Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking books are the standard (well my standard) that all other cooking essay books are measured against. This one is pretty goo...moreLaurie Colwin's Home Cooking books are the standard (well my standard) that all other cooking essay books are measured against. This one is pretty good - the recipes are intriguing (I've already earmarked several to try). The best essays involved the author's memories of and stories about her father. The Chapter titled "The Mottling" had me weeping. When the author gets to planning her wedding, I found myself skipping pages ... reading about someone else's wedding is like hearing in great detail about someone's dream ... eh, not so much. The writing is fresh and lively. I look forward to reading more from this author (thankfully she has a blog! Yay!).(less)
The fact is, affairs and marriage break ups occur every day (thus the title "happens every day"). So, why the book? To get back at her husband of cour...moreThe fact is, affairs and marriage break ups occur every day (thus the title "happens every day"). So, why the book? To get back at her husband of course! The book was self-indulgent and I couldn't get past the "I only care about what happens to my children" sentiments; here's a clue: if you care about your children (who are still very small) you don't write a book about your divorce with their father that someday they will be able to read. You just don't do it.
The author had horrible biases about people in the midwest ... she was kind of a snob. Her writing was nothing special; I suspect she has a contact in publishing.
If anything good comes from this, I hope the writer experienced some kind of catharsis.
Terrible read. So glad I got it at the library and didn't spend any of my own money on this.
Very sad book involving emotional abuse by the author's father. I admit to skipping several pages as the book seemed to be a rote recitation of simila...moreVery sad book involving emotional abuse by the author's father. I admit to skipping several pages as the book seemed to be a rote recitation of similar events - reading it made one tired and sad - I can't imagine living it. While this kind of abuse perhaps can't be explained or rationalized, the reader would've benefited from some insight into the author's parent's relationship prior to the arrival of their children.(less)
A glimpse inside the horrifying/fascinating world of the child of a hoarder, but weakly written and while the author has clearly suffered from her mot...moreA glimpse inside the horrifying/fascinating world of the child of a hoarder, but weakly written and while the author has clearly suffered from her mother's hoarding, the tone was often whiny. (less)
Memoirs are always fascinating because they give us a glimpse of someone's LIFE, so on that point, this book delivers, however, there is so much physi...moreMemoirs are always fascinating because they give us a glimpse of someone's LIFE, so on that point, this book delivers, however, there is so much physical violence, and it's so so sad in a hopeless kind of way, even though eventually Mr. Dubus finds his way in spectacular fashion (movies made of his books, for example). The fiction I've read by Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog and another one whose title escapes me) is also violent and drags you down. I just know if I'm going to read something by this author, it will be good, but also very heavy.(less)
I came to this book through a general knowledge of Flannery O'Connor and attempts over the years to read her fiction. Reading someone's letters is lik...moreI came to this book through a general knowledge of Flannery O'Connor and attempts over the years to read her fiction. Reading someone's letters is like receiving an invitation into their entire world, especially geography/setting, their relationships (the other correspondents end up being as central as the writer), and the daily details of one's life (which I always find to be the most interesting part of the correspondence).
Flannery O'Connor suffered from lupus and was mostly confined to live her life with her mother on their Georgia farm. She talks about her illness here and there, never really complains or whines about it, and even says at one point that her literary success is possible because of her situation.
She corresponded with (and entertained at her farm) many famous literary figures of the time and even snarked at a few (she is not fond of Carson McCullers for example), and she writes often of her affinity for her flock of peacocks, ducks, and geese which she tended with great fondness. She is delightfully quotable.
The funny thing about reading these letters is I appreciate Flannery O'Connor as a writer/artist while not really enjoying her stories. I've tried many times to read her fiction and have only managed to read A Good Man is Hard to Find more than once and every time it's startling, shocking even. I know the stories mean more than just gratuitous violence, and involve layers of her faith, but I have a hard time with it. (less)
**spoiler alert** Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh, was a prolific letter and diary writer, novelist, poet, and non-fiction au...more**spoiler alert** Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh, was a prolific letter and diary writer, novelist, poet, and non-fiction author. I read her book Gift of the Sea many years ago, and while I couldn't relate to everything she wrote about in that work, the writing was good and insightful, so when I saw this at the library I decided to give it a go.
I wish I had not read the preface before reading the letters/diary entries. Lindbergh's daughter, author Reeve Lindbergh, writes in the preface about the discovery that Charles Lindbergh had fathered several children with women overseas that nobody knew about until after Anne died. Knowing this, then reading Anne's writing about C. Lindbergh's frequent extended and open-ended absences was heartbreaking. Anne was certainly independent, definitely craved and sought solitude (which is a theme in Gift of the Sea), forged her own life separate from C. Lindbergh's and did so admirably, but as a reader, knowing this information that Anne did not, haunted all of the pages. I'm glad she didn't know.
I love reading letters and diaries - it's a fascinating way to witness a life and you get to know all of the players in that persons's life too. It's like witnessing an entire universe. And Anne's work here is very good. (Although I have to say her tendency to write in a very formal way using "one" as in "one must know one's mind and what one ..." that sort of thing, was very annoying. Just use an "I" Anne, I wanted to scream, though of course, I know she comes from an era and sensibility where "I" was probably frowned upon.
I marked many passages to reread - she is very insightful when writing about solitude and her own work (writing), and growing older. I marked so many passages it may be worthwhile to buy a copy to mark up! And I certainly will seek out other volumes of her letters/diaries.(less)
I had to stop in the middle of reading it and decide if I wanted to continue. After a couple of days, I returned...moreI have no idea how to rate this read.
I had to stop in the middle of reading it and decide if I wanted to continue. After a couple of days, I returned to it because it was beautifully written and real and because this woman clearly needed to write this (the first person she thanks in the acknowledgements is her therapist).
This is a very very sad story. But not a "story", because it is true. It really happened to someone. In our culture of oversharing, the one area where we draw the line is grief. We talk about people overcoming grief, but not really much about being in the midst of grieving. The nitty gritty, raw detail of that. We like concepts like "closure" and "moving forward". We don't like to know that 9 years after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, people are still haunted by what happened (and let's face it, after a wave washes away your husband, your two sons, and your parents, you're *always* going to be haunted by what happened. Forever).
So this is very sad, heartbreaking reading - not entertaining, not relaxing - but it is true and it is human.
Laugh out loud funny, just like some of the characters Garr plays on the big screen. Most of the book is typical Hollywood autobiographical fare, with...moreLaugh out loud funny, just like some of the characters Garr plays on the big screen. Most of the book is typical Hollywood autobiographical fare, with the exception of Garr's challenges with MS (including the twenty years she spent trying to find a diagnosis for her symptoms). An easy read that left me with a bad taste in my mouth for the way Hollywood treats people with illness/disability. It was unsettling to learn that people like Garr often have to actively hide their symptoms for fear of not getting work (many of Garr's symptoms led people to believe she was drunk and when her illness was disclosed as MS - publicly "outed" by an associate - she had to fight to prove her illness wouldn't interfere with the making of movies). (less)