Dismazed & Driven Reviews

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Sister Simone Campbell, SSS 
Executive Director
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and
Leader of Nuns on the Bus

Diane Nilan travels the country to lift up the stories of people experiencing homelessness and the challenges they face. She uses her experience of literal “bumps in the road” as a metaphor for the failures and limitations of US housing policy.  She tells stories of families’ bravery, determination, great care and daunting economic realities. In this COVID time (or any time) it is a wakeup call to all of us to pay attention. We as a nation are better than this! Ms. Nilan helps us to recognize this and motivates us to work to make change.

Parker J. Palmer
Author of
On the Brink of Everything,
Let Your Life Speak
The Courage to Teach, and
Healing the Heart of Democracy

Diane Nilan hooked me with the opening lines of her book: “I’ve spent 15 years on America’s backroads [while living in a small RV] chronicling the plight and promise of families experiencing homelessness.”

The book takes the “blue highways” genre to new depths by lifting up, in lively prose, one of most critical moral-political issues we face. She addresses our growing homeless crisis with human-scale stories about parents and kids that will first break your heart, then move you to act. (Nilan has acted on what she’s learned by founding a nonprofit called HEAR US, Inc. at www.hearus.us)

I’ve never met the author, but after reading this book, I feel I know her heart. We need to clone that heart across this land so we can overcome the twin crises of homelessness and heartlessness with the power of MLK’s Beloved Community. 

Judy Borich 
Middle River Press, Oakland Park, FL
 Dismazed and Driven will pull you into the world of the author and the homeless families she seeks out.  Join Diane Nilan as she continues to drive dismazed, sharing her life and stories and anecdotes of families that reveal disastrous and overlooked conditions. This book paints a realistic, sometimes startling, and often touching picture of homelessness in America that is not common knowledge. But once you know, you will never forget.
Heather Denny 
MT State Coordinator for Homeless Education
There is no one who has devoted more time and energy to bringing attention to the crisis of homeless children and families in America. From the “happiest place on Earth” to the Pacific Northwest, Diane has travelled the highways and backroads giving voice to the voiceless. This recounting of her adventures is heartwarming, poignant, and powerful.
Dr. Anita C. Levine
Professor of Elementary Education, SUNY Oneonta, NY
Diane Nilan's memoir, Dismazed and Driven, is a powerful blend of storytelling and call for social justice for our most vulnerable and disenfranchised. A must-read for those seeking insight into the deleterious effects of homelessness on families, children and youth here in the United States.

Darlene Newsom
CEO UMOM New Day Centers, Phoenix, AZ

Diane did an incredible job in bringing homeless families and their stories to light, the stories gave me goose bumps and I was intrigued on how she circled back to give updates on the families.  She hit the root causes of homelessness highlighting trauma, poverty, and domestic violence. We can move the needle on focusing on homeless families and creating a livable wage and affordable housing.  None of us should tolerate homeless children living on the street. 

Joe Willard
Vice President, People’s Emergency Center, Philadelphia, PA

 Dismazed and Driven joins America's literature of life on the road. It captures America's spirit of the search for meaning while one explores. It departs from the selfish part of road literature because it’s about one person's dedication to people caught in poverty and inequality. Diane Nilan travels to meet and record the experiences of families and their children who are homeless, with tenderness and sadness, but tinged with hope.  A lovely read.

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