A brief, selective memoir of the popular duo behind the successful Fixer Upper show, The Magnolia Story is written primarily from Joanna Gaines' pointA brief, selective memoir of the popular duo behind the successful Fixer Upper show, The Magnolia Story is written primarily from Joanna Gaines' point-of-view with some input from husband Chip. I enjoyed the overall message which emphasized faith, the importance of prioritizing family, remaining true to yourself, and being willing to follow the still small voice of God. The Magnolia Story is not a literary masterpiece but nevertheless conveys an inspirational, feel-good story. I couldn't help but like Chip and Joanna even more after reading their story....more
A short but powerful read. In this true story of unconditional love and working through a terrible tragedy, Kim and Krickett Carpenter convey their trA short but powerful read. In this true story of unconditional love and working through a terrible tragedy, Kim and Krickett Carpenter convey their tremendous faith in God. Their story is both uplifting and an inspirational reminder of the work it takes for any marriage to succeed....more
This was a super quick read. I found the first half of the book tremendously funny, Lauren Graham's self-deprecating humor is laugh-out-loud funny. ItThis was a super quick read. I found the first half of the book tremendously funny, Lauren Graham's self-deprecating humor is laugh-out-loud funny. It's not exactly chronological, since the chapters are more thematic, and unfortunately some of the chapters missed the mark a bit. I especially enjoyed Lauren's "diary" of the filming of the Gilmore Girls reboot....more
This would be a great book for middle school to young high school readers. It is an inspirational story, one that deserves to be read. I found, howeveThis would be a great book for middle school to young high school readers. It is an inspirational story, one that deserves to be read. I found, however, that the memoir is oversimplified and breezes quickly through many years of events. I think the primary reason is that the author, Michaela DePrince, was only seventeen when it was written--which is quite young for a meaningful memoir. I'd be very interested in reading a more expanded memoir once Michaela DePrince has gained more years of experience in the dance world....more
I highly recommend 'Til We Meet Again. In this darling little memoir, seasoned nonagenarian Ray Whipps recounts his experiences while fighting in theI highly recommend 'Til We Meet Again. In this darling little memoir, seasoned nonagenarian Ray Whipps recounts his experiences while fighting in the Second World War as a twenty-year-old. A series of events leads him from washing out of flight school, through dangerous action in Europe as an infantry soldier, to a serious injury and eventual imprisonment as a POW. Despite the circumvention of his own plans, the dire circumstances, and the sometimes crippling fear of battle, Whipps knows that God is with him, protecting him and leading him to a purpose better than he could imagine. The providential course of events introduces him to his future wife Betty, a nurse serving in a field hospital in France who also possesses a deep Christian faith.
I read this book in two sittings and cried through most of it; I couldn't help picturing my own husband while reading about Whipps' experiences. The writing was deeply affecting. It was only by the grace of God that Whipps survived the war, and it broke my heart reading how few people he met who possessed a real faith during the war, all of whom could have been comforted and encouraged by a God who loved them.
Ray Whipps is not a famous man, but he served faithfully in the war, and his character and faith are evident on every page. What a great heritage his family received, and how blessed I felt to read his words of wisdom....more
Intelligent and introspective, Craig Mullaney's memoir, The Unforgiving Minute, takes the reader from Mullaney's first year at West Point to the end oIntelligent and introspective, Craig Mullaney's memoir, The Unforgiving Minute, takes the reader from Mullaney's first year at West Point to the end of his military career after having served a tour in Afghanistan. As the subtitle indicates, the primary theme of the memoir is Mullaney's education and development into a soldier-scholar.
I cannot praise highly enough Mullaney's tone and intelligent voice that is strikingly apparent throughout the pages. He tries to downplay his accomplishments (salutatorian at West Point, recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship, Oxford degree, etc.), but he does not (or perhaps is not able to) disguise his brilliance.
For the majority of his memoir, Mullaney comes across as very real and relatable--with just a smidgeon of a superiority complex to round himself out. This is due to many instances of conveying his deep-seated ambivalence towards the Army and his own competence as a leader. The man has doubts! Who doesn't? Apart from the military, there are few professions where poor leadership can have fatal consequences, and Mullaney gives the impression that he has contemplated "the cost of a salute" often both before and after his unforgiving minute.
Unfortunately, a tendency to blather on about certain topics bloated the book significantly. Another detraction was that not enough detail was given to show the reader events rather than describe them in broad brush strokes. Mullaney wrote about his time at Oxford at length; however, it felt quite brushed-over. He journeyed to 30 countries during his postgraduate time, but did not include many details.
The biggest fallacy of the memoir was the lack of showing any substantial, fully-developed relationship. Mullaney introduces many friends, mentors, Army buddies, family members, and a girlfriend throughout the course of the book, but I never gained a sense of truly knowing any of them. Other than a description of physical characteristics and some character traits, there was nothing memorable to differentiate his Army buddies. Mullaney told the reader about his great love for Meena, but I never felt it ring true on the pages. The final effect is that the reader is left wondering how close the author became to any of the people in his life....more
American Sniper, written by the late Chris Kyle, expounds upon the author's experiences which led him to become the most prolific sniper in American hAmerican Sniper, written by the late Chris Kyle, expounds upon the author's experiences which led him to become the most prolific sniper in American history. While I enjoyed the tale, I felt that the book read as a series of disjointed scenes, as though writing about one memory prompted another in a rather haphazard fashion. I did appreciate seeing the war through the eyes of a sniper, boots on the ground. However, it's a rather narrow view of the war and better serves as an addition to the large body of memoirs currently in print about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I also appreciated the brief sections written by his wife Taya....more
Reading Katie Heaney's memoir, Never Have I Ever, left me rolling on the floor laughing. Her take on flirting, crushes, and online dating were spot-onReading Katie Heaney's memoir, Never Have I Ever, left me rolling on the floor laughing. Her take on flirting, crushes, and online dating were spot-on and absolutely hilarious. It's been a long time since I've read a book where the author's voice was so refreshingly authentic and permeated the entire book. Being a couple of years younger than Katie--but in the exact same stage in life--I definitely related to her JTT references and basically all the awkward strangeness that was elementary and middle school (and high school, and college...). This is hands down one of the best post-failed-crush books I've ever read (in case you were wondering). By the end, in spite of the book being about never having had a real relationship by age 25, I was left with a sense of hope and optimism. It certainly wasn't perfect, and there was a lot more cursing than I would have preferred, but I definitely want to share this with my girlfriends and especially my mom--just so they can understand the complex, never straightforward thought processes us dateless girls go through!...more
The Wrong Stuff chronicles Moore’s years in the US Navy through training during the WWII years, two tours in the Korean War, his years as a test pilotThe Wrong Stuff chronicles Moore’s years in the US Navy through training during the WWII years, two tours in the Korean War, his years as a test pilot at Pax River, and his years after leaving the Navy with the North American’s Apollo program.
The opening chapter details the circumstances of a freak accident onboard the USS Essex during Moore’s first Korean tour, which left Moore severely burned. Even recalling the grim moments when the skin on his face and hands burned black and peeled off, Moore retained his sense of wry humor (“The chill is normal, don’t worry about it. It comes from shock.” “I think it’s coming from my wet pants, doc.”)
Moore’s experiences held my attention throughout the entire book; however, I do think that The Wrong Stuff lacks a certain polish that would have made this really good memoir exceptional. Without a strong, central storyline, the plot meanders. It seems as though the book was written as Moore recalled his memories, but it should have been edited at least structurally to help the events flow more smoothly.
The only discernable message that tied the events of the book together was Moore’s judgments of men either having the “wrong stuff” or—as Tom Wolfe coined—the “right stuff.”
And though Moore’s self-deprecating style would have you believe he only survived his many years strapped to fighter jets by sheer dumb luck, it’s quite apparent that he has more than his share of the “right stuff.”...more
I loved reading Sauter’s memoir. The book encompasses Sauter’s four years in the Navy, from recruit training to technical school to learning to be anI loved reading Sauter’s memoir. The book encompasses Sauter’s four years in the Navy, from recruit training to technical school to learning to be an Aviation Electronics Technician to his first assignment at NAS Quonset Point to his deployment aboard the USS Lake Champlain towards the end of the Korean War.
Rather than a dry recap of his personal military experiences, Sailors in the Sky reads like a novel. This is a true memoir: Sauter recalls the flavor of his memories—the passages are soaked in details from facts about mates he hadn’t seen in 40 years to the way he felt upon first seeing the Hong Kong harbor to the distinct smells of Japan in the early 1950s.
Reading this memoir was a delight. Sauter did not balk from sharing personal details, and those additions really made him a relatable, likable character. I’d love to get a chance to sit around and talk with him some day, just to hear his stories again....more