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Driving Myself Crazy


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About the Author

Jessica Maxwell, formerly a columnist for Audubon magazine, writes the "Great Outdoors" column for Millionaire magazine and publishes regularly for Esquire, Forbes, and Travel and Leisure. She is the author of I Don't Know Why I Swallowed the Fly and Femme d'Adventure: Travel Tales from Inner Montana to Outer Mongolia. She lives on Oregon's McKenzie River.


Having written humorously about learning to fly fish in I Don't Know Why I Swallowed the Fly (LJ 4/15/97), outdoors writer Maxwell turns to her rookiedom in golf. Utterly ignorant of golf terms, etiquette, and mechanics, she meanders along the tortuous golf learning curve with help from coaches, friends, and gurus from Alabama to Scotland, including her patron saint, Nancy Lopez. While few readers can enjoy these opportunities, they will recognize her grasping at all offered advice. In this book, the reader discovers how golf is related to tricksters, boll weevils, Van Morrison songs, the Tao of Pooh, and, especially, fly-fishing ("Fly fishing and golf. Thy rod and thy staff"). Maxwell's colorful writing keeps readers in stitches for most of the book, until she gets bogged down in golf lore during a pilgrimage to Scotland's legendary courses. Recommended for public libraries where readers are seeking an antidote to golf instruction.--Kathryn Ruffle, formerly with Coll. of New Caledonia Lib., Prince George, BC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"As entertaining, lyrical, and amusing as she is inquisitive, exuberant, and daring, Jessica Maxwell is the Empress Tizzie Izzie of adventure writing."
-- Tom Robbins

"When the fly-fishing instructors' hectoring fades away and the inevitable big fish is duly subdued, and the wiggling, jiggling, and tiggling is over and done, this rookie's sweet discovery is the same as that of every fly fisher I respect: it was never about the fish; it was about the joy."
-- David James Duncan, author of River Teeth "La Femme Jessica lurches from one improbable, hilarious, and outrageous adventure to the next in a style she herself calls 'girl gonzo stuff.' No one does it better."
-- Tim Cahill An Alternate Selection of The Literary Guild and Book-of-the-Month Club

Until her mid-30s, Maxwell considered herself a nonathlete. Then she mastered fly-fishing and skiing, gaining enough proficiency to write about these sports. So how difficult could golf be? wonders Maxwell in this chronicle of her first year playing. Initially, she can barely hit the ball and doesn't understand when her coach tells her to "read the ball." (While Maxwell was looking for some philosophical message, the coach simply wanted her to stare at the name on the ball until she made contact with it.) Fortunately, Maxwell has help from some of the most accomplished golfers as she learns the game. She spends time in Hilton Head with one of the first great women golfers, Peggy Kirk Bell, as well as with champion Nancy Lopez. Her coaches include the Australian Peter Croker and Al Mundle, one of the best American golf coaches. Maxwell finds humor and frustration in the game; she admires the beauty of the spectacular championship courses, but she's baffled at the phrase "carry water," which she mistakenly imagines means that she'll have to cart bottles of water along with her clubs. And it takes a while before Maxwell is able to recognize and ask for the appropriate clubs. Fledgling golfers and even some more advanced players will identify with Maxwell's experiences and laugh along with her. For those enamored of the sport, this lighthearted read makes a nice addition to the coming golf season. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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