Ms. Knight is an exceptional and brave woman. The trauma that she has experienced both in Castro's 'house of horrFirst posted on The Steadfast Reader.
Ms. Knight is an exceptional and brave woman. The trauma that she has experienced both in Castro's 'house of horrors' and before her abduction are things that no one should ever have to go through. Her dedication and love for her son are commendable.
The writing in this book does leave something to be desired. I understand that Ms. Knight was not afforded the education that many of us are fortunate enough to receive and that she has faced struggles I can't even begin to comprehend. Here is where I'd like to give a pointed stare at the publishers and possibly Ms. Burford. I think that there probably was a way to write this book - for Knight to write this book - but still allow for editing, revisions, and textual changes to make this book more readable and still retain Ms. Knight's voice. Unfortunately, the weakness of the writing takes a bit away from the power of the story. As it is, the book left me wondering if the publishers (and I'm not saying that they were) might have been capitalizing off of Knight's horrific experiences to make a quick buck.
Still, despite the inexpert writing, Knight communicates the horror of her experiences, the resiliency that she's shown throughout her life, and an amazing capacity for hope, love, and forgiveness. Her willingness to heal publicly, to share her story over many mediums, giving voice to those children and young adults still missing is something that is truly admirable. My thoughts and hopes for Ms. Knight is that she may finally find peace and experience something of a normal life that too many of us take for granted. ...more
An interesting little memoir that's told in a weird second person format. Overall, it's pretty enjoyable. It'sFirst published on The Steadfast Reader.
An interesting little memoir that's told in a weird second person format. Overall, it's pretty enjoyable. It's especially enjoyable if you like to eat at expensive high end restaurants. Sous Chef gives an enlightening feel of what goes on behind the scenes at such places. This is the part of the book that I enjoyed the most.
I reveled in the idea that celebrities aren't getting any special attention from the kitchen, but even someone as 'lowly' as a staff writer for the New York Times receives VIP status. Who says journalism is dead?
The second person style didn't really work for me. It was arresting at first, but after a bit I found it to be a little irritating. The narrative is strongest during the sections before and during the actual service. The last portion of the book waxes a little philosophical for my taste - the meaning and importance of preparing good food for people and the such. I appreciate the sentiment but it did seem to meander on a bit too long.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to foodies. Especially foodies with expensive tastes in restaurants. I loved finding out exactly how things work behind the scenes.
Everyone else? Well, it's probably a take it or leave it book for you. Especially if you can't comprehend why anyone would pay $500 a plate for a single meal. ...more
I'm not sure where to start with this book. I was really excited to read it because the premise sounded a lot like my own experiences growing up, albeI'm not sure where to start with this book. I was really excited to read it because the premise sounded a lot like my own experiences growing up, albeit a generation later.
I know I've been doing a lot of talking of books vs. blogs and if this was a blog beforehand, I'm not aware of that. But this book might have been better suited as a blog. Here's why.
This book is told in a lilting South Carolinian tone. There are some wacky stories demonstrating the eccentricities about the narrators mother that rang so true. The Dollar Store thing, the passive aggressive planning of the family beach vacation, the worrying over details (like the linens at the beach house) to an extent that makes a sane person want to take a Xanax for her.
Perhaps it's because I am also the child of a southern alcoholic, who's formative and teenage years were marked by own mother's struggles that I had a hard time with the even, 'aw shucks, Mama drank too much but then she stopped.' tone that was taken. I feel like the narrator missed an opportunity to connect with her audience. Other than recounting scorched meals and the fact that her parents divorced after 30+ years of marriage, the destructive nature of her mother's alcoholism is largely glossed over. The same goes for her mother's depression, other than mentioning that her mother suffered from it there's no mention of how it affected the narrator's life.
Based on the timeline in the memoir I suspect that the author is of my mother's generation, making her mother of my grandmother's generation. I understand the reticence that is found in southern culture, especially older southerners. I recognize that this is the tribute of a loving daughter to a mother, despite her imperfections, was a warm, caring, loving and extraordinary individual. Unfortunately the reticence to tell the really hard stories causes this book to fall a little flat. ...more
This was a tough read for me! The first half of the book just kind of dragged itself along. The narrator's parents are SO AWFUL to him, once we finallThis was a tough read for me! The first half of the book just kind of dragged itself along. The narrator's parents are SO AWFUL to him, once we finally moved out of the narrator's childhood into his adolescence things picked up.
The one thing that I really liked about this book was the disarming honesty in which the narrator freely portrays himself. Yes, he is a little shit growing up and continues to be well into his adulthood - there are no apologies, or more accurately the only 'apology' is the fact that the narrator came full circle and realizes he was a total shit.
This memoir is highly recommended to anyone interested in the immigrant experience, but I wouldn't pick it up solely because you are a fan of Gary Shteyngart. (Which is why I picked it up.) ...more
Since I love to travel and have long had a fascination with China I jumped at the chance to read Double Happiness. I'm glad that I did. This is a memoir and a travelogue but it's also more than that. Honestly, it reads more like a novel than it does a memoir, which is good. There is plenty of action and crazy things happening, but underneath it all is a sense of peace and understanding....more
This book was fantastic. This is one of the best 'concentrate on what's important' books that I've read in a long time. I felt a connection with the nThis book was fantastic. This is one of the best 'concentrate on what's important' books that I've read in a long time. I felt a connection with the narrator as I notice many of the same tactics used by her appeal to me. There's a lot that could be put into play with this book, a lot that can be done with it. Of course now, the challenge is personalization and implementation of my own 'happiness project'.
Unlike a lot of other books in the 'concentrate on what's important' genre, Rubin seems to have done her research. Yes, this book is a memoir, but it's not completely based on anecdotal and personal experience. Rubin cites scientists, philosophers, alongside her own experience. It's incredibly refreshing.
Edit: I've read some other reviews of this book, there's a lot of 'Who wants to hear about a rich white lady who has it all?' Well, at the outset of the book Rubin admits she's living a charmed life. She seems to struggle a little bit with it through the book... but the principles are pretty universal. I don't think that anyone is going to argue that Rubin is the new Dalai Lama for spiritual enlightenment... this doesn't mean that despite the fact she leads a privileged and wonderful life that she has nothing whatsoever to say. I liked her honesty, though there seem to be quite a few reviewers who thought she was bitchy. I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love a few years ago and liked it a lot as a travelogue and a memoir, but there wasn't a whole lot I could take away from that book to actually implement in my own life, the fact that Rubin focuses on the small things (that 99% of people could stand to work on) is what makes this book great.
There's also something really authentic about Rubin who offers up the resources that she found useful during her journey to readers. She invites people interested to actually contact her, she could have made more money selling all these materials commercially, instead she offers them up for free... which I think is a testament to her desire to help people by publishing her journey - despite it being 'stunt journalism'.
Also, what the hell does what her in-laws fiscal worth have to do with anything?...more
One of my sole issues with this book was the title. If I had just been skimming titles and run across this book I wouldn't have even picked it up off the shelf, however, through the magic of review copies, I was lucky enough to get past the title and actually read it.
I love the cover.
I had a difficult time through the first three quarters of the book on pinning down exactly how much time had elapsed between events.
I loved how the book was strung together both with recipes (ala Like Water for Chocolate) at least two are for venison heart. This strings the narrative together. I also loved the references to nineteenth century publications and current want ads in 'obscure' periodical.
The passages on hunting may wax philosophical at times, but I think that it's appropriate.
Not necessarily laugh out loud funny, but there were warm moments that made me smile.
First, when I requested this book I thought it was a memoir of the atheist 'apologist' Sam Harris - it is not. It worked out okay however, because eveFirst, when I requested this book I thought it was a memoir of the atheist 'apologist' Sam Harris - it is not. It worked out okay however, because even though I didn't know THIS Sam Harris by name I am a certified musical theatre dork.
This book is honest and heartbreaking, entertaining and devastating all at the same time. It's a little reminiscent of an Augusten Burroughs memoir, but not quite as funny/tragic. While Harris is painfully honest about coming to terms with his alcoholism, he leaves out the much more important part about recovery and how he 'beat' it. Another extraordinary part in the memoir is his suicide attempt in which his eleven year old brother saves his life by stepping on a darning needle the same night that Harris decided to attempt to take his own life.
There are sweet and funny parts of this memoir concerning his long-time partner and the adoption of their son. I also especially love the eventual love and acceptance that Harris receives from his father.
Overall this is a decent memoir. Great for a short trip - but I'd read Augusten Burroughs, Tina Fey, Samantha Bee, or The Bloggess first. Still... good times.
This review is based on an advance review copy supplied through NetGalley by the publisher....more
Really, it only took me two days to finish this book? It felt like forever.
Okay, so about this. I hated the narrator for the first 75% of the book, she came across as spoiled, xenophobic, and incredibly overprivileged. It was a string of complaints and insecurities. (Oh no! I can't get a latte! Why are all these brown people staring at me?! Why can't they wait in line properly like Americans!) She manages to redeem herself the last quarter of the book by at least making the effort to enjoy and embrace Indian culture.
I've lived abroad (3 years), yeah, things are done differently, but I feel like that narrator dismisses other cultures as 'less than' because they're not American (or even western). Overall this book annoyed me more than it enlightened me.
(This review is based on an advance review copy supplied through NetGalley by the publisher.)...more