Riding the Bus with My Sister

A True Life Journey


By Rachel Simon

Read by Rachel Simon

Formats and Prices



  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
  2. Audiobook CD (Unabridged) $24.98 $27.98 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around February 13, 2012. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

In the ten years since Rachel Simon first invited the world to board the bus with her and her sister, Cool Beth, readers across the globe have been moved by their story. Now, in an updated edition with fifty 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 Reader’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 reader 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.


Copyright © 2002 by Rachel Simon
All rights reserved


For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.




Visit the author's Web site: www.rachelsimon.com.


The Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data is available.

ISBN 0-618-04599-6


eISBN 978-0-547-34484-3





For Cool Beth

Author's Note

Some of the individuals who participated in this story asked me to change their names. In the interest of honoring those requests in a way that would not tempt readers to sort out the real names from the invented, I chose an egalitarian approach and altered everyone's name, except for my sister Beth's and mine. In addition, I changed details about the location to help preserve Beth's privacy.






The Journey

"Wake up," my sister Beth says. "We won't make the first bus."


In the course of my life, cars and trains and jets have whisked me to wherever I wanted to go, and I was going places, I thought; I was racing my way to becoming a Somebody. A Somebody who would live a Big Life. What that meant exactly, I wasn't sure. I just knew that I longed to escape the restrictions of what I saw as a small life: friends and a family and a safe, unobjectionable job that would pay me a passably adequate income. Although this package encompassed just the kind of existence many people I knew were utterly content with, I wanted something more.


On a brisk January afternoon, while last week's snow still dots the streets, the mirrored elevator zooms me toward the eighth floor of the agency's skyscraper. As the numbers light up—4, 5—I wonder what to expect. The elevator feels leathery and professional, a part of my world, and with a catch in my throat that falls somewhere between caution and excitement, I know that as soon as I emerge, I'll be in a land of rules and people I don't know—6, 7—and will feel as cloddish and bewildered as Alice emerging from the far end of the rabbit hole.


On Sale
Feb 13, 2012
Hachette Audio

Rachel Simon

About the Author

Rachel Simon is an award-winning author and nationally known public speaker. She is best known for her critically acclaimed, bestselling memoir Riding the Bus with My Sister, which was adapted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie of the same name. The book has garnered numerous awards, and is a frequent and much beloved selection of many book clubs, school reading programs, and city-wide reads throughout the country. Simon is also the author of the bestselling novel The Story of Beautiful Girl.

Learn more about this author