Jennifer Hayden grew up flat-chested. She was frustrated and embarrassed. Suddenly, she bloomed in her later teens. She was happy, with her new endowmJennifer Hayden grew up flat-chested. She was frustrated and embarrassed. Suddenly, she bloomed in her later teens. She was happy, with her new endowments and then her mother developed breast cancer and had a mastectomy. Was her turn next? At age, 43, she was diagnosed with the same thing, targeting the same breast.
Jennifer decided to tell her story, in an illustrated format. It is brutally frank, funny and quite emotional.
Breast cancer runs in my own family: my mother, my sister and aunt were all survivors, so I found this story, especially rewarding and gave me a better insight into their struggle. Highly recommended....more
Ward grew up in rural Mississippi, during the late 70s and 80s. She lived mostly at the poverty line, with just her mother supporting the family. In jWard grew up in rural Mississippi, during the late 70s and 80s. She lived mostly at the poverty line, with just her mother supporting the family. In just a few scant years, she lost five men in her life, to drugs, accidents and suicide. This beautifully written memoir, is her exploration of those young men's, pitifully short lives and her own struggles growing up and dealing with racism. She also examines her own alcohol abuse and bouts of depression. This book will break your heart and more than once but it is a must read. Ward also writes fiction and I loved her last novel, Salvage the Bones....more
Gary Shteyngart is the author of several acclaimed novels. I have not read him but I was immediately engaged by his memoir. He wasThe Immigrant song…
Gary Shteyngart is the author of several acclaimed novels. I have not read him but I was immediately engaged by his memoir. He was born Igor Shteyngart in Leningrad, in the late 1960s and then immigrated to New York in the late 70s. Igor was an only child and was nicknamed the “Little Failure” by his father. The boy was a lonely oddball, doted on by his Jewish mother, thrashed by his father and bullied by his classmates. The last kid to be picked for kickball. He finally finds refuge in books and writing. This is his family’s story and it is filled with wonderful anecdotes, offbeat relatives, his stoner college years and his heavy drinking, all told with a sharp wit and uncanny insight. I will now have to dig out my copy of Super Sad True Love Story. ...more
Just a few days after 9/11, in a remote trailer, outside of Tombstone Arizona, a woman is shot to death. Her fifth husband and probable killer, has diJust a few days after 9/11, in a remote trailer, outside of Tombstone Arizona, a woman is shot to death. Her fifth husband and probable killer, has disappeared. The author of this haunting memoir was twenty years old at the time. His mother’s death left his life in tatters and he spent the next ten years, repairing the damage and looking for answers. What really happened in that trailer, that fateful day? He did not like his step-father Ray but would have never imagined him capable of murdering his wife. Did he do it or was it someone else? St. Germain has great writing chops, following the lean, gritty style of Mary Karr, James Ellroy and Jeanette Walls and he has crafted an excellent story, filled with his own pain and frustration. His descriptions of the hot, dusty landscapes and the wasted little ghost-towns, along with the real-life characters that populate these desolate areas, are insightful and spot-on. I hope this is just the beginning for this young talented writer....more
Mary Anne Schwalbe is in her early 70s. She is a mother, a humanitarian and a lifelong reader. She is also dying from pancreati“What are you reading?”
Mary Anne Schwalbe is in her early 70s. She is a mother, a humanitarian and a lifelong reader. She is also dying from pancreatic cancer. Her son, Will, is also a dedicated reader. They have always enjoyed talking books and decide to form a two-person book club and while she is receiving her treatments, they discuss a book they have recently read together. This is an amazing memoir. Warm, funny, touching and brave. It’s about love, friendship, caring and of course books, scores of books. Mary Anne is such a winning real-life character, I find myself smiling just thinking about her. Do you want a great end of the year read? Hunt this one down....more
A soldier, decked out in full bomb gear, an 80 pound Kevlar suit, making the “long walk” toward an armed bomb. Is“"Don't be scared of the soft sand."
A soldier, decked out in full bomb gear, an 80 pound Kevlar suit, making the “long walk” toward an armed bomb. Is there anything more desolate or terrifying? Brian Castner served three tours in Iraq, as part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. This is the story of two journeys: the adrenaline-fueled, blood-soaked world of the combat soldier and the equally difficult return to a “normal” life. This is a raw, emotional memoir, filled with riveting prose. Castner describes the everyday intensity and horror of a EOD soldier, disarming bombs and cleaning up the aftermath. Collecting “right hands” to count the casualties. Placing a soldier’s personal info in their boots, because feet “pop” off in an explosion. And then Castner’s long painful recovery back home. The fear, the paranoia. While grocery shopping, he scans the crowd for potential insurgents and targets, clutching a non-existent weapon. Crying, while putting his son’s hockey gear on, which reminds him of donning his bomb suit. Castner vividly places the reader in each of these situations and has created one of the best books on war, that I have ever read. I cannot recommend it higher....more
“Whenever my father went out of town, he had the mail stopped.”
Bill Sandell was an adventurous, larger than life, father. An ex-Green Beret, war hero,“Whenever my father went out of town, he had the mail stopped.”
Bill Sandell was an adventurous, larger than life, father. An ex-Green Beret, war hero, with a law degree and a P.H.D. He was both revered and feared by his children, especially Laurie, his oldest child. When Laurie was in her early twenties, she applied for her first credit card and was declined because of a bad credit record. It turns out several cards were already issued in her name and all of them were maxed out and unpaid. She follows the trail to her father and everything she ever knew about her beloved padre begins to unravel. Lies upon lies are revealed. Is her father just a fraud, an imposter, living the “big con”? This illustrated memoir, told by Laurie is a joy. The writing is smart and the drawings are perfect. I much preferred this one over Are You My Mother, which I read a few months ago. I hope to spread the word on this one. Seek it out!...more