I can't decide what I think about this story. The writing is superb and moving. This book moved me to tears. But the horror that Amanda and Nigel endu...moreI can't decide what I think about this story. The writing is superb and moving. This book moved me to tears. But the horror that Amanda and Nigel endured was so pointless and the the despair I felt while reading about Amanda's experience, specifically, make it impossible to say I liked or enjoyed reading this. It was painful and heartbreaking. (less)
Eleanora Fagan was born April 7, 1915. Her mother was only 13 and her father was pretty much absent. Eleanora was raised by family while her mother wo...moreEleanora Fagan was born April 7, 1915. Her mother was only 13 and her father was pretty much absent. Eleanora was raised by family while her mother worked; her childhood was painful and short. At 13 Eleanora was working as a prostitute, by 14 she was singing her unique style of jazz as Billie Holiday in Brooklyn clubs. Racism and drug addiction dogged her for most of her career but her unyielding spirit could never by broken.
In "Lady Sings the Blues" Billie Holiday tells us her story in her own, bold words. There were parts of her story that made me cringe, others that left me behind. The stories are not necessarily shared chronologically and words aren't wasted on clarifications. Either you know who and what Ms. Holiday is talking about or you don't. If you don't you'll have to go elsewhere for explanations. Her autobiography is not what I'd call well crafted, but it is still well told. Through the rough edges of her prose Ms. Holiday reveals more of herself than would be found in any professionally written biography.
I'd recommend this book to anyone, but it would be particularly well received by those interested in Women's history or African American history. It's also a must read for fans of jazz.(less)
This particular memoir found its way onto my reading list because I stumbled upon the movie one Saturday afternoon, quite by accident. I was sucked in...moreThis particular memoir found its way onto my reading list because I stumbled upon the movie one Saturday afternoon, quite by accident. I was sucked in by Meryl Streep, really. (She did an amazing Julia Child.) But be warned, the movie is not the book. And this time I don't mean that in a "the book is always better than the movie" sort of way.
Julie Powell is having a mid-life crisis at the ripe old age of 29. She has a steady job that she mildly hates and a loving husband whom she also mildly hates (if the verbal and mental abuse she heaps on him are any indication of that sort of thing). She decides that the only way to overcome her angst is to cook her way through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year and to share her misadventures in a blog. She started this blog when blogs were the IT thing and, subsequently, got a book deal for her trouble.
There are two important things to keep in mind if you decide to read this memoir. First of all, despite what the title may indicate this book contains a lot about Julie and not enough about Julia. And, secondly, the Julie Powell of real life is not the Julie Powell of the movie. This should go without saying but somehow caught me unaware all the same. The movie Julie is cutely neurotic. The real Julie cusses like a sailor and is perpetually on the edge of a meltdown. She also manages to insult at least everyone, from Republicans to Vegetarians, at least once. It was very amusing for the first couple of chapters; I'll even admit to chuckling a time or two. She's funny. But a whole 300 some pages of her histrionics was more than I could bear. Perhaps I'm just not cut out to be a reader of memoirs?(less)
Retired English professor and Ozarks native Wayne Holmes offers up a treat with his memoir, "Rocky Comfort." Storytelling is both an Ozarks tradition...moreRetired English professor and Ozarks native Wayne Holmes offers up a treat with his memoir, "Rocky Comfort." Storytelling is both an Ozarks tradition and a skill that Holmes has in spades. Be prepared to lose yourself in the tale. While many of Holmes' stories feature serious, even shocking subjects, they're told with the same naiveté in which they were experienced. Domestic disharmony, poverty, illness somehow become quaint and at times humorous under Holmes' gifted narration.
This memoir is a coming-of-age story and a shedding of overused stereotypes. Born to poverty in the rural Ozarks, Holmes' parents expected him to quit school after 8th grade and buckle down to "real work." He persisted in keeping his own path and we are all to benefit from his stubbornness. A must read for fans of regional tales and Ozarks history.(less)