Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey

Rachel Simon s sister Beth is a spirited woman who lives intensely and often joyfully, despite her intellectual disability Beth spends her days riding the buses in her Pennsylvania city The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors her fellow passengers are her community One day, Beth asked Rachel to accompany her on the buses for an entire year the book is the chronicRachel Simon s sister Beth is a spirited woman who lives intensely and often joyfully, despite her intellectual disability Beth spends her days riding the buses in her Pennsylvania city The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors her fellow passengers are her community One day, Beth asked Rachel to accompany her on the buses for an entire year the book is the chronicle of that remarkable time Rachel, a writer and college teacher whose hyperbusy life camouflaged her emotional isolation, had much to learn in her sister s extraordinary world Here are life lessons from which every reader can profit how to live in the moment, how to pay attention to what really matters, how to change, how to love, and how to slow down and enjoy the ride.Simon elegantly braids together riveting memories of terrifying maternal abandonment, fierce sisterly loyalty, and astonishing forgiveness She brings to light the almost invisible world of mental retardation, finds unlikely heroes in everyday life, and portrays her very special sister Beth as the endearing and indomitable person she is This heartwarming book takes the reader on an inspirational journey, at once unique and universal.
Riding the Bus with My Sister A True Life Journey Rachel Simon s sister Beth is a spirited woman who lives intensely and often joyfully despite her intellectual disability Beth spends her days riding the buses in her Pennsylvania city The drivers a

  • Title: Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey
  • Author: Rachel Simon
  • ISBN: 9780452284555
  • Page: 361
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey”

    1. A true story about the author and her mentally handicapped sister. Good for you Beth! Interestingly enough, I liked the parts where the author wrote about growing up with her family. This was indeed a good read.

    2. With a special needs sister myself, I have to confess this book was a little disappointing. I wasn't very impressed with Rachel's attitude toward her sister. Maybe I just hoped she'd have the loving, unbreakable bond that I do with mine. Having my own sister, just the way she is, has made a positive impact on our family and my life and I was hoping this story would share a similar tale. It wasn't all bad though and there were definitely many parts I enjoyed.

    3. I didnt enjoy the begining because it just started a little slow, but as I kept reading I was able to get into the book more. This book was about how Rachel dealth with her sister having a mental illness. She opens up about how they grew up and the struggles Rachel faced having to deal with her sister. Having divorced parents made the sibling come closer because they had each other. As they got older, Beth the sister moved into the city for fun she would just ride the bus and through out the boo [...]

    4. We who grow up with family members with mental retardation have a blindspot like Rachel Simon. We think we "know" what MR is -- we live with it every day! But as Rachel discovers at the end of her journey, MR is a catchall term for the many things that can go wrong in a person's brain and development. And each person who is diagnosed with MR is still an individual with different abilities -- some skills stronger than others -- despite the label that lumps them altogether.I regret not reading thi [...]

    5. My desire to review Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey persists. So does my reluctance to review it. I have not, unlike Rachel Simon, spent entire days, during the course of a year, riding city buses with a "mentally retarded" sister. But Rachel Simon's emotional responses to her sister's words, choices, and circumstances remind me of my reactions to a sister who -- from where I sit on "Mt. Judgment" -- has a social skills deficit. Hence my resistance to discussing a work that de [...]

    6. Riding the Bus with My Sister is an inspiring read for a fellow typical sibling of a loved one with a disability. Rachel Simon serves as an inspiration for me in that she is able to use her gifts and talents to not only interact well with her sister Beth, but also to inspire and inform others with her honest true story. Having the ability to read and write when my brother did not was sometimes a complicated feeling. Some of the guilt Rachel Simon implicitly reveals is similar to what I have felt [...]

    7. WOW! WOW! WOW!This is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. This is also a book that will stay on my "read" shelf here at my house because I think I will need to visit it again and again to remind myself what grace and love really look like and just how families CAN heal after all. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It's a book about love, sisters, family and ALL the crazy that goes along with those. Rachel and her sister Beth are amazing and the lessons that Beth teaches Rachel [...]

    8. I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would. I was a afraid it would be trite. I did get a little bit tired of the narratives about the drivers. What I liked the most were the sections on the family history. I found it really moving how she quietly told the story. "At boarding school, I sit late at night on friends' beanbag chairs, discussing my most feared scenarios about Beth's fate, keeping my listeners awake until they exile me to my room. I have no idea what is happening- there [...]

    9. I'm only about halfway through with this book, but it is such an endearing story about a woman (writer) who takes time off from her normal schedule to literally ride the bus with her mentally challenged sister(Beth)for one year. She discovers not only Beth's challenges, but the numerous ways that she is brave, industrious, self-sufficient and "normal." The relationship between the sister's, as well as that of Beth and the drivers, lends to a heart-warming story that is truthful and does not alwa [...]

    10. This is an anniversary edition with new content. (There's an essay from Beth and some "Where Are They Now?" material, for example, as well as resources and more information.)This is one of those books that I had always meant to read, and I was very happy that Hachette allowed me to read this for review. :)I admire Rachel Simon so much for writing this book, because she's very up front about her feelings and the fact that she's not always a good sister to Beth. (To be fair, I think she's a better [...]

    11. This was the second time I read this wonderful book! As a parent of a grown son with developmental delays, I could relate to the gamut of feelings and the difficult decisions Rachel and her family experienced as Beth matured. This book acknowledges that the nuanced journey to self-determination is not only challenging for Beth and her parents and siblings, but also for the team of professionals who work with Beth. The bus drivers (who serve as Beth's heros and informal counselors as she choses t [...]

    12. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, what huh?? I got to page 88 and I'm done with this thing. Boooooooooring. I guess I'm just not a fan of feel-good true stories that teach me lessons about life. After the 3rd (or so) bus driver gave his uninterrupted, full-page monologue about the life lessons he's learned and that he's passing on to Rachel Simon, I decided enough's enough. Somehow I have trouble believing that this is exactly how things happened. And I think I'm done learning lessons. 1)Be nice. 2)Don't [...]

    13. The first part of this really grabbed my attention. An interesting story, but, like Rachel, i found myself frustrated at times with Beth. The interplay of the present day story with the family background was interesting, though it did get painful as the family's disfunction came to the fore. As the book wore on, it became more of a catharsis for RAchel to work out her feelings about life, her relationship with Sam and her feelings about Beth. I imagine the original article that prompted the book [...]

    14. JustSome good parts, but mostly I didn't care much for the author. For some reason I just couldn't relate to her. I was waiting for some grand realizations and really deep thoughts on having a sibling with a disability, but, aside from a few hints, this book failed to give it. Also, it was tied up much too neatly and perfectly at the end, which drives me crazy.Worth reading, I guess, but if you're looking for a life-changing book on disability issues, this isn't it.

    15. I WANT TO GET OFF THE BUS!!!! Please!! This book just went on and on and on I get it was a memoir but I felt like this would have been better off in a journal not published. It was like, "I had a rough lifed oh my sisterfeel sorry for mebut I'm okay now." It was probably cathartic for Simon but boring for me. (I did read Simon's The Story of Beautiful Girl and it was wonderful.)

    16. Actually a 4 1/2 . A delightful book that is well written. Interesting insights into those with an intellectual disability. Also makes you take a look at yourself and your own issues.

    17. This is a memoir which the author has written about a year she committed to accompany her sister who has an intellectually disability in an attempt to understand her world and her experiences on her terms. The author exposes her own emotional struggles with accepting her sister, and reveals her inner most thoughts feeling and reactions in a very courageous way. Through her journey she learns about the rights of persons with disabilities to self-determination, and to accept her sister for who she [...]

    18. A well told story of what it is like to have a mentally disabled member of the family. It is told with the honesty and understanding that only a person who had been there could have had.

    19. This is a story about Rachel, sister of “Cool Beth”. Beth is mildly retarded. She lives on her own and lives on disability. She doesn’t have a job. She rides the local buses in her Pennsylvania city, every day. Looking for something to write about, Rachel decides to visit her sister and spend a day with her. This leads to an article in the newspaper. The experience has surprised Rachel and it has sparked a new relationship with Beth. So, Rachel decides to “Ride the bus with her sister” [...]

    20. This memoir follows one year in the lives of Rachel and her developmentally disabled sister Beth, (or as she calls herself, Cool Beth.) Beth spends hers days riding the city buses, and in an effort to get closer to her sister and understand her better, Rachel agrees to spend a year riding the buses with Beth (one or two days per week.)As she rides the buses with Beth, and gets to know the drivers, she discovers during the year she is learning as much about herself as she is about her sister, and [...]

    21. I have an acquaintance (let's call her "Mary") who decided back when we were in 8th grade that she was going to be a welfare queen like her mom and grandma. She currently has a couple of kids, is morbidly obese, and is living the life she dreamed of way back then. So I suppose you can legitimately ask the question, why should someone be forced to be a productive member of society just because they have a disability? I mean, Mary has chosen to simply live off of taxpayer dollars and not contribut [...]

    22. This story was everything I expected based on the title and summary on the back cover, but it was also more than expected. The relationship, past and present, between sisters Rachel and Beth, was really the main story. Beth's developmental disabilities make her unique -- at times very obsessive, loud in appearance and speech, illogical, obstinant, unaware of herself, and childish. Rachel, 11 months older, is not disabled in the ways that Beth is, but she is depressed and has been depressed for a [...]

    23. This memoir follows a year in the life of the author as she attempts to reconnect with her developmentally delayed sister, who spends nearly every waking moment riding public transportation and seeing life through the eyes of the bus drivers. The book splits into sections, with a modern day chapter followed by a look to the past describing the sisters' childhoods. Each of these flashback sections is told in the voice of her age at the time, so the earliest ones are told from a child's perspectiv [...]

    24. I am not sure what I expected from this book. I was looking for a different title at my library and this caught my eye. It seemed interesting, so I brought it home. Interesting is a good word for this memoir.I truly thought it would be about Simon and her sister as their relationship was in 2002. What I did not realize, but probably should was that their story was not that simple. Simon had issues with her family, especially her mother, that she needed to deal with. so that became part of her ta [...]

    25. I have two cousins who are mentally retarded (my age) and I grew up with them. This book was a reflection of the challenges the mentally retarded meet every day while trying to cope in a world that has left them behind as their (I) paymates mentally matured and "moved on" to their (my) adult world of different challenges. As I read, I empathized with both Rachel and Beth for the "mental" jail both of them were in. I applaude the author for striking out in her challenge of connecting with Beth vi [...]

    26. This book was fascinating to me! I read it on the recc of the librarian at the school where I work. (I love librarians, don't you!?) She told me how it moved her to really think about life and how we evaluate what makes a "good life". The main characters are a pair of sisters; the elder is workaholic, conflicted author and the younger is a woman who deals with being mildly mentally delayed. What the older one learns from the younger one about acceptance and coming to find true joy in life is, to [...]

    27. I'd give this 2.5 stars. I didn't think it was a great read, but it did have some interesting lessons and people in it that really made you think. Essentially, this is a memoir. Rachel Simon's sister, Beth, is a woman with mental retardation who spends her days riding city buses. While the family thinks Beth is simply wasting her time and life, as Rachel rides with her one day every 2 weeks or so for an entire year, she learns that in riding the buses Beth has found a community of friends and te [...]

    28. I am still in the middle of this, but just had to say how much I am loving it. Like another reviewer, I expected it to be trite, and the first few pages reinforced that expectation: Another feel-good story about the oh-too-busy for human connection career-driven sister who spends some time with her mentally handicapped sister and is awakened to the true meaning of life. YawnIS BOOK IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. Please read it. It is a wonderful book about connecting with another person, with insigh [...]

    29. Wow! What an incredible book and inspiring true story. I am so thankful that the author was willing to open up this glimpse of herself and the year she shared on the bus with her sister, Beth. Beth is mentally handicapped and marches to the beat of her own drum. Rachel, her older sister and the author, has returned to make peace with her sister after a long falling out, and in the face of struggles in her own life. Throughout the chapters of the lessons learned during the bus rides, Rachel also [...]

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