Every day Iona, a larger-than-life magazine advice columnist, travels the ten stops from Hampton Court to Waterloo Station by train, accompanied by her dog, Lulu. Every day she sees the same people, whom she knows only by nickname: Impossibly-Pretty-Bookworm and Terribly-Lonely-Teenager. Of course, they never speak. Seasoned commuters never do. Then one morning, the man she calls Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader chokes on a grape right in front of her.
Pooley brings people together--strangers--in such a fun, spirited way that it's bound to spark readers to expand their worldview ... This endearing novel, told from the points of view of an ensemble cast of vividly drawn characters, starts on a London commuter train ... Pooley's grasp on the constraints and longings of the human condition proves immensely entertaining. Readers will be charmed by this uplifting, hopeful story rife with tender insights. Traveling with Iona Iverson is a literary journey well worth taking.
... a buoyant, bright, occasionally brash novel that’s equal parts funny and poignant ... The fear of obsolescence creeps up on several characters in the book. How Iona overcomes its depressing tug and rediscovers her courage is one of the novel’s many highlights ... Fueled by well-paced subplots, Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting champions the community that can form when strangers take the plunge and start to talk. Inevitably, doors open, perspectives widen, and empathy blooms ... Indeed, by rotating readers through the thoughts, hopes, anxieties, and vanities of her diverse cast, Pooley explores the complicated lives under the façades they present – and the need to replace judgment with a willingness to allow others to reveal themselves.
... another joyous tale about serendipitous friendship and seizing each day with vigor. The epitome of a feel-good book that is also laugh-out-loud hilarious, it centers on the titular Iona, an indomitable middle-aged woman, and the eclectic cast of characters she encounters each day on the train ... In a time when our differences so often divide us, Pooley’s novel is like a reassuring hug, assuring readers that our differences can strengthen relationships and should be embraced and celebrated. A not-to-be-missed read in the mode of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (2017).