i read this before i read Lovely Bones, in part because i wanted to see how she dealt with her own history, in part because well, i'm a sucker for me...morei read this before i read Lovely Bones, in part because i wanted to see how she dealt with her own history, in part because well, i'm a sucker for memoirs. i classify this as a crazypeoplememoir not lightly - my definition of "crazy" is a little loose.
alice sebold was raped by someone she didn't know as an undergraduate at syracuse university.
what i love about this book is that sebold doesn't fall into the normal tradition of "victim" memoirs. she doesn't blame other people - even her attacker. she accepts that this horrible thing happened to her, and then she tells her story of how she pulled herself out of the hole, how she fought against being a victim, how she fought with herself.
she is no elizabeth wurtzel, and i love her for that. she doesn't take too much blame, and she doesn't push it off on others - it's the story of someone who has adjusted, who has had something horrible happened to them and come out on top. she didn't write this for pity, she wrote this because it was her story. and i fully respect her for that. (less)
i don't think i could have read this when it first came out, even if it was three years after 9/11. there is something about Art Spiegelman's work th...morei don't think i could have read this when it first came out, even if it was three years after 9/11. there is something about Art Spiegelman's work that is profoundly affecting, in ways that i can relate to.
he lives in lower manhattan, and witnessed the attacks first hand. his black-on-black work ran as the cover of the new yorker days after the attacks. he talks about his struggle to understand the crisis, to understand and have faith in his country - especially when the decision to go to war happens (the "irakind" is one of my favorite panels - it's a bug with saddam hussein's head).
he is not afraid of showing his cynicism and his fear, and i very much appreciate that. i see so much of my own story in these giant pages, and then at the end, he reflect on the history of comix. i hid in movie theaters, he hid behind old cartoons. and what's amazing is how many of the comix at the turn of the century are relevant today - and also, how sept. 11, 1901 was a pretty terrible year for the world also (mckinley shot and not getting better, the pope still recovering from being shot, emma goldman arrested) and the fact that we still move on.
but what i think was most moving was when he said he finally understood why so many jews didn't flee germany after kristallnacht. a place becomes your home in ways you don't fully understand, and new york will always be something to me that i can't fully describe or pin-point, even if i leave. it's become part of me, like the memories of the falling towers and the bright blue sky and the panic and the smell. and i really, really appreciate the fact that this strange book will stand as a reminder for me; that in fact, i was so not alone in my slow failure to return to normal.
and the art - the art is incredible. reminiscent of Maus in parts, other times he borrows other comix characters. it's just stunning as a historical piece, as a memory piece, as a work of art, as a testament to our city, and as a statement about america and politics and the people that make up our country. (less)
i found myself laughing aloud at parts in the beginning, mostly because i could see my sister totally agreeing with everything she wrote. in fact, i read parts it aloud to her on the subway, and she totally agreed.
what i loved about the book was that she was clear that her thinking was twisted. she does seem to place blame on her parents at some points, but more than most books i read on this topic, she takes personal responsibility for the way weight became an obsession with her, and her issues with self-control and self-esteem. i have it listed under "eating disorders", because a) i know that later she does become bulimic, but also because b) i think that she qualifies for binge-eating disorder, or ED NOS at most. i don't want to pathologize all people who are obese with a psychiatric diagnosis, but i do think that klein qualifies because her eating is so clearly tied to her emotions, and that she does have an issue with numbers that still affect her daily life.
it could be very sad, but the humor she uses makes you not pity her, or laugh at her, but empathize with her, and yearn for her to be happy. it's really excellent, and gave me a lot of insight into how different people relate to food, body image, and how we have effects on children that we don't even realize. (this is where i say i like people like jean kilbourne and organizations like "about face".)
i highly recommend it. i think my sister would REALLY love the book, because she could relate to the passages about loving food, and the tastes, and the way you dream about foods. i have a terrible palate, so i really can't relate. but. i wished i could enjoy food that way. (less)
a little discomforting at times, the amount of self-hatred for the author's body unnerved me a little. i desperately wanted a happy ending for her. it...morea little discomforting at times, the amount of self-hatred for the author's body unnerved me a little. i desperately wanted a happy ending for her. it was strangely difficult for me to read, perhaps because of the sheer honesty factor, and i couldn't really find a purpose to it. (less)
apparently people have criticized the author for being "ungrateful" for her heart transplant - i would argue that they did...morevery smart, very real book.
apparently people have criticized the author for being "ungrateful" for her heart transplant - i would argue that they did not read the same book i did, because she grapples with the fact that she herself thinks she is ungrateful, and what that means.
this addresses all the real questions of life and death and hope and despair, and what to do when you've hit the end of your rope and you've already added all you can to it. it's a little bleak, it's not exactly uplifting, but it is REAL. i would recommend this to anyone who wants to know what it's like being defined by an illness - whether by heart transplant, a mental illness, or something like chronic fatigue. while amy's life is certainly in the extreme end of the "bad luck" scale, most of what she says holds true to so many people i know.
especially the duality between how you feel and how you present yourself - amy's story of her wedding day will resonate with me for a long time. because it's true, you set out wanting to fool people but at the same time you want them to understand - but of course they can't, because you haven't told them anything except how fine you are. (less)
interesting story of a woman who is known to the world as "the central park jogger" and her decision to become something more, to reclaim her identity...moreinteresting story of a woman who is known to the world as "the central park jogger" and her decision to become something more, to reclaim her identity as a person other than the moniker.
there is no doubt that trisha is an extremely dedicated and hard-working soul. her persevering strength gave her the courage and resources needed to survive such an attack.
but nothing really struck me as memorable, except, that when she said near the end that there was someone she respected that she got the courage to contact, i was positive she was going to reveal that it was jon kabot-zinn, and i was right. i kind of wish she had gone more into depth about that, how her trauma allowed her to live her life in the present fully, mindfully, but this is clearly a healing book, and i hope that it served that purpose. (less)
a very quick read, and i hear that it's more powerful for families that have children with developmental disorders because you're like, "yes! yes! tha...morea very quick read, and i hear that it's more powerful for families that have children with developmental disorders because you're like, "yes! yes! that happened to me too!"
i found a lot of it kind of suspect though (the diet, the yeast, the vaccines) - but there is evidence that it does work with some kids.
the two things i think that everyone should take away from this book, whatever your reasons for reading, are: 1) you often have to be your own medical advocate and 2) accepting that a disease/disorder/whatever is present now does not mean that you won't work to make it better - non-acceptance actually hurts more.
and heavens, it makes me want universal mental health care too . . . the rates of disease and the rates of treatment are just depressing. (less)
i really, really enjoyed this book - not so much for the discussion of the LD (because as she repeats, everyone's LD takes a different form) but for t...morei really, really enjoyed this book - not so much for the discussion of the LD (because as she repeats, everyone's LD takes a different form) but for the way she was honest with herself about how she dealt with her daughter's LD - her strengths and her weaknesses. it's pretty remarkable to have such an honest, open, narrator, willing to tell the story as it is. it's also interesting to see the setting in new york, and realize once again how lucky people who live in major urban areas are just for the fact that there are often so many more choices in terms of treatment.
i would like to read the same book from charlotte, and especially annie - more than anything else, this book has made me wonder about siblings of special needs kids - and also the desire of parents with an older special needs kid to have another child. do they want a "normal" kid, and what kind of pressure does that put on the non-special needs kid? all fascinating, all touched on in this book. smartly written, wonderful individual insight, really quite good all around. (less)
the story of a boy who had a teacher, and how they reconnected after 25 years. he ran away to san francisco, she married and grew up, and upon his dea...morethe story of a boy who had a teacher, and how they reconnected after 25 years. he ran away to san francisco, she married and grew up, and upon his death, he gave her the diaries of his past ten years, in order to try and make a book of it, some sense of it.
it made me wonder what i plan to do with all the journals i write and keep, and who will eventually find them.
it's a beautiful meditation on mortality, and the people we become, and the people we are. there's excellent discussion on who we are to different people, how we are remembered, how we become human, how the gaps are filled.
and yet i wanted more - i wanted more of vincent, more of the boy she once taught, more of the reason he sent them to her and how the consumed her. (less)
so the art is simple and perfect for the story. the story, the characters, the setting, the fact that this is a memoir - sometimes i wonder why anyone...moreso the art is simple and perfect for the story. the story, the characters, the setting, the fact that this is a memoir - sometimes i wonder why anyone tries to write a traditional memoir when they could use the graphic novel form.
what i love most about this book is that the art is somewhat true to life - there are no allegorical illustrations of cats and mice, and there's no need to make the story seem more tragic by super depressing illustrations, or somehow more accessible by making it seem somewhat outside of reality.
the writing is superb, and you really get a sense of these people. i love little marji in this story, and i love her feminist mother and her idealistic father and her swearing-like-a-sailor grandmother.
it's a story of coming of age in iran, during the islamic revolution, and it's profoundly political at the same time as being remarkably personal. it's heartbreaking and uplifting, it's everything i ever wanted in a book like this. it makes me want to research the time period more, to be able to put things more into context. there are lines that will stay with me for a long, long time, and there are particular panels that i want to copy before i take it back to the library - after which i'm sure i will break down and buy the four-set for my own library.
it is really remarkable. i can't recommend it enough. love, love, love. (less)
i almost like this installment better than Persepolis, but i know that's because of how amazing the first book was.
this installment finds marji in a...morei almost like this installment better than Persepolis, but i know that's because of how amazing the first book was.
this installment finds marji in austria, where she is shuttled from place to place, getting her french education, while her family and friends remain in tehran.
it's the story of a "third-worlder" in the west, and then an attempt to return home. it's almost more heartbreaking than the first book, because there is so much in here that is familiar while different, and so much that makes you realize how lucky you are. it's brilliantly written, again, and wonderfully illustrated, and it's a traditional coming of age story that is anything but traditional.
it's beautiful, from the snow scenes in vienna to her joy at seeing snow in tehran again. the way she is older, the way she tries to fit in, the disintegration of relationships - the author writes with a wisdom that can only come from years of reflection, and we are all the better for it. her insights into her behaviors and actions are so clear and true, even though they might not reflect greatly on her, are masterful. the story doesn't lag, it goes forward, and forward, and at the end, i desperately wanted the next installment to magically appear in my hands.
it's especially interesting to read this in light of where america stands on iran these days - and makes me think of theodor herzl calling people like me "amiable dreamers" but. books like this give me hope. it's truly a remarkable piece of work, unlike anything i have come across before. (less)
what i appreciate most about this book is that it honestly looks at a family with a difficult case of autism, and doesn't shy away from any of the dif...morewhat i appreciate most about this book is that it honestly looks at a family with a difficult case of autism, and doesn't shy away from any of the difficult things, or any of the easy things. senator takes joy in the small things and gets frustrated with some small things, and all in all you know she's telling the truth.
she doesn't candy-coat any of it - nat is a difficult child and they have to work hard with him. i also appreciate the fact that i can understand now why families with one developmentally disabled child choose to risk all and have more children - and it's not just to "have a 'normal' child" the way some people say. i appreciated the notes of sibling interaction and the way they tried to balance out the family, the way they had to work to keep the marriage together, and how despite everything, there was still hope and joy in the love they all shared for each other.
this was the best, most uncompromising portrait of autism spectrum disorders and their effects on the family unit that i have come across. i really, really appreciated that, and would recommend this over so many other books that might give hope - but make light of how difficult it can be.
(of course, it's not all difficult, and there is joy - and this book has a nice balance.)(less)
i actually thought this book was brilliant, a perfect blend of memoir, history, and art. there is so much that i want to go back and look at, to exami...morei actually thought this book was brilliant, a perfect blend of memoir, history, and art. there is so much that i want to go back and look at, to examine the art work.
this is the story of a boy who grew up behind the iron curtain in prague, and experienced the prague summer of 1968.
it kind of broke my heart in a way because prague got lucky - poor, poor budapest! but. i loved how music was portrayed in the story - through art work - and as the motivation for the cracks in the wall. (it reminded me a lot of the swing movement in nazi germany.)
this book spurred my interest in the other countries behind the wall, and how they all reacted and felt and dealt, and yes, the summer of 1968.
i think it's a brilliant introduction to the time period, to the issues, to the history. and it makes me want to teach graphic novels as a way to tell history in a different way. (less)
it's well written, doesn't skirt around any issue or topic. Kerry Cohen fully acknowledges where she made st...moreso the addiction here is sex. (kind of.)
it's well written, doesn't skirt around any issue or topic. Kerry Cohen fully acknowledges where she made stupid decisions, where she might have made changes but didn't.
however, i thought it was too short for so big a topic - promiscuity is so kind of taboo for women that i wished she had said more. not about her dalliances - there was enough about that. but about what was also wrong with the men she was choosing and why, and more importantly, how she got from where she was to being married with 2 kids. (i really felt like that happened over the course of about ten pages.)
the outline is there - she got the same fulfillment from writing as she did when she was with men. but i can't imagine that she didn't face rejection from the writing world - the picture she paints is one of success after success after success, with tons of things getting published. there HAD to be a rejection in there somewhere. and how did she deal with that, in comparison to how she dealt with men?
i just think it had a lot more potential, and i wish there was more of it, because what there is is very good. it's written excellently, and what seems like very honestly, which i always appreciate in this genre. (less)
humorous, enjoyable, and heart-warming at the same time. everything you ever loved about alan alda, right there for you. it was fascinating to learn a...morehumorous, enjoyable, and heart-warming at the same time. everything you ever loved about alan alda, right there for you. it was fascinating to learn about the history and the environment that shaped this man that then shaped so much of pop culture. it's kind of crazy, and i love it. (less)
oh, alan alda. how i love you. but in this book, i think i loved him even more.
the book basically starts with him asking the question: what is the me...moreoh, alan alda. how i love you. but in this book, i think i loved him even more.
the book basically starts with him asking the question: what is the meaning of life? has my life had any?
then he decides to examine his own words to see if he can find any answers. it's fairly genius - i wish he had been my commencement speaker. his speeches are excellent, his self-deprecation is always appreciated, and he is so honest about everything. it's a fascinating psych study to see what advice people give, and the way things happen, and the way he prioritizes things and the conclusion he reaches.
it's weird because i felt kind of like i was reading a book written by my father. (i love my dad.)
i'll come back with quotes later. it's brilliant. really. so glad i read it. (less)
it was a good look inside the world of gymnastics, and showed both the good and the bad. it's heartbreaking to read about how worried jen was about ge...moreit was a good look inside the world of gymnastics, and showed both the good and the bad. it's heartbreaking to read about how worried jen was about getting older, knowing that the clock was ticking.
jennifer sey was the 1986 national champion.
the way weight and puberty become so ingrained in you - how you actually want to retard your growth because growing in any way changes the way you can move through the air.
it's a good look inside in the world of young gymnastics. the way it sucks up lives, destroys families, etc. and the coaches . . . i really hope that it isn't that way still. but of course you worry about it - the weight pressure, the smallness, and the repeated injuries, the pounding over and over again.
i kind of feel guilty for still enjoying the sport. i mean, it is a sport, and i don't feel bad watching football, but. these are little kids. weight of the world on eight year old shoulders.
i don't even want to know what it's like in china.
good, insightful, and i like the fact that it was actually someone in the world telling her story. it was also fascinating to see how competitiveness can spiral out of control, how you can get tunnel vision so easily, and how even when you're smart and responsible and "grown up" you fall prey to the same things as so many others. (less)
while the content wasn't horrible, i despised the writing style. i didn't like the short chapters with these moral judgments and pull out quotes and a...morewhile the content wasn't horrible, i despised the writing style. i didn't like the short chapters with these moral judgments and pull out quotes and all this stuff.
also, all the jesus stuff made me a little uncomfortable. and even though she claims she isn't using her kids, it still felt a little . . . dirty.
at least it's a fast read? i did like hearing about the early years of her life, but i still remain confused about why this book was somehow related to her sister, sandra. lynne seems to have a pretty big ego herself. (less)
this is the best post-9/11-new york book i've read.
i can't even wrap my head around it, the quietness, the sanctity, the small, brilliant writing. th...morethis is the best post-9/11-new york book i've read.
i can't even wrap my head around it, the quietness, the sanctity, the small, brilliant writing. the carefulness of the characters, the beautiful setting, the honesty of everything.
i'll be back later for a more thorough review, but seriously, pick this book up.
guinan's doesn't exist anymore, and that's really sad, but this book will remember it. for me, i found dive bar, and gwendolyn found guinan's. these things are what we remember and hold true, and what really matters in the end.
oh, if i could give one book to people to considering suicide, this might be it. i would also give it to anyone considering writing a memoir. so. beau...moreoh, if i could give one book to people to considering suicide, this might be it. i would also give it to anyone considering writing a memoir. so. beautiful.
so much of this is brilliant - from the questions of how even to write the book, to the difference between a biographer and a memoirist, to the emotions on every page.
set up as an index, literally, the story can't stay chronological. you know her father died, and how, but then she leads us through the painful agony of surviving a suicide, especially one that left no note (though it's clear a note probably wouldn't have made things much better).
everyone is affected, and it's so hard to see that - that while you think you might be doing people a favor, or that it's simply too hard, or whatever - it's so selfish. i wish i still had the book (got it from the library first, now have it ordered for my personal collection), because there were some quotes that were just dead on. painful and yet so true.
i highly, highly recommend this book that tries to work through death while working through life. astonishing. (less)
i am so happy this book was written. not just for PPD women, but for people dealing with depression in general. it's so true; it's so real to the way...morei am so happy this book was written. not just for PPD women, but for people dealing with depression in general. it's so true; it's so real to the way it feels, and the way it breaks families and relationships apart.
it is a selfish thing, and it is so difficult to understand when you aren't in it. i love the way brooke's perspective changes, how you can see the despair begin and then the climb out, and how meds aren't the end all.
i really felt a kinship with her struggle to decide to go on meds, and the thought that you can get off them just fine, and the importance of the therapist.
if only tom cruise wouldn't spout his shit about it . . . i very much recommend this book for anyone interested in seeing how depression works - and i am so proud of Brooke Shields for actually writing it. it's hard to come out and say that things are rough - and admitting a clinical diagnosis. i heart this book. (less)
kathy, i freaking love you. this book doesn't get five stars because i wanted more. it felt a bit like an outline. also, i don't think i can get the d...morekathy, i freaking love you. this book doesn't get five stars because i wanted more. it felt a bit like an outline. also, i don't think i can get the d-list on dvd to watch the earlier seasons again, and i can't deal with that.
but man, she's funny. and true to what i love most about her: she never pretends to be someone other than who she is. she knows she's not the prettiest or smartest or anything, but she's accepted herself, and that's awesome.
oh, and the author interview and "reading group" section are possibly the best part.
i don't know how to explain it. it's very bare bones advice for life, but here's the thing - there is so mu...morethis came at the perfect point in my life.
i don't know how to explain it. it's very bare bones advice for life, but here's the thing - there is so much wisdom in it.
at least for someone like me. there were so many things that resonated with me, especially right now.
for example, the mantra of, you are not what you do.
i can't tell you what a reassurance that is for me right now. the job i have is simply to pay the bills, and sometimes i worry that i'll never get to grad school, never get to be living my dream.
this book has a high level of spirituality also, and it seems maybe a little hokey, but the thing is that if you know kelly, and you know how honest she is, then you realize that it's full of excellent advice.
i read this pretty quickly. it flows the way you would expect a YA book to, in this category, which is not supposed to demean th...moreTHANK YOU, MISS ABBY.
i read this pretty quickly. it flows the way you would expect a YA book to, in this category, which is not supposed to demean the genre, but just saying it flows a little easier.
there were a lot of things i wanted more of. i wanted more of dr. rubenstein. of the doctors after. of more time back in school. how it felt to graduate. if he still has scars. etc. etc.
it was written though, in the first person, when he was 14. i think the best thing was how realistic the burn unit was. i have done some work on a burn unit, and god. i can't even imagine the pain of grafts and cleaning the new skin. i mean, really. i was very pleased that this was not glossed over, not at all.
however, i was a little disturbed by the fact that brent never acknowledged why he did what he did. there were things at play that dr. rubenstein touched on. i don't think it's true that he didn't know why he did it. maybe he had this great wake-up moment upon setting the fire, but he does know why he did some things. even at 14. there's fear there, of failure, of disappointing people, etc. i was sad that he didn't take the time to acknowledge that, that he left the book on the end of "yay, happy ending! i'm all cured!" and boom. life doesn't work that way. i wish it.
so, i love the realism of the burn injury, but i don't love the false-realism of the whole "i'm saved!" shock-attack. or, really, that the psychological repercussions were so weak. i mean, craig! his parents! etc! stephen leaving! megan!
i want a follow up, personally. i want life at 20. i want more.
but it was really quite good. life on a burn unit - not a place i think i could stay for a long time. (less)
i liked him better at the beginning of the book than the end, but.
mostly i still think that bush 43 ac...morelistened to this in the car during my commute.
i liked him better at the beginning of the book than the end, but.
mostly i still think that bush 43 acted and made decisions with his heart and his head and that he did what he thought was best for the country. i might disagree with his choices and priorities, but i don't think he was evil or anything. i do think he does shift a lot of the blame off himself by repeating over and over how he "listened to the experts around him", but that might not be obvious if you aren't really listening/reading it.
i would like it to have an epilogue now that bin laden has been killed.
also, i realize again that his greatest priority was keeping america safe from another terrorist attack. i found his talk of the "blood lust" at ground zero to be extremely offensive and off-putting, not just because i was there, but because that was NOT the mood that pervaded new york in those days. at all.
in a way, he didn't seem to be explaining his decisions, but rather, defending them. i don't know if that was because i was listening to it rather than reading the print, but.
i still maintain the most off-putting part of this book is the structure. it wanders all over the place, and i had a difficult time keeping the time, players and locations straight. i definitely think he needed a better editor - or, at least, to listen to one.
interesting read though, especially since it's such contemporary history. (less)