest of the bunch, but Maggie and Jean are not far behind her. Author Peggy Webb has a light, lyrical prose touch that she generously douses with references to scenes of the family making (and dining) on comfort foods – think butter, sugar, fat and chocolate. Fans of Southern women’s fiction with a touch of romance will enjoy Webb’s new release.