• Riding the Bus with My Sister

  • A True Life Journey
  • By: Rachel Simon
  • Narrated by: Rachel Simon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the 10 years since Rachel Simon first invited the world to board the bus with her and her sister, Cool Beth, listeners across the globe have been moved by their story. Now, in an updated edition with 50 pages of new content, Rachel Simon reflects on changes in her life, Beth's life, and the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The highlight is Beth's update, which is in her own words. A new listener's guide is also included. Join these two unforgettable sisters on their journey, this time in an even deeper and richer way. 

Rachel Simon's sister Beth is a spirited woman who lives intensely and often joyfully. Beth, who has an intellectual disability, spends her days riding the buses in her unnamed Pennsylvania city. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. One day, Beth asks Rachel to accompany her on the buses for an entire year. This wise, funny, deeply affecting true story 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. Full of life lessons from which any reader will profit, Riding the Bus with My Sister is "a heartwarming, life-affirming journey through both the present and the past...[that] might just change your life" (Boston Herald). 

Elegantly woven throughout the odyssey are riveting memories of terrifying maternal abandonment, fierce sisterly loyalty, and astonishing forgiveness. Rachel Simon brings to light the almost invisible world of adults with developmental disabilities, finds unlikely heroes in everyday life, and, without sentimentality, portrays Beth as the endearing, feisty, independent person she is. 

This heartwarming memoir about the unbreakable bond between two very different sisters takes the listener on an inspirational journey at once unique and universal.  

Riding the Bus with My Sister was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie starring Rosie O'Donnell and Andie McDowell, and directed by Anjelica Huston. 

©2002 Rachel Simon (P)2012 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Riding the Bus with My Sister

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

True story unlike most others! Fascinating!

Would you listen to Riding the Bus with My Sister again? Why?

Probably not, simply because I "got it" the first time around. The personality of "my sister", Beth, was fine for one listen, but I do not think I would enjoy it for a second listen. The narration was so realistic that I experienced Beth as somewhat obnoxious- not her personality, but her vocal inflections. So once was enough. But once was great!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Riding the Bus with My Sister?

The revelations shared by some of the bus drivers were eye-opening. The real-life interactions and reactions of people to Beth and Beth's indomitable spirit were so very interesting.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This book was fascinating. I always wanted to know, "what happens next", and so I listened as often as I could. It is a human life adventure - and true! Rachel has a unique ability as a writer to reconstruct situations from her memories in such a way that I felt like I was there watching them happen. Nothing seemed to be left out. (I can't even do that for myself with most of my own memories!)

Any additional comments?

This book opened up for me the world of the "mentally retarded" adult in a new way. Rachel's narration was excellent. I especially enjoyed the true life stories that were shared about the various characters in addition to her sister. Rachel's own journey, really interested me and helped me see some things differently in my own life!

4 people found this helpful

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Appreciating Diversity

This book took me on a journey of discovery where I became appreciative of people with behaviors different than mine. Any book that fosters understanding and love, as this book does so well in a realistic and often humorous way, is one that I hope many people will read. It was a good read and a book that has opened my eyes and changed my heart.

1 person found this helpful

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Fantabulous!

I wish I had all the extensive vocabulary to express all the feelings I went through with this book. I laughed, cried, was surprised and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I especially want to take away the “patience” for others - all others! There is so much to learn about one’s self.

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Better Late than Never

The author as narrator really made this book even better!
Rachel Simon, the big sister,
was hesitant to step up and live in
her sister, Beth’s world. All the characters were integral to this story on how to accept and learn more about one another.
As a former teacher, I saw this daily & appreciate a first hand account of siblings and family learning from each other.

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Great read

Beautiful story. Was hesitant at first yet feel in love in the first chapters. Opened my heart and thought me about self love and compassion.

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nice story

I love the fact that the author was who narrated this audiobook. Besides it is a great story.

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The book was good but the narrator (author) bad!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I enjoyed the story but the narrator really detracted. Author's shouldn't narrate their own books.

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Ground-breaking

As the parent of a child with disabilities, I loved the authors detailed look not only at the many layers within her sister but of the importance of those around her.