Because of an autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, Susannah Cahalan, a writer for the NY Post, spent a month in the hospital...moreBecause of an autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, Susannah Cahalan, a writer for the NY Post, spent a month in the hospital without memories, going through periods of psychosis, without any diagnosis in sight. One doctor who happened to have an inkling of an idea was able to turn her around, finally diagnosing her with Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis.
"... A reminder of how fragile our hold on sanity and health is and how much we are at the utter whim of our Brutus bodies, which will inevitably, one day, turn on us for good. I am a prisoner, as we all are."
The story is told from memories, unremembered journal entries, eerie hospital treatment videos that she has no memory of, family journals, and medical records. The author will likely never regain the memories of that time. An interesting anecdote is that they think this may be the disease often passed off as demonic possession.
A little anecdote that connects this book to a book I read last year - as part of her recovery, Susannah read Infinite Jest painstakingly slowly to help rebuild her vocabulary, stopping after each word she didn't recognize to write it down, look it up, and try to commit it to memory. (less)
When Lady Mary Wotley Montagu's husband was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court of Turkey in 1716, she traveled with him (and a considerab...moreWhen Lady Mary Wotley Montagu's husband was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court of Turkey in 1716, she traveled with him (and a considerable entourage) to Turkey, writing letters along the way and once she had arrived. I picked this up because of its connection to Turkey in my year of reading Turkey, not realizing how connected of a lady Mary truly was, or how important this published work is in the world of female travel literature. I'm not sure I'm the expert on that topic, so I'll just talk about what I think.
First of all, I was definitely impressed by how one woman's station could get her in the door of almost anywhere. Having lunch and playing games with the empress in Vienna, no big deal. Dinner with the sultana, twice! Princes! Kings! Letters to royalty and famous people all over, people who would write back. Pretty amazing. I had to keep reminding myself she was a real person.
Because Lady Mary (Mary Hanim in Turkish) writes letters to multiple people, I enjoyed seeing how her tone and focus would change based on who the letters were being sent to. To Alexander Pope, she is careful to be very intellectual, focusing on literary discoveries of Turkey. At the same time, her tone reveals their close relationship through a certain amount of antagonism. To her sister she is possibly most honest about the Turkish value on child-bearing. To the other women of a similar station, she might focus on fashion and art but also in correcting their inaccurate assumptions. To her husband, she is formal and passive aggressive at the same time (he spent most of their 13 Turkish months in military camps, and not at home with her.)
I loved this little comment about aging as a woman to Lady Rich (nothing to do with Turkey): "A woman till five and thirty is only looked upon as a raw girl, and can possibly make no noise in the world till about forty. I don't know what your ladyship may think of this matter, but 'tis a considerable comfort to me to know there is upon earth such a paradise for old women, and I am content to be insignificant at present, in the design of returning when I am fit to appear no where else." (Did I mention I am 35? Merely a raw girl.)
To Lady Mar, her sister: "...Knowing too much is very apt to make us troublesome to other people."
To the Abbe Conti, just one of many places defending the negative image the Turks had in English society: "These people are not so unpolished as we represent them..."
Upon leaving Constantinople: "There is no perfect enjoyment of this life out of Old England. I pray God I may think so for the rest of my life, and since I must be contented with our scanty allowance of daylight, that I may forget the enlivening sun of Constantinople."
If I have any criticism of Lady Mary, other than the obvious about her racism that I could argue is probably pretty embedded in 1716 England, it's how she only really interacted with the wealthiest, most important people in Turkish society. She was surrounded and protected, and while deriding the contemporary travel literature for its lies, she didn't exactly have an everyday experience.
On the other hand, she was a bit of a polyglot, and within 13 months was able to have full mealtime conversations in Turkish. Pretty impressive, and this got her closer into Turkish society than most British women would be able to do, particularly at the time! (less)
Ann Mah ended up in Paris when her husband was placed there in a diplomatic role. During that time, he was sent to Baghdad on a year-long assignment,...moreAnn Mah ended up in Paris when her husband was placed there in a diplomatic role. During that time, he was sent to Baghdad on a year-long assignment, leaving her in Paris by herself. I wish that had been more of a back story than central to this book, because her complaints almost ruined this book for me. Mah is an aspiring publisher and journalist, and she writes extensively about missing her husband? I couldn't decide if she was including it to try to make her more human, more approachable, but I really didn't want to read about it.
I did want to read about the food.
The food parts of the book were very well researched, fascinating, and she clearly has a talent for combining in-person experience with historical research. She made me want to be in Brittany for crêpes and attempting soupe au pistou amongst the grimaces of the older French women at the market. I would have traded the sections about talking to her husband in Skype for a nice chapter on croissants or breads, which only get mentioned in the context of her husband chomping into one.
Call me a purist. One of the best books I've read lately about French food is The Whole Fromage: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese, a book where devoid of personal story, I was able as a reader to delve deeper into the topic of interest. That's my preference! I know some people really enjoy the Elizabeth Gilbert flavor of travel writing, and this would be a good book for people who really liked Eat, Pray, Love.
I listened to the audio, read by Mozhan Marno. Mozhan does a great job pronouncing the French in the book (which there is a lot of, and sometimes not translated, the reader being left to read between the lines). She also does a decent French-accent-in-English to distinguish between Mah and the people she encounters. It brought the book to life.
I received a copy of this from Random House Audio in exchange for an honest review.(less)
This autobiography, which actually appears to be written by Sting himself, tells the story from his childhood up to when The Police had just started t...moreThis autobiography, which actually appears to be written by Sting himself, tells the story from his childhood up to when The Police had just started to see success. There were some surprising details and amazing connections, and it is nice to see how long and hard the struggle can be, even for someone who grew into a well-crafted songwriter and superstar.
My favorite bits came from his actual journal, and I would like to read more of that, from the immediate days of reflection rather than looking back. (less)
I read this at the right stage of my interest in Turkey, otherwise I think I would have rated it lower. It isn't very well-written and there isn't a l...moreI read this at the right stage of my interest in Turkey, otherwise I think I would have rated it lower. It isn't very well-written and there isn't a lot of depth in Kevin's observations, but I liked the overview of his experience teaching English in Ankara and the first-encounter descriptions of some of the tourist highlights. The most connected and honest he seems is the chapter about getting sick in Syria!
I was shocked, SHOCKED, that someone going to another country to teach English wouldn't first make an attempt at learning some of the language of the students he would be teaching. He had to learn how to say simple phrases like memnum oldum ("pleased to meet you") that he could have at least tried to learn on the plane trip over, on Turkish airlines, with people who spoke Turkish... oversights and idiocies like this unfortunately tarnish the entire experience. He just doesn't seem very smart!
I marked a few things to look up:
Tarkan, a Turkish pop singer Geçmiş olsun - "May it pass" deniz yok - no sea (when you live too far inland)
I had to smile at the inclusion of nazar boncuğu, one of the first vocab words I learned in Turkish. They are the blue evil eye beads so popular in the area. (less)
Ever since I read the starred review of Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking in the 24 June issue of Publishers Weekly, I knew I had to get my hands on...moreEver since I read the starred review of Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking in the 24 June issue of Publishers Weekly, I knew I had to get my hands on this book! I was lucky to come across it in NetGalley, which gave me a copy for review.
"Inevitably, a story about Soviet food is a chronicle of longing, of unrequited desire."
Anya Von Bremzen was born in the USSR and later emigrated to the United States with her mother. Her James Beard award winning cookbook, Please To The Table: The Russian Cookbook, was published in 1990, so her knowledge of the food of Russia is not to be disputed. Instead of the regional focus that her cookbook had, this memoir is divided into decades of Soviet Russia. Each chapter takes a decade and discusses the historical events, the food, and how each impacted her personal story - her family, her ancestors, her memories - from 1910s into the twenty-first century.
When I got to the end of the chapter on the Czars and there were no recipes, I panicked. Surely I couldn't move on from this book without a chance to make Kulebiaka! She quotes Chekhov's description of the dish from "The Siren" and then goes on to talk about the significance of the dish in her own family. I wanted to try it immediately! Thankfully, Part V of the book features recipes from each chapter, removed to the end for the sake of a continual narrative.
Even the decades of Communism-driven scarcity create a sort of nostalgia for Soviet sausages and dense bread that I was surprised to be feeling along with her. The comparison she makes between those foods and the only food they could afford right after entering the country - hot dogs and Wonderbread - I had to wonder if they really are so different?
From reading how Lenin had a fondness for apple cake to the puzzling "luxury" of Salat Olivier, I enjoyed reading about the very Russian foods and stories. Highly recommended!
Here is a bit that made me giggle - a poster from the 1920s when housewives were being encouraged to stop cooking for their families, and families were being forced to live communally. The translation is "Down with Kitchen Slavery!" (less)
One of the best known Turkish authors has to be Orhan Pamuk. I've only managed to read one book of his so far, but there are many more on my to-read list to get to. I actually think reading this autobiography/memoir first will add some understanding to any of his books that I read in the future. It covers his childhood in Istanbul, up through his college years and the moment he decides to become a writer.
While this book came out in print in 2003, this audio edition was newly released by Random House in April. I had downloaded it but was listening to another book.
Then this happened:
I was already deeply interested in Turkey, even to the point of learning some of the language and the cuisine, but following the protests and police action in Twitter made me more interested in Istanbul.
Of course, the Istanbul of this book is several decades ago, but you can see traces of a history that breeds an environment where clashes between groups are not exactly unexpected, where poverty and control have always been issues in the background. Pamuk suggests that the most beautiful view of the city is from afar. I'm not sure he really means it, because he continues to return to this concept of hüzün, or melancholy, that he claims is part of the daily lived aesthetic in the life of an Istanbullu. That those living in the city want to feel hüzün, and don't feel as alive without it.
I know Pamuk has been criticized both by the government for not being religious enough and by the public for not being critical of the government enough, but this book makes it clear that he isn't all that interested in making a statement with his writing; he wants to describe. It makes so much sense now, to see his journey from painter to writer, to understand how this plays out in his writing. His descriptions of the black and white landscape of winter is central to Snow, the one book I've read.
I've had dreams about the Bosphorus, a strait in Istanbul separating Asia from Europe. Even though I've never been there and don't have reason to dream of it, I can see why you would. His descriptions of living within view of the river, of the fires and the commerce, made me long for this place I've never experienced.
The reader for the audiobook is John Lee, whose voice is very familiar to me as the reader for Ulysses. He does a good job with the pronunciation of Turkish names, but I kept expecting him to jump into "Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa!" You know you listen to a lot of audiobooks when....
This is one of the volumes I had hoarded for National Poetry Month. Alice Walker is better known as the author of The Color Purple, but she has writte...moreThis is one of the volumes I had hoarded for National Poetry Month. Alice Walker is better known as the author of The Color Purple, but she has written quite a few poems. These span from 1965 and are highly biographical, from her trip to Kenya to her work in voter registration in Mississippi, through relationship ups and downs, up through having children. I had first skimmed through them when I was helping a friend find a poem for his mother's funeral, but getting to have a more careful reading was an even better experience.
Here is a little bit from another one I liked, Rage. "The silence between your words rams into me like a sword."
And this tiny part of Listen: "Every time you say you love me I look for shelter."
I really liked segment vii from Exercises from Themes on Life: "I like to see you try to worm yourself away from me first you plead your age as if my young heart felt any of the tiredness in your bones . . . "
This poem I'll include in its entirety (sensing a theme, hmm Alice?):
They say you are not for me, and I try, in my resolved but barely turning brain, to know "they" do not matter, these relics of past disasters in march against the rebellion of our time.
They will fail; as all the others have: for our fate will not be this: to smile and salute the pain, to limp behind their steel boot of happiness, grieving for forbidden things.(less)
Edward Lee was one of the contestants in season 9 of Top Chef, and I rooted for him to win in that season because of his interesting flavor profile an...moreEdward Lee was one of the contestants in season 9 of Top Chef, and I rooted for him to win in that season because of his interesting flavor profile and commitment to farm-to-table cuisine.
This part-cookbook, part-memoir is just what you'd hope for from him. Korean and southern sayings are sprinkled into his own story, and recipes that combine ingredients in creative ways. (He refuses to call it fusion, and has an interesting argument for why "fusion" might be a racist term.... he just uses what he likes.) His passion for pickling and curing even includes him encouraging the reader to "buy a second fridge" for the best curing setup. Ha! He clearly believes in doing things well, with incredible respect for ingredients, and it comes through in every recipe.
There are not a lot of recipes I'll be able to try, because his cuisine is very meat-centric and I don't eat any. That isn't his fault though, and it is very central to the area of Kentucky where he lives and cooks. I marked a few interesting condiments and cocktails that will be great fun to make. I'd recommend this for any adventurous eater. I think it comes out in May 2013, and I was lucky enough to get a copy from NetGalley.(less)
This was a great book that I couldn't put down, as much as you can say a book about a destroyed city is great. What makes it great is the journalist-a...moreThis was a great book that I couldn't put down, as much as you can say a book about a destroyed city is great. What makes it great is the journalist-author Charlie LeDuff, who is from Detroit and has lost several family members to terrible situations there. This makes it different from a detached, paid-to-experience book that most journalists will write, forgotten the minute they are published. This is partly about the city of Detroit, and partly about Charlie's own life and background. The mix is great, his writing is great, kind of a combination of old newspaperman and gumshoe detective in tone, with short clipped sentences and metaphors that actually work. In anyone else's hands I'd probably be rolling my eyes, but not here.
On Michigan's place in things: "Michigan may geographically be one of America's most northern states, but spiritually, it is one of its most southern."
On dealing with complaints that he never writes about the arts: "But [the arts and good people, etc.] are not supposed to be news. These things are supposed to be normal. And when normal things become the news, the abnormal becomes the norm... What galleries and museums have to do with a dead man is beyond me. Writing about shit like that in the city we were living in seemed equal to writing about the surf conditions while reporting in the Gaza Strip."
On a dead body just being left abandoned: "The way that members of a society die is a reflection of the way society lives.... So when you walk away from a dead human being, what does that tell you about the state of things?" -Dr. Carl Schmidt, a medical examiner he interviewed for "Frozen in Indifference: Life goes on around body found in vacant warehouse", an article he wrote for the Detroit News in 2009.
Here are a few examples of that writing style:
"He was smoking like wet wool."
"This was like living in Pompeii, except the people weren't covered in ash. We were alive."
"I looked up over the grave and surveyed the heaving sobs of my nieces and the strained faces of my brothers.... Somehow, the city of promise had become a scrap yard of dreams...."
"I stood under the granite cornices of the fire headquarters where a covey of pigeons was huddled against the rain. I roasted up a Winston and thought about things."(less)
This isn't a chef memoir, let me just say that right off the bat. Eddie Huang is so much more than a food person. This is the story of how a child bor...moreThis isn't a chef memoir, let me just say that right off the bat. Eddie Huang is so much more than a food person. This is the story of how a child born to Taiwanese immigrants makes a life for himself. It is a coming of age story more than anything else. Eddie is only 30, and has seen one restaurant fail and one be an immediate hit. He has worked as a furniture salesman, a drug dealer, a lawyer, and a stand-up comic.
I enjoyed the story, especially read by the author himself. I didn't always identify with him, and would be completely intimidated by him, but I still think I'd probably enjoy his food. Who wouldn't be intrigued by a man who values stinky tofu?
He does talk about food throughout the book, it just isn't a central theme the way you might expect. One sentence stuck in my head, where he describes good food as having "detail, attention, and restraint." In some ways it is ironic, because he believes in that style for his food, but not for his life; never for his life.
You can get a sense of his writing style in this Salon.com article about his Dad, and a sense of how he is viewed by others in this Time Magazine article. You can follow his internal dialogue in Twitter, or watch his show on Vice, also called Fresh Off the Boat. I'm recommending all these things because you won't be able to read the book until the end of January. But keep your eye on Eddie. Considering what he has accomplished so far, I'm not sure he'll decide just to stay a restauranteur his whole life.
ETA: You should watch this video of Eddie in Taiwan... I linked it at 3:00 where it starts talking about food, but you can watch the whole thing to watch him take uniquely Taiwanese drugs. :)(less)
How could I have never reviewed this book? I read this at a key turning point in my life, and was one of those books that changed everything for me. I...moreHow could I have never reviewed this book? I read this at a key turning point in my life, and was one of those books that changed everything for me. I was 22. I had gotten married and gone directly to graduate school right after graduating with a BA in music, with a full ride and graduate assistantship in the School of Folklore at Indiana University. It wasn't a good fit for me. By the time I enrolled in the fieldwork class, I knew I was probably on my way out, and got permission to do my fieldwork assignments in restaurant kitchens. The culinary-school trained cooks in the restaurant commanded me to read this book when I was still just observing and volunteering (I later worked there until I moved away), and it solidified my love for an industry that I was already excited by because of my experiences.
Anthony Bourdain may seem a bit extreme, but his tales of what really goes on in restaurants and among cooks is not that far off from my own experiences. Ask me to tell you about the time I slammed the head waiter's head in the fridge door, or ask for a kitchen-scar tour of my body. Once you are immersed in that world, it changes you. I loved it. I loved the rush, the thrill, the creativity, the challenge. I feel like Bourdain's memories are my memories. I may love him as a TV personality and a guest actor in my dreams, but this is where I love him the most. (less)
I didn't exactly plan to listen to this, but it was in a review box and it was short. I was expecting to scoff at it, but can you really dislike Dolly...moreI didn't exactly plan to listen to this, but it was in a review box and it was short. I was expecting to scoff at it, but can you really dislike Dolly Parton? The thing is, despite her self-proclaimed cartoonish presence, the woman has built an empire out of nothing. She works hard, she gets people, and that's pretty commendable even if you aren't a country music fan.
I think the best bits were about how to block draining people from your life, and why you shouldn't apologize for having lofty goals. Many of the tracks end with her bursting into song. She is infectious, and the audio version has to be better than the print because it comes out of her mouth!(less)
I have a confession to make: I have never seen the movie The Prince of Tides. I have also not read a single book by Pat Conroy, a southern author who...moreI have a confession to make: I have never seen the movie The Prince of Tides. I have also not read a single book by Pat Conroy, a southern author who is prevalent in every book store I walk into in my three-state radius.
That is going to change now. After reading his love letter to books, and to the people who led him to those books, I want to see how his reading has been the breeding ground for the books he has produced.
Unfortunately, the book does not have an index of books he discusses, and I'm probably going to work on one, because after you read how they impacted him, you're going to want to read them too. I found a list of "influential writers" on his official website, but I can pretty much guarantee he didn't make the list. You see, it is clear in My Reading Life that he had a horrific encounter with Alice Walker, but one of her books is listed, while James Dickey is not. An entire chapter is devoted to the influence of Dickey on Conroy, and he claims he reads him every damn day. So in protest of that incomplete list, stay tuned.
I'm not usually a fan of flowery, sentimental writing, which Conroy himself admits is his biggest flaw (but one he can't or won't kick). I despise it in descriptions of relationships or nature, but for some reason, on the topic of books and reading, I just can't get enough. I sat and read this book on a single Sunday afternoon, with two cups of coffee. I have slips of paper marking a lot of different bits that I will include in my blog post because they are too long to go here. Suffice to say this book connected with me deeply.(less)
I saw President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speak at the institution where I work a few years ago, and found her story to be incredibly inspiring. I was hop...moreI saw President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speak at the institution where I work a few years ago, and found her story to be incredibly inspiring. I was hoping the book would be more of the same. While inspiration can be found here, it is often bogged down with tedious economic detail (Sirleaf was in banking and economics) and acronyms like you would not believe.
I definitely learned some things, and I think that kept it at 3 stars for me. I don't think I was aware of anything going on in Liberia, ever. Blame my lack of knowledge of the world, blame the lack of American media's focus, but a lot happened that I knew nothing about. Most of the violence is recent and around the same time as Rwanda, but I knew nothing. I also didn't know anything about how Liberia was founded, and was very surprised to find out the connection between the United States and Liberia's original colonies. These connections still have some impact today.
Sirleaf herself was greatly influenced by the United States. This is where she was educated, and she says she learned more about her country from the Harvard library than she'd ever learned while growing up. She was even in the states when JFK was assassinated.
Little factoid and case in point: "Robert E. Lee, the American Confederate Civil War general, freed most of his slaves before the war and offered to pay their expenses to Liberia."
From the unification of Liberia: "We are all of us Liberians."
There is some great fodder here about leadership, and that seemed to be what I honed in on.
From Sirleaf's own wisdom: "So often it is the small decisions in life that end up shaping our future the most."
"I looked around and saw the lives of so many Liberian women, all of these incredibly hardworking market women and housewives and mothers, and what I saw was that their lives were drudgery, a simple trudging from day to day to day. I did not want that; that was not the life for me."
"We always felt that if anything really terrible began to happen, if ever things went seriously awry, America would come to our aid. America was our great father, our patron saint. It would never let us suffer. That's what so many of us in Liberia thought. But then we found out that everyone has to stand on his own."
"People - usually women - sometimes ask me if, during my long climb up the career ladder, I ever bumped into any glass ceilings or encountered resistance to my taking a seat at the table because I am a woman and African. My answer is that I am sure there have been those who suspected me of being a token or who resented my having the positions I had. But I was usually too busy to worry about them."
"In this global age individuals are sometimes tempted to believe they have no power, not even collectively. This is not true. The public can make a difference if it is willing to take a position and stand up for a cause in which it believes. Against a united and committed public, even the harshest of governments cannot stand."
"This is the way of the world, of human nature, and if you want to lead, you have to accept that there will be conscious attempts to push you into oblivion. You have to be prepared to be very lonely sometimes."
"Progress may be slowed by oppression, but it will not be stopped."
"Men have failed us,' people said over and over again. 'Men are too violent, too prone to make war. Women are less corrupt, less likely to be focused on getting fancy cars and fancy home for themselves."
"Civilized nations must not be indifferent to any conflict - internal or external - regardless of the factors that fuel it."(less)
Wangari Maathai has an interesting story of growing from a Kikuyu child to a Nobel Peace Prize winner. I grew up surrounded by stories of the Swahili...moreWangari Maathai has an interesting story of growing from a Kikuyu child to a Nobel Peace Prize winner. I grew up surrounded by stories of the Swahili and Turkana peoples of Kenya because of friends we had living there, but I didn't know much about the Kikuyu or the forests. I learned a lot about the socio-political history of Kenya, how to work toward change (be "patient and committed," she would say), and how much one person can accomplish. I also feel like I saw education from a different perspective.
The rest, I'd rather Wangari Maathai said in her own words, so here are the places I marked:
"These experiences of childhood are what mold us and make us who we are. How you translate the life you see, feel, smell, and touch as you grow up - the water you drink, the air you breathe, and the food you eat - are what you become. When what you remember disappears, you miss it and search for it, and so it was with me. When I was a child, my surroundings were alive, dynamic, and inspiring. Even though I was entering a world where there were books to read and facts to learn - the cultivation of the mind - I was still able to enjoy a world where there were no books to read, where children were told living stories about the world around them, and where you cultivated the soil and the imagination in equal measure."
"A general orientation toward trusting people and a positive attitude toward life and fellow human beings is healthy - not only for one's peace of mind but also to bring about change."
"Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from the land, but instill in them even more respect for it, because educated people are in a position to understand what is being lost."
"When we go through profound experiences, they change us. We risk our relationship with friends and family. They may not like the direction we have taken or may feel threatened or judged by our decisions. They may wonder what happened to the person they thought they once knew. There may not be enough space in a relationship for aspirations and beliefs or mutual interests and aims to unfold. For a couple, this is particularly so because most people marry young and are bound to grow and change in their perceptions and appreciation of life."
"Humanity needs to rethink peace and security and work toward cultures of peace by governing itself more democratically, respecting the rule of law and human rights, deliberately and consciously promoting justice and equity, and managing resources more responsibly and accountably - not only for the present but also for the future generations. (less)
I don't think I would have finished this, were it not for how quick of a read it is. It is unfortunate, because I really enjoyed Mennonite in a Little...moreI don't think I would have finished this, were it not for how quick of a read it is. It is unfortunate, because I really enjoyed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, but there is an important difference between that book and this one. In Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen was laughing - at her upbringing, at her family, at herself. Almost like she was laughing because some of it was tragic, and that's just what you do, but still, I laughed too.
In this book, as she chronicles her journey toward becoming a Pentecostal, marrying her opposite, and being diagnosed with cancer, she seems to cease to see the humor in anything. Instead, it reads like a religious testimony, and uncomfortably so. There is even an entire chapter on the "blessing of tithing." No, really. Prepare for sermons. I stared feeling wary about the book about halfway through.
Don't believe the title. This isn't a light or funny read. And she never really explains if her lady problems are solved (and that was the only part I connected to in the entire book!). I feel for her, as it is clear her life has not been easy, but the tone of this is not humorous in the least. (less)