I cannot praise this book enough. It is one of the best books I have ever read. What I loved most about this book is its ability to show people for whI cannot praise this book enough. It is one of the best books I have ever read. What I loved most about this book is its ability to show people for who they really are and for who they really can be. The varied perspectives through which the story is told only helps the reader to feel as if she is truly a part of the story and a part of the characters' lives. It demonstrates the truth about people - that no one is all good or all bad, that we all have personalities and characters which are intricately threaded with both our admirable and shameful traits, that we are a product of both the society in which we live and the influence of the company we choose to keep - but also that we all have the option there for us, if we choose to take it to change both ourselves and those around us. Everyone should read this book....more
I read this book because I usually love Margaret Atwood. "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Oryx and Crake" are two of my favorite books. This book, however,I read this book because I usually love Margaret Atwood. "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Oryx and Crake" are two of my favorite books. This book, however, was just ok. It made Penelope seem kind of pathetic and wasn't really that interesting of a read. It was an interesting shift from the typical view of Odysseus as a "great hero", and it brought attention to some of the flaws in painting him as such, but the story itself wasn't really that good. I am sorry to say that I wouldn't really recommend it....more
This is a book that everyone, especially women, should read. It is the shyness and shame women are made to feel about their bodies and what happens toThis is a book that everyone, especially women, should read. It is the shyness and shame women are made to feel about their bodies and what happens to them that allows bad things to continue happening. Why should a woman who was raped feel shame and isolation? Why should women in third world countries be forced to endure female genital mutilation, a cruel, painful, and dangerous procedure which prevents many from ever knowing sexual pleasure and even costs some women their lives? There is a line from this book that has always stuck with me and it basically says that this book was written because until it becomes acceptable to talk about these issues openly, women's bodies will continue to be ravaged in the dark and taken advantage of. Powerful, disturbing, and so very true. ...more
The Subtitle (Finding your place without losing yourself) is an accurate description of what the book is about. When I first started looking into theThe Subtitle (Finding your place without losing yourself) is an accurate description of what the book is about. When I first started looking into the literature out there about blended families, I became quickly discouraged because much of it was negative and discouraging. In fact I would encourage anyone looking for a book about this topic to do a little research and read a few reader reviews before choosing the book lest you find yourself reading something not right for you.
This book had some great reviews and from the beginning I felt encouraged rather than discouraged. The author gives some great and practical advice gleaned from both her own experience and from numerous interviews with other women who had experienced the myriad joys and pains of stepmotherhood. Two points that stand out in my memory most are the importance of focusing on your relationship with your husband (This relationship will remain once the kids have grown up and moved out.) and the importance of being true to yourself, knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, and limits. Basically the importance of learning to give yourself a break, take things slowly, and not be too hard on yourself when things don't go perfectly (something I am still learning how to do).
While I did not always agree with every word and found that some of the advice and scenarios did not apply to my particular situation, I found it to be a helpful way to begin my journey into stepmotherhood and will return to it in the future to peruse the pages filled with my highlighting of those valuable pieces of advice and encouragement I found while reading.
I would recommend this book to any woman who has chosen to be a part of a blended family whether she has her own children already or not....more
This is my new favorite book! The writing was beautiful and moving as were the strong female characters in the book. They were forced to face a belittThis is my new favorite book! The writing was beautiful and moving as were the strong female characters in the book. They were forced to face a belittling and degrading man who seemed to thrive on crushing the spirits of others any time he could uplift himself in the process, and their strength in the face of such treatment was inspiring. This book made me proud to be a woman.
Read December 2008, January 2010, April 2011, January 2012...more
I read this book when I was in college in my Female Tradition in Literature class. What I like about it so much is how well it illustrates the power nI read this book when I was in college in my Female Tradition in Literature class. What I like about it so much is how well it illustrates the power names can have over us. In my 9th grade English class, we had an interesting discussion over the line from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet...." It was interesting to see my students' perspectives on the power of names. ...more
I read this book at a time in my life when I really needed affirmation of my worth as a woman. It definitely lifted me up and helped me to begin to vaI read this book at a time in my life when I really needed affirmation of my worth as a woman. It definitely lifted me up and helped me to begin to value myself as every woman should do. ...more
This book was written by one of my favorite college professors, and I really enjoyed reading it. It is about her search for the baby she was forced toThis book was written by one of my favorite college professors, and I really enjoyed reading it. It is about her search for the baby she was forced to give up for adoption when she was sixteen years old and her lifelong struggle with depression over her loss. Her writing is so open and honest and soul revealing, and I found many ways that I could deeply connect with her story. Several years ago I read her other book for a class called "Writing Women's Lives" about women's memoirs. Her examination of memoirists' attempts to find healing by revealing burdensome secrets they have been forced to keep throughout their lives was thought provoking and causes the reader to truly re-examine the harmful nature of the secrets so many of us try to keep burried in our pasts only to find them seeping through into our present permeating everything we do. ...more
This is one of the most significant books I have ever read and after reading another woman's review of the book, I decided to go back and rewrite my oThis is one of the most significant books I have ever read and after reading another woman's review of the book, I decided to go back and rewrite my own. She describes how she felt that the experience Gilbert describes is much like her own and I agree. It was exactly how I felt last year as I was reading the book and deciding whether I had the courage to turn my own life upside down and begin to live my life being honest with myself. As I worked my way through the book I could see my own life and experiences somewhat paralleling those Gilbert describes, not on as grand a scale, but in ways that were huge to me. And surprisingly despite the fact that I loved the book and often found myself devouring page after page, I also found myself putting the book down, sometimes for months, when I got to parts of her journey that I wasn't ready for in my own. I didn't see this book as an instruction manual for how I should live my life, but as a comforting companion as I found my own way. I have read many reviews that complain about Gilbert's self-centeredness, but to me that was the point....she was on a journey to learn about herself and to find her own elusive happiness. I know what that's like. Yes, we all have responsibilities that we can't just walk away from. (Gilbert was lucky because her job allowed her to do both.) But our responsibilities should not keep us from our own happiness. We should not let all of our "responsibilities" cause us to look around one day and not even know who we are any more. There has to be a balance, and sometimes it becomes necessary to admit that you cannot continue down the road you are on. Sometimes you have to change direction or find a new path and others may see it as selfish or crazy, but to you there is no other choice. ...more