Galant on cars and marriage

Debra Galant.
Photo by Frances Pelzman Liscio

From a ’74 Mustang to a Chevy Suburban, Debra Galant’s Cars from A Marriage charts the important events–big and small–in one couple’s relationship by way of the automobiles that drive them throughout the course of their lives. Ivy is a transplanted Southern belle– the daughter of a car salesman– who continually wonders how she has ended up a New Jersey stay-at-home mom with a not-so-secret fear of driving. Her husband Ellis was a stand up comedian when they met, and the owner of that ’74 Mustang, but his ambitions were overshadowed by the responsibilities of a family. In the blink of an eye, he became a PR executive with a mortgage, two kids, and a Buick LeSabre.

The cars steer us from their first meeting, to their first fight, and down the line to a family funeral. Finally, it’s on a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway that Ivy and Ellis come to some serious and illuminating realizations about their lives. With insights that alternate between hilarious and profound, Galant provides a unique, unforgettable portrait of a marriage.

About the author

In 1995, Debra Galant was asked to write a cover story for the Jersey section of the New York Times on the subject of suburban etiquette. Little did she know that suburban etiquette would become her beat, or that the story would lead to a five-year column in the newspaper of record.

Since that first cover story, Galant has written hundreds of articles and columns for the Times, on topics ranging from kitchen envy to nudist colonies. She has also penned many magazine-length articles, including profiles of Princeton University’s controversial ethicist Peter Singer and of Montclair cosmetics guru Bobbi Brown.

In May 2004, Galant became a new-media pioneer when she launched It was named the #1 placeblog in America in January, 2007 and has been visited more than 10 million times.

Rattled, Galant’s first novel, was inspired by a January 2002 Times column she wrote about the endangered timber rattlesnake. Rattled was both a Book Sense pick and a New York Times Editors' Choice selection. Her second novel, Fear and Yoga in New Jersey, also a Book Sense pick, was released in 2008.

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I will be reading in Charlottesvile this Friday evening at New Dominion Bookshop. 5:30 pm. Please come! Details here: