Driving Under the Influence
Melbourne University Publishing
A hilarious novel about hitting rock bottom and climbing back up again.
Chelsea has had a rough week. After a few great years of professional triumphs and personal stability, she suddenly finds herself—at the grand old age of 28—homeless, jobless and single. Cheating on her boyfriend with her boss probably wasn’t the brightest idea.
Salvation comes in the form of her father, Gary ‘Turbo’ Turbiton, a once major but now fading star of stage and screen, who offers her a job as his assistant while he travels Australia promoting his recent autobiography. Chelsea adores her Dad but she knows from years of family road trips just what this ‘job’ will entail: hours and hours of mindless bush trivia, pit stops to ridiculous local landmarks and pointed interrogations about what she’s doing with her life. All the while John Denver will warble endlessly on the CD player. Resigned to her fate—and without a better offer—she says yes.
The promo tour takes the two of them across Australia—from a family wedding in Darwin to a pig farm in Port Fairy, from a chance encounter in Tenterfield to an impromptu karaoke night in Yackandandah. Along the way there are unplanned detours—and people—they have to face as they both struggle with that eternal life question: what happens next?
With its light touch and sassy humour, Driving Under the Influence is a charming look at growing up, growing old and what fathers and daughters can learn from each other.
Jenna Martin has been a teacher in Sydney, a law student in Wollongong, an actor in London and a film producer in Los Angeles. She has written several plays, screenplays, short stories and the occasional bad love letter, and this is her first novel.
This is a delightful debut novel about one woman’s life changing journey during a road trip with her famous father, stopping to see various lunatic relatives and landmarks along the way; full of reminiscing, hope, love and laughter this book will hook you in and before you know it you will be smiling and laughing out loud. This read is so enjoyable!
I don’t know if it my association with the film and tv industry( my workplace of the last ten years) or the familiarity of certain situations or certain types of people that drew me in or if it was the larger than life father figure – Turbo to his fans and family, who had me trying to guess who he could be modeled on – I was imagining all sorts of tv presenters and the odd actor who could fit this profile, or mixes of them, (sorry Jenna I have just come across info alerting me to your famous father – and I didn’t think of him , not even for a minute) anyway I was intrigued, I was engaged in this madcap romp, I was besotted with your characters… or maybe it was the opportunity to step back in time when you reminded of fashions, music, shows, friendships, relationship issues, adolescent dreams and tribulations, and other contemporary references about family and growing up, whatever it was I laughed and laughed and laughed.
This is a book written with passion and laughter…you can feel the vibes come off the pages; a great piece of Aussie light hearted fiction.
Book trailer can be viewed here: