Friday Fiction – License to Drive

License to Drive coverLicense to Drive: a novelization

Submitter: I thought this was an awful book because first, I hate movie adaptation books as a genre; second, it’s SO old and dated—from my high school years—and I was embarrassed to see this movie when it came out (I didn’t, but my friends did); third, the dialogue and photos are just seriously cheesy; and finally, it looks like it might have been for school market distribution through Scholastic, which is just awful. I mean, god speed to the Coreys but they really needed to not make this as a movie, let alone a book.

Holly: Fun fact: A. L. Singer is the pseudonym for Peter Lerangis. I don’t really get the movie adaptation book thing either. Or TV shows, for that matter. God bless capitalism, I guess! If you can make an extra buck on something popular, have at it. This book held up pretty well for a paperback, but that could be because no one has laid hands on it in 20+ years.

License to Drive back cover

License to Drive excerpt

Life in the Fast Lane

License to drive excerpt


  1. Sometimes I think the novel based on the movie is better than the movie. For example when I was a kid my mom took my brother and me to see Harry and the Hendersons, which about is a family’s adventure with a lovable, intelligent Sasquatch that they named Harry. But in the book they were able to show just what Harry was thinking since he doesn’t talk until the end of the movie, which deepened his character. Also there was no swearing in the book! The movie had quite a bit of swearing for a family movie, which too many writers have done just to avoid the dreaded “G” rating. The same also went for the novel based on Spaceballs, which I also found better than the movie. But other people swear all the time now so I’m the weird one now.

      1. Yup. But the movie version of Childhood’s End was just as good as the book. Different, but just as good.

  2. Hey, you’re not alone. The G rating is the most disrepected rating simply for not having the usually gratuitous vulgarities that somehow make it instantly cool and acceptable. How’d we get to this? 🙂

  3. Isn’t “motion picture screenplay” redundant? “Based on the motion picture screenplay written by” is even more so. “Based on the screenplay by” would suffice.

    The 1988 date means fourteen-year-old me bought a ticket for it. Maybe I liked it then but doesn’t a drunk steal the Caddy and drive it backwards? Meh, feh! Drunk driving isn’t funny to today me.

  4. When the first Star Wars came out, I got the novelization (George Lucas was credited as the author). I got it mainly for the pictures, but I read it as well; long before the other movies, it delved into the back stories of the Empire and Darth Vader. A lot my geekier friends read it as well, and their copies were well-thumbed reference sources for Star Wars esoterica. The book helped turn me on to sci-fi, and I would later devour the books of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke.

  5. I used to read novelizations of movies as a youngster because we didn’t have cable TV and I never got to go to the movies. Reading the book at least allowed me to understand what my friends were talking about at school, although I agree that these things were not great literature. I remember doing this with Star Wars and ET, and I’m sure many other movies as well.

  6. When I was a kid they used to take this a step further and have novels featuring The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch. Since I loved those shows, I devoured the books. Sometimes reading actually IS more enjoyable, for reasons mentioned above: third-person narration can divulge the characters’ thoughts. Of course, if you read rather than watch The Partridge Family you’re missing out on all the sweet tunes. Luckily, I owned all their albums and could play them on my Sears portable record player while reading the book!

    1. I read The Partridge Family too! In the various libraries I haunted as a kid in the 70s and 80s, I found novelizations of Happy Days, Get Smart, and Welcome Back, Kotter. I loved the Kotter ones–the adventures of the gang were almost whimsical (acting as supers for a building in one). I remember one guy seemed to write all these–sweet gig. Also, the Monkees had some books related to the show, short stories and goofy extras.

  7. The novel version of Pretty in Pink had the original ending that was cut in the movie where Ducky wins Andy’s heart at the prom. Much Better!

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