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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting

Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting is a delightful tale of a group of London train commuters who seem to have nothing in common, yet become the best of friends. Iona is a 57-year-old "magazine therapist" (aka advice columnist) at a magazine with an ageist/sexist editor. Iona has a glamorous past with a wife she adores, and a strong, yet surprisingly engaging personality. Piers is a loud, arrogant, and seemingly wealthy futures trader who has nevertheless come to hate his job. When he chokes on a grape while on the train, Iona calls out for a doctor, and in rushes Sanjay, an oncological nurse who saves Piers using the Heimlich maneuver. Though dubbed a hero, Sanjay is secretly suffering from anxiety at his job, and has a mad crush on fellow train friend, Emmie, an ardent reader and digital marketer who is unfortunately engaged. Martha is a high school student who is the victim of bullying and ostracism at school, with an ineffectual mother. Jake is a 40-something personal trainer who owns a gym, and David is a lawyer in his late 60s having marital trouble. With Iona orchestrating and masterminding much of their interactions at the beginning of their friendships, these characters’ lives begin to intersect as they realize that each of them has much they can gain from, as well as contribute to the others.

“Why had it taken [Iona] so long to see her train carriage as a fascinating portal into other peoples’ stories?… At a time when her life had felt like it was totally unraveling, the train gang had stopped her brooding.”

Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting is an unpredictable and completely heart-warming story. As with her first novel, The Authenticity Project, author Clare Pooley includes multiracial, and multigenerational characters with a variety of serious problems that are worked out through the support of others. This book would make a great summer read with the perfect blend of dry humor, depth of character, adversity and growth. I particularly recommend the Audiobook as narrator Clare Corbett’s artistry with voices add immensely to the experience.

Hardcover 352 pages, Audiobook 8 hours, 38 minutes

Please Note: I originally wrote this review for Pamela Lamp's wonderful lifestyle blog called Who I Met Today I love reading her profiles of fascinating people, ideas, travel, food and drinks, and of course, books! Check it out!


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