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Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark

Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark

4.8 5
by Addie Zierman

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How do you know God is real?
In the emotionally-charged, fire-filled faith in which Addie Zierman grew up, the answer to this question was simple: Because you’ve FELT him.
Now, at age 30, she feels nothing. Just the darkness pressing in. Just the winter cold. Just a buzzing silence


How do you know God is real?
In the emotionally-charged, fire-filled faith in which Addie Zierman grew up, the answer to this question was simple: Because you’ve FELT him.
Now, at age 30, she feels nothing. Just the darkness pressing in. Just the winter cold. Just a buzzing silence where God’s voice used to be.
So she loads her two small children into the minivan one February afternoon and heads south in one last-ditch effort to find the Light.
In her second memoir, Night Driving, Addie Zierman powerfully explores the gap between our sunny, faith fictions and a God who often seems hidden and silent.
Against the backdrop of rushing Interstates, strangers’ hospitality, gas station coffee, and screaming children, Addie stumbles toward a faith that makes room for doubt, disappointment, and darkness…and learns that sometimes you have to run away to find your way home.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Blogger Zierman (When We Were on Fire) boldly reveals her struggles with faith, isolation, and depression in this memoir about packing up her minivan and taking her children on a two-week road trip from Minnesota to Florida. Having lost her connection to her Christian faith, Zierman decides to outdrive her troubles by visiting friends, giving book readings, and doing publicity interviews. The writing can be insightful and painful to read—"Imagine opening your Bible and finding it to be a concrete slab in your lap"—as her struggle to avoid internal darkness seems to permeate all her thoughts. These same obstacles make the memoir relatable, though, as she must balance her own internal turmoil with the needs of her children. At times, Zierman's attempts to wring drama from the mundane events of a well-planned publicity trip read as overwrought—as when she frequently alludes to her "complicated history" with men, then describes a visit with an old flirtation that remains platonic as "a victory over the flesh"—but the main story here is her renewed search for faith, not the promotion tour. Zierman's trip down South and back into the light, filled with refreshing, life-affirming moments, will satisfy readers looking for a partner in spiritual strife. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“Zierman's trip down South and back into the light, filled with refreshing, life-affirming moments, will satisfy readers looking for a partner in spiritual strife.”
Publishers Weekly

“Zierman beautifully captures the longing and loneliness of trying to discover a new way to relate to a God who feels silent compared to the one of her ardent adolescence. Her current life of home, motherhood, and quiet reflection is a far cry from the one of rallies and concerts she left behind a lifetime ago. Will she find Him again on the massive road trip she undertakes with her young sons? Night Driving is for all of us who have found ourselves searching amidst the darkness of life for the loving light of the One who never changes.”
— Anna Whiston-Donaldson, bestselling author of Rare Bird

"Addie Zierman is earnest and likable. She invites you into her story in order to better understand your own."
— Margaret Feinberg, author of Fight Back With Joy

Addie Zierman describes the danger and vulnerability of our most challenging seasons of faith as “the hospitable, layered silence of God.” We believers are often afraid to admit to our own journeys of doubt, fear, or boredom. But Addie invites us into her darkness, and in doing so, welcomes us into a holy place, where we learn “to be folded close to the heart of God.”
— Micha Boyett, Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer

 “Addie’s cross-country drive mirrors the pilgrimage we all must eventually take, covering the distance between the optimism of young faith and the unexpected darkness that often follows. If you are looking for a book to offer sure answers or clear steps, there's nothing for you here. Instead, what you'll find in these pages is one woman's willingness to share the particularities of her own struggle and, in turn, a voice leading the way for a generation of believers to accept both the shadows and the light of a deepening faith.”
— Emily P. Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday

Addie Zierman is a magical storyteller, a writer whose prose is rich and wise and full of good thoughts that stay with you. Like Elizabeth Gilbert or Barbara Brown Taylor, in Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark Zierman uses the power of her story to beautifully navigate familiar themes like faith, emotions, emptiness, and fear.
— Jessica N. Turner, author of The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You

Product Details

The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Addie Zierman is a writer, blogger and speaker. She holds an MFA from Hamline University, and her first book, When We Were on Fire, was named one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Top 5 Religious Books of 2013. Addie lives in Minnesota with her husband and two sons and blogs regularly at addizierman.com.

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Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Nicole_Unice More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a companion on the honest life of faith, you will find comfort, challenge and understanding in the work of Addie Zierman. First of all, Addie can WRITE. A writer is able to capture moments with the kind of language that makes the reader declare, "finally! I have words for what I'm feeling/thinking/experiencing/hoping!" Addie is that writer. Second, Addie tells a great story of her own journey, and in doing so, gives her readers permission to also find their own story--of light and darkness, hope and despair, doubt and faith. If you are looking for self-help or steps to a better you, this is not your book. But if you want to be captured by a story that will keep you thinking long after you've turned the last page, then grab this book, pass it around to some friends, and take a step of courage into your own seeking of faith that glows in the dark.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the fall of 2013, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Addie Zierman’s first book, When We Were on Fire. It was a book I read in less than a week–I was captivated not only by her story but also by her depictions of ’90s American Evangelicalism. Then last summer I taught When We Were on Fire in a Religion & Literature course. My students, even those who didn’t grow up in this type of culture, were captivated by her story. When she graciously agreed to Skype with my class on the last day we were discussing the book, my students were starstruck. Both times reading that book, I found myself deeply moved. It stirred much in me. So of course when I learned of the upcoming release of her second book, I was excited to read an advanced copy. Night Driving focuses on a much narrow time frame, more specifically February of 2014. The book recounts a trip she took with her two boys, driving to Florida and back, and as in some travel narratives, the book is organized around chapters dedicated to a specific day or days. The dates and the accompanying photographs are the (pardon the pun) framing devices to each chapter. (In her first book, if you’re not aware, each chapter began with a Christian cliché, followed by a short definition.) In Night Driving, Zierman showcases a voice that is more mature, more confident. Not that the first book was rough, but Night Driving possesses a polish and heightened level of technique. At the sentence level, the prose is more compelling, more finely crafted. There is even more imagery and detail to savor, especially in her depictions of the family minivan, the chariot that whisks her to the warmth and drags her to the cold. Noticeably absent in Night Driving are the extended passages of second-person point-of-view. While they worked effectively in When We Were on Fire, their rare occurrence in Night Driving adds power to the recurring “I.” There’s less of an attempt to “put the reader in the scene” via the “you” except for important moments. Such a decision allows for more substantial development and presence of her voice. The episodic nature of the book, focused as it is on the travel to and from Florida, also triggers reminiscences as Zierman connects and reconnects with individuals along the way, and in this journey there is again a wrestling with questions of faith and Christianity. In depicting these struggles, Zierman (again) provides an honest portrayal of herself and the situations, avoiding the temptation to sugarcoat or oversimplify complexity and paradox. Yet even in her challenges there are unexpected moments of grace, such as at the beach on their final morning in Florida. With its reminiscences and flashbacks, Night Driving is truly a sequel to When We Were on Fire–there’s a continuity between the two books. I can only wonder (and wait) for what she will write next. Regardless of when it is released, I’m sure I will (again) read it in less than a week.
IoanaN More than 1 year ago
This is a finding-the-God-I-used-to-know kind of book. You keep reading the author's woe over and over: I used to feel God, but now I don't anymore. Coming with the baggage (or blessing) of an American adolescence in the 90s, filled with Christian activities that encouraged teenagers to just love God, and to be on fire for Him, the adult author is left to deal with the presence (or absence) of God when she no longer feels God, and when the specific cliches and lingo no longer cut it. The author gives glimpses into her past just enough to let the reader get the full idea of why she decided to go on a road trip just to maybe rekindle the fire she once had within her heart. Repeatedly she underlines how she was close to God, how she longed for Him, and how it was all good. Sounds like a broken record, but aren't so all those who keep looking for that which they can't fully express into words? To know you had it all in Him, and then you are on the exact opposite of that feeling. The book is divided into four main parts. The first two tell of her journey from her home in Minnesota to Florida, and the last two parts of the journey from Florida back home. I'm a sucker for the idea of a road-trip, add to that an honest memoir about chasing God, and I'm your reader. Besides being a Christian just like herself, I have zero things in common with the author (of whom I knew nothing before reading this book), and still I was struck by the familiarity and the close to home hit of some passages. At times it reminded me of Searching for Sunday (maybe because it's the only book on this theme I've read in the last year?), but Night Driving is more mature. Although it has little Bible passages, it doesn't come up with biblical ideas, it's not set to offer advice on how the Church should be reorganized to fit into the 21st century, this is a book that I enjoyed reading tremendously; it's just a person's quest for what she once had, without any other pretense. At times I was reading this like a good coming of age story, except it was a coming to grounded faith again story. I was worried she had set off on her road trip, kids in tow, and she was turning back home without the answer she was looking for. Can you tell I was invested in this? Can you tell this reader is, too, looking for some answers? I loved what the "conclusion" of the book was: no high voltage spiritual enlightment, but what she knew all along, but suddenly it made more sense. Funny how that happens! "Love doesn’t always look like romance and faith doesn’t look like fire and light doesn’t always look like the sun—and that this matters. (...) God is as close as the air around us, as true as the North Star leading me home. In the dark Kentucky plain, my eyes adjust, and there is so much that I can’t see—and also so much that I can. Mostly that the darkness was never really dark. And that it was never my job to turn on the lights. (...) I know that God is real. And it’s not because I feel him. It’s because the night is dark and bright all at once, because the stars are an infinite repeating liturgy lighting the way back home. I know because I know. It’s as simple and mysterious as that." I loved how subtly, over the length of the book, she keeps returning to the audio book she's been listening to while driving. The similarities she finds between Mamah Borthwick of Loving Frank by Nancy Horan and herself are as well noted as the stages of the February moon she keeps refering to. Two small ele
Gillian Marchenko More than 1 year ago
Devoured this book. Addie Zierman is a gifted writer who delivers beautiful, staggering, relatable, and at times, shocking prose. As an avid reader and floundering writer of memoir, I grow tired of authors who omit the hard parts of their stories. In my mind, if it isn't the whole story, it isn't one worth reading. Night Driving plunges into the darkness of faith that many of us relate to but don't want to admit. But here is a truth I've experienced personally: A book about darkness dragged into the light, even through (at times) a disastrous road trip with two toddlers, is worth reading. True light CAN bring transformation, a light that many of us with wavering faith often miss whether in the darkness of a night of driving or at home in our comfortable lives. Read this book. Gillian Marchenko, Author of Still Life, A Memoir of Living with Depression and Still Life, A Memoir
jarujav More than 1 year ago
Addie Zierman, author of When We Were On Fire (review), has done it again: written a book so packed with beautiful writing and lovely and/or heartbreaking truths that she continues to be a thought leader in the evangelical world. night drivingNight Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark tells the story of Addie’s Epic Winter Road Trip, trying to escape the darkness of Minnesota winter and find God in the light. The narrative is fascinating and thought-provoking, full of depth as she struggles through some of the same ideas that I deal with every time Minnesota gets dark, prompting darkness in me. This book, though technically a “roadtrip story,” felt more like having total access to Addie’s uninhibited thoughts with the trip as a narrative structure, which I found really refreshing. If I were to begin quoting my favorite lines, I would never stop. Addie is the queen of lyrical prose– yet her writing is so accessible. I found myself climbing into bed early night after night just to carve out time to spend with Addie and her boys on this road trip. There were moments of this book that felt so holy– and moments where she made me laugh outloud. A tremendously enjoyable read from a memoirist and thought leader you don’t want to miss.