I started reading Driving in the Rain with intense interest, captivated by Nadia Bruce-Rawlings’ smooth, compelling narrative. Her clear writing easily thrust me into her drug-driven life, scrounging through dark streets to survive her drug addiction, managing to live through it all around unsavory men who controlled her. From a successful film executive, used to the glitz and glitter of Cannes festivals, mixing it with famous celebrities, that life eventually made her succumb to drugs and sent her into oblivion, I could only shake my head how Nadia managed to lift herself out of this existence and eventually find a loving husband and have a large family. Her adventures as a little girl in Cairo, her father an oil executive who abused her mother, the travels and living in different places, eventually having to face life on her own, filled me with wonder, awed to have had an opportunity to gaze through a multicolored, turbulent window of her life.
I enjoyed the glimpses Nadia opened for me and other readers. Although satisfying in themselves, Driving in the Rain also left me frustrated, and I suspect this short work may leave others frustrated. When I reached the end, I struggled to put the mosaic into some sort of order, and only partially succeeded, which left me dissatisfied. I want to blame Nadia’s editor, Iris Berry at Punk Hostage Press, for this confusion, as Iris should have known better. My problem? Nadia’s work is a set of jigsaw puzzle pieces thrown into the air, and when they landed, most fell to the floor, lost. What remained on the table provided a disjointed picture. The issue is lack of an ordered chronology of events one would expect to see in a memoir. Nadia shared a lot of pain she experienced throughout her life, but very few joys, loves, and laughter. One moment, I am reading about her as a young woman addicted to drugs with no future. Then I am in Cairo and she is a little girl. Then back into her adult life, and back into her girlhood. I got whiplash trying to keep it all straight. If only the story segments, a few did, had a year identifier in which they happened to help me! There are also glaring holes in her narrative, holes I suggest need to be filled to make this an outstanding work. The segments that deal with Betty, Tina, and Shawna, although mildly entertaining, reveal little about Nadia, and would have fitted more easily had Driving in the Rain been a far more comprehensive and complete narrative. I wanted to find out how Nadia became a film executive. How did she pull herself out of her drug addiction and meet her future husband, Brian Rawlings? I would have loved to read something about those parts of her life. These things contributed to my frustration and inability to rate this work higher. Nadia’s writing skill shines, and I would urge her to revisit this work, put some order into it, and fill in the gaping holes in her life. She is clearly able to carry the reader with her, but I regret, as the work stands, I fell through too many holes too many times. I do regret this and wish her success in her writing.
This book is available on Amazon.
About Nadia Bruce-Rawlings
Author Nadia Bruce-Rawlings uses grains from her once gritty life to infuse her stories with cathartic realism. She grew up traveling the world and living in various countries before settling in Los Angeles, where she began a long career in the film industry.
In recovery since 1998 from drugs, alcohol, and an abusive upbringing, she and her husband moved to Nashville, where she writes by the lake when she can escape their six kids and dog.
Nadia Bruce-Rawlings’ stories ‘Fire’ and ‘Scars’ were finalists in Glimmer Train’s writing contests. Her anthology ‘Scars’ was published in 2014 by Punk Hostage Press, followed in 2020 with her anthology ‘Driving in the Rain’. Her story, ‘Peace Accord’, was featured in the Spring 2018 edition of Bluestem Magazine.
In 2017, she co-wrote a song with a fellow author, Lois Berg, for feature in ‘Battered But Not Broken’ – a theatrical event they created, and in which they also starred. Debuting at The Darkhorse Theatre, the show served as a fundraiser for battered women and earned notable recognition as a Critic’s Pick in the Nashville Scene.
As an editor, Nadia Bruce-Rawlings’ talents remain in demand, with several notable books now available on Amazon and other retailers.