Your Driver Is Waiting

Doubleday. Feb. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780385549301. $26. F
DEBUT Guns’s satire scathingly reviews performative allyship, exploring whether people protest to affect change or to get clout. Damani, a queer Tamil woman, can’t catch a break. Six months after Damani’s beloved father dies, she has to care for her mother. Past-due notices pile up in their mailbox because Damani’s job as a ride-share driver pays her pennies, compared to the actual cost of her customers’ fares. Meanwhile, her city reverberates with activists marching on issues ranging from racial justice to climate change. By chance, Damani meets and starts a relationship with Jolene, a wealthy white protester and fundraiser. As Damani daydreams about a better life together, an encounter between her friends and Jolene slams her back to reality. The novel also notes the importance of safe spaces, as Damani has to bottle her emotions while enduring implicit bias on the job; the only time she gets to be herself is when she’s among friends at Doo Wop, a neighborhood hangout.
VERDICT Although the plot deflates in the third act, Damani’s complex personality carries the story with gravitas and humor. Guns’s razor-sharp social commentary makes her novel a worthy selection.
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