The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles: A Love Story by Laura FahrentholdThe Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles: A Love Story by Laura Fahrenthold

The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles: A Love Story

byLaura Fahrenthold

Paperback | June 26, 2018

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When Bloomberg journalist Mark Pittman suddenly died, his widow spent four summers driving 31,152 miles searching for answers.

In her fearless memoir, The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles: A Love Story, author Laura Fahrenthold presents a moving portrait of marriage, motherhood and mourning as she captains a 1993 RV sprinkling her husband's ashes with their two young daughters and a stray dog in an epic quest for healing and understanding. Filled with insight and wit from a career in journalism, the story captures the family's adventures and misadventures, her deeply-layered love story, and her hilarious slice-of-life dispatches where the pink steering wheel becomes her spiritual GPS.
Laura Fahrenthold is a mother, widow and writer. Her career in journalism includes both Woman's World and The New York Daily News. Laura has hundreds of newspaper bylines and has won several Associated Press writing awards. Her late husband was Mark Pittman, Bloomberg financial reporter and the first person ever to sue the Federal R...
Title:The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles: A Love StoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 5.96 × 0.79 inPublished:June 26, 2018Publisher:Hatherleigh PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1578267684

ISBN - 13:9781578267682

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Read from the Book

There are moments we all wish we could have over and over and over again—the moments before everything changes.I was halfway to the driveway before turning back to kiss Mark goodbye one more time. He called that afternoon to say that he wasn’t feeling well and that he was coming home from work early.“You sure I shouldn’t stay home? Maybe you have the flu,” I asked, noting the sweat on his pale forehead.He gave me his sexy lopsided smile, the one that says, “I love you.” “I’m fine,” he insisted, kissing me back a little too passionately for someone with a clammy fever. “We’re going to eat a delicious steak dinner, right girls? And then leave for Thanksgiving tomorrow.”“Right, Daddy,” echoed Nell and Susannah, happy to have their father all to themselves.*I still can’t believe I heard my cell phone ring that night. The restaurant music was really loud, and the place was packed. I can still remember the ringtone: “Piano Riff.”Whenever I hear it now, it makes me want to run out of the room, screaming.It was Mark. “Laura, help me! I’m throwing up!”My first thought was that the steak and salad had disagreed with his already upset stomach. But then a surge of lumbering dread shot through me. Mark Pittman never panicked. Ever. As a newspaper reporter, he once rushed into a collapsed elementary school to help drag out kids’ bodies—some of them dead. Even then, he didn’t panic. When covering the September 11th terrorist attacks, he didn’t panic.When our newborn baby, Susannah, suddenly stopped breathing after delivery and was rushed off to the neonatal intensive care unit, he didn’t panic.That night, there was something different in his voice. I knew it was an emergency.The drive home felt like it took forever, even though I only had to blow through five red lights and two stop signs to get there. It was like a slow-motion nightmare where you’re running away from something, only your legs won’t carry you fast enough.When I got in the house, Mark burst out of the bathroom, naked, eyes popping wildly as he struggled to compose his body and speech. He staggered, took a few steps, and then fell, gashing his chin on the hallway dresser. Pulling himself up, he collapsed again, this time cutting his forehead. His face bruised almost immediately.At first, I thought he had been shot or stabbed. There was a lot of blood soaking the piles of clean laundry neatly laid out in preparation for our trip. Some dripped down the wall, puddling on the floor. That’s when I realized it was coming out of him, in surges of violent vomit.For some dumb reason, my first thought was to get him a pair of underwear so that no one would see him naked.Then came a brutal honking noise. It was coming from Mark, a deep expulsion of air from his lungs. In his hand was a washcloth soaked in blood.He struggled back to his feet, staggering again and immediately falling face down back on the floor as he collapsed under his own weight. This time, he didn’t get up. He didn’t move at all.Then his bladder emptied.At that exact moment, everything stopped. The air shifted, became lighter. It was almost spotty, like the dots on an old black and white TV. I felt my body being lifted, floating up the attic stairs. I could see us down there, together on the floor, but I was up here, away from us. A gentle rush lifted me even higher, carrying me further away, to some place above. To a higher, sleepy peace. Nothing but blank space swallowing the room in silent calm.Looking down, I could see myself pressed against him. But up here, I was weightless. Floating in space.Then, whoosh. A noise that sounded like a vacuum cleaner sucked all the air from the room. I was spinning, whirling through muffled space. A hazy gray tunnel with tiny sparkly lights formed in front of me. It got bigger and bigger, gaining power and definition, almost like a tornado’s funnel, until it shot straight through the window into the night sky.Its path was too mesmerizing, the spell too intense to notice that the window had blown wide open as the twinkling trail disintegrated into the star-filled sky. My separation from the tunnel was gentle yet abrupt as the force released me and floated me back down next to him. His body was there, lying still, but he was no longer in it. It was empty.Mark was gone.—Excerpt from Chapter 1 by Laura Fahrenthold

Editorial Reviews

“How do you get past grief? Laura Fahrenthold drove through it with her two daughters, facing down everything from a hungry alligator to a broken heart while scattering her beloved husband Mark Pittman’s ashes across North America—and then some. The story would be sad if it weren’t so hilarious. And hilarious if it weren’t so sad. In the end, they reconnect in eerie, unexpected and surprisingly moving ways.” —Amanda Bennett, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and investigative journalist“Laura Fahrenthold has constructed a jewel. We don’t die anymore; we pass. The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles passes all understanding and, in its courage, gives us life everlasting.”—Tom Keene, editor-at-large for Bloomberg News and host of Bloomberg Surveillance “The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles is beautifully written and profoundly moving. Read it and enjoy the ride!”—Karen Duffy, New York Times bestselling author of Model Patient: My Life As an Incurable Wise-Ass and Backbone“In a memoir that is funny and heartfelt, Laura Fahrenthold lives with the grief of losing her husband—the love of her life and her daughters’ father. Her humor and buoyancy invigorate their family’s unconventional approach to mourning and carry the reader forward with a faith that even a relationship cut short by death can continue to sustain us.”—Heather Harpham, author of Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After"Incredible. A brutally honest, fast-moving and ultimately transcendent book about love's life after death." —David Fahrenthold, Washington Post reporter, 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner"Most women, when they lose their husbands unexpectedly, are paralyzed by grief. Laura Fahrenthold—whose award-winning journalist husband succumbed to a heart attack on Thanksgiving Eve, 2009—got moving. With her two young daughters in tow, she decided to move forward—literally. She packed them all into an RV with a pink steering wheel and proceeded to drive across America and Canada, scattering her husband's ashes. The result? A journey of self-discovery and renewal, love and hope, punctuated with stops at Walmart and Costco. Go ahead: take the ride!” —Barbara Hoffman, Arts Editor, The New York Post“Laura Fahrenthold tackles grief and loss in the most American of ways, hitting the road in a camper with two kids, a dog and her dead husband's ashes. Courageous, brutally honest and observant, The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles is a classic road story of love and healing. It's also laugh-out-loud funny." —Barbara Barker, Newsday“Laura Fahrenthold takes us on the craziest memorial road trip ever as she scatters her husband’s ashes around the country, her two daughters in tow. Her honest, moving, and often hilarious story makes for a sui generis grief memoir that will resonate with anyone who has had to start life over without a map.”    —Julie Metz, author of Perfection“A brave, put-your-heart-back-together-again book that’s a lesson for all not to hide grief in dark corners, but rather to take it on the open road to celebrate life.”—Valerie Frankel, author of The Accidental Virgin“The list of things we're never taught about, but should be, is ridiculously long. Birth, marriage, taxes and death are a few of the biggies. Take a lesson right now from Laura Fahrenthold, on loss and grief, and how to move forward, not just with courage, but also with humour. Revel in it, remember it, pass it on, and when you one day have to find your way through it, you'll be just a little better equipped." —Sue Fitzmaurice, author of Purpose“...remarkable not just for how Laura handled her husband’s sudden death, but for the journey she takes us on afterwards …. A road trip of the heart. And a bright light for the road that lies ahead for all of us." —Bill Ritter, WABC-TV Eyewitness News anchor “Oh, the comfort that comes from finding a cherished object that belonged to your loved one! Laura Fahrenthold brings readers inside the discovery of her late husband’s secret journal, a journey that brings her solace, joy, even much-needed laughter. I found myself staying up way too late to finish this remarkable book.” —Allison Gilbert, author of Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive   "With honesty and intimacy, Laura Fahrenthold recounts her love for her husband and her journey to spread his ashes after his untimely death. She gives parenting a capital ‘P’ as she teaches her children to adapt both on and off the road.” —Libby Copeland, journalist for The Washington Post, Slate, and Esquire“Prepare to go from laughing out loud to sobbing uncontrollably when you read Laura's chronicles. As the captain of a recreational vehicle she named HaRVey, she navigates a 31,000 mile healing grief journey across North America with a pink steering wheel as her spiritual guide. The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles will undoubtedly become this year’s ‘you have to read it’ book club choice.” —Mike McNamara, CEO, Talent Blvd.   “Laura Fahrenthold tells the story of her husband's death with unflinching honesty and a sincere vulnerability that makes you want to reach through the pages to hug her. She uses those same skills to tell the story of his death's aftermath, loading her bereft daughters into a used RV and crossing North American to spread his ashes in all the places they felt he’d like to live, from scenic vistas and national monuments to a potted plant and an ice cream truck. Along the journey, she teaches us about grief, motherhood, humor and strength, revealing that such great loss can bring with it surprising gifts.” —Ellen Wulfhorst, Chief Correspondent, Americas, Thomson Reuters Foundation“Imagine a road trip with courage guru Brene Brown and Travels With Charley author John Steinbeck. The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles is that book: an endearing, put-your-heart-back-together story of loss and hope that leaves you totally in awe of the human spirit.” —Robyn O'Brien, financial and food industry analyst and author of The Unhealthy Truth   "The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles is proof that loss isn't just about endings but also, if you're lucky, about beginnings. Laura Fahrenthold perfectly describes what Buddhists call a bardo, a transition from one state of being to another. She reminds us that new beginnings don't come for free, but they do come. You just need the courage to get behind the wheel…and drive your way through it, one sprinkle of ashes at a time.” —Dean Starkman, author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism“Most people would just as soon drown in a pool of grief and self-pity after the unexpected death of a spouse. This author isn’t most people. She chose reframe her remarkable husband’s worldly end into a fantastical adventure and beautiful celebration of notable life in a most extraordinary and unconventional way. We should all be so bold.”—Tara Wood, humor writer, social media influencer“For anyone who needs a road map with which to navigate heartache, this book is it. Laura Fahrenthold shows with laudable humor and compelling honesty that sometimes all it takes is an open heart, an adventurous spirit, two willing daughters, and an RV with a pink steering wheel to get there.”—Helaine Olen, author of Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry and co-author of The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to be Complicated“'RV there yet?' The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles is the ultimate RV road trip. Reeling from the traumatic death of her beloved husband, journalist Laura Fahrenthold embraces her grief, packs up the kids, the dog—and her husband's ashes—and hits the road. Follow Laura's brave, heartwarming, and humorous journey across Canada and beyond, one adventure—and misadventure—at a time. A quintessential tribute to a life well-lived, and a husband well-loved.”—Sandy Allen, Canadian Blog House "Fahrenthold’s brutal honesty in the book is bolstered by a sarcastically wicked inner monologue that brings humor even to her most morbid thoughts and makes for an experience-packed adventure." —Jena Butterfield, WAG Magazine"...handles an emotional and challenging subject matter in a frank, often funny, way. Its guiding principle seems to be honesty." - Maddie Monroe, Toronto Beauty Reviews