Review: Dragons Drive You by Edwin Balmer

Rating: 5 stars (you’re going to love this book!)

I am always on the lookout for unusual or little-known books, and I love not just the book Dragons Drive You, but also the story of how I came across the book. My boyfriend took me to lunch at Red Robin, and among the kitschy decorations on the wall was an advertisement for Redbook right over our table. On the cover of this particular cover of Redbook was an advertisement for a book called Dragons Drive You by Edwin Balmer. I don’t know what possessed me, but I pulled out my cell phone to find it on the nook. No luck. Then, I went to Google Books, and again– no results. Then I tried my Kindle app, and again, no luck. I decided maybe the book was old enough that it just wasn’t in an electronic format yet. So, then I went to Amazon’s regular site, and I found one, and only one, hard copy of the book. I ordered it immediately, and a couple weeks later, it arrived! It was a hard cover, and even the illustrated paper cover was intact– a little worn and torn in a few places, but not badly for a book that was published in 1934!

I read the book at the property– the entire thing in one sitting. I sat in my reclining camp chair in the cool mountain air while my boyfriend constantly added logs to the fire. I whiled the entire day away just reading this story. I wish I had found it when I was 16. On its surface, it seems like a story of marrying for love or money, of choosing between happiness or comfort. But there’s so much more to it– greed and financial ruin, the power of sometimes foolish optimism, and it is very much about family. I loved this book. I want to re-read it right now.

I identified fairly closely with this book. It is set in 1930s Chicago, and when I was in my 20’s, I left a serious relationship and uprooted my entire life. I ended up living in Chicago for a few years, and I fell in love with the city. The book brought back images of Chicago to me as a I sat in the remote wilderness of Alaska, and I could really see how the city must have been in the ’30s.

This book could make a great gift for a boy-crazy teenager or someone who loves old Chicago. It suggests that maybe there is some merit to the idea of really considering your motives behind who you love and wether it’s in your long-term best interest to commit yourself to that person. There are no cursewords in the book– all of the places where there would be cursing are redacted naturally with blanks. I found this little aspect charming and refreshing.

I haven’t seen another copy for sale on Amazon, but you can click below to check if it is in stock again. I really hope you’ll find this book, and I hope you’ll read it. It’s written in an entirely different style from the way books are written these days, but I loved the story and the way it was told.
Dragons Drive You

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