Tag Archive: autobiography



The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard TimesThe Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As an addict of the BBC show, Call the Midwife, I couldn’t resist getting the Kindle and Audible versions of the book. As usual, the book is better than the show, but not by much. Books always give more insight into the thinking of a character, something film cannot capture properly.

Jennifer Worth’s memoir takes us to another time and the way people were then. Science, especially nursing and midwifery were new. Much was done by ‘old wives tales’ in the beginning but as medical science developed, giving birth sometimes took back steps. Ms. Worth shows us the mistakes and the achievements womanhood gained when men took over the most female of jobs.

But these aren’t just about the theories. We learn of Jennifer’s life as a nurse and midwife as she lived in the convent of nuns. The characters of the TV show are there in full glory. My favorite, Chummy, isn’t seen as much as I’d like (neither is Miranda Hart in the show as much as I’d like). But it is comical to watch her learn to be a midwife in her tall, elegant way.

I love how both the show (which seem to stick closely to Worth’s story) carefully lead us through patients lives and how pregnancy and motherhood impacted daily life post-WWII. Jennifer Worth’s writing is impeccable and yet poetic. It is fun to watch as she grows to become a stronger person and midwife as the book progresses.

Oh, and a note for the lovely narrator: Nicola Barber. Though it took me a minute to get used to her, I was so happy I did. She could do the cockney or the more proper British if needed and kept my interest piqued.

I would hope everyone reads and watches these as there is much to learn here. I can’t wait to read the next book.

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Waiting for a Miracle: Historical NovelWaiting for a Miracle: Historical Novel by Helen (Wininger) Livnat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading this a few days ago. I hate it when I finish before I am ready to sleep. I start the next book and forget to get back to the last book to review. But this one needs a review!

There cannot be enough books about the Holocaust. We need to look at it from every angle to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This book presented another point of view. It is from paternal journals handed down from the time of the first world war. The great-granddaughter is conveying the story. All the way to her own life.

All in all, it is well told. It doesn’t quite fit into my goal of reading books by strong women with strong women as main characters as Helen (Wininger) Livnat only tells her story at the end and it feels she left much of her own life out to give her forefathers the say of what happened in those horrid times. And that’s fine with me. She includes what is happening to the females at that time as best she can. The stories are coming from journals of the men so she’s telling what she inherited. None of it is fiction. We’ve read the histories, we can see the truth. We need to take warning.

It is always hard to give a rating to someone else’s life. So in that, I’m sticking with the five-star rating. There were errors, grammatical mostly–near the end, a ‘there’ that should have either been ‘they’re’ or ‘their’ (I can’t remember which now) is one example. In fact, the ending could use an editor’s eyes. But it didn’t take away from the truth and horror of the story or the warnings. And I think that there may have been some translation problems in that I think Russian was the first language. But I’m guessing.

Like I said, it is the story that is the important issue here. I think everyone should read this. It is enjoyable watching the families and the sons adjust and still love no matter what the outside world is doing. It is amazing what we can do when we do it for love.

Yes, there are a lot of tears. Even near the beginning. So have your Kleenex handy. But there are big joyous moments as well. Life and love bring us generations of stories and struggles. Well worth the read. But I’m repeating myself. I just want people to pick this up when they can and take it into their souls.

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A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of TragedyA Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whew! We all know what causes these shootings, right? Each of us has a laundry list of how it happens and how, if we had the power we could solve this right now. Some say take away the guns. Some say if parents were held responsible this would never happen. Some say that it’s the mentally ill, or on drugs, or are terrorists. No one seems to have the right answers.

What if you would walk inside the life of one who was directly involved (and so unwilling!) the mother of one of the killers in Columbine?

Sue Klebold is eloquent as she tells her own story. Imagine learning that your son is dead. Then learn he was one of the killers. If your son had been a terror in your life you might believe it and welcome the freedom from that kind of child. But if the son had been sweet and seemed merely a regular teenage boy this would be shocking.

Please, take the time to read this. Judge not lest ye be judged, just listen. I did with the Overdrive (library), audio version of this book. Maybe this book holds the beginnings of answers we need to look at and implement in our country/world as it grows scarier by the day.

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Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and PurposePromise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose by Joe Biden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started listening to this book while still reading Fire and Fury. Vice President Biden’s voice was soothing after the paranoia of the other book. It was like my dad was reading to me. He is so calm and self-assured it shows even with all that was going on in his life during the period of his life that this book represents.

It isn’t as though we all weren’t there and saw what happened. But hearing it all from his point of view gave it all a bit of depth. I don’t want to repeat what was there so I will only tell you that I think everyone should read this. If you can it is better with VP Joe Biden’s voice.

Warning, bring your Kleenex.

Oh, the only part I didn’t like was the interview at the end. I don’t think it was needed as it was just a review of what was in the rest of the book. And I think VP Biden’s voice was too tired to continue.

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Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White HouseHacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House by Donna Brazile

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have always admired Donna Brazile. She seems a classy woman. I love hearing her talk. I always thought she does a good job giving her listeners both side of a picture. So I chose not to get the book but rather the Audible version. Her’s is a good voice to hear before going to sleep.

I always say this when I’ve read an autobiography. I cannot be the judge of her points of view about her own life. Think about your own life. Look back a few years and you may not think of what happened in the same light as how it looked when it was happening. So I do not doubt this is her point of view of recent events.

It took me several nights to read this (NaNoWriMo took my days). I must admit that each night I found this paranoia taking over my psyche. I do feel the Russians have done terrible things to our systems of government. I hope we can get to the bottom of all of it and recover our dignity as Americans.

There are some very scary things in this book. I want to try and warn you. But I don’t want to spoil the read for you. Try to keep your own political point of view out of this. It is this person’s brave telling of what happened in her life at a crazy time in our history. And don’t come after me with your arguments. I will delete them. This is my opinion and you cannot argue a person to think like you.

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You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have always admired Felicia Day. It was great to see a smart female actress playing smart female characters on the shows I’ve seen her on.

This book gave me insight to the person and her history. It was fun to know that we shared a similar history. No, I’m old enough to be her mother. But my children shared her history and I through them. We learned the computer from way back with CompuServe, Prodigy (where I met my husband) and various video games and bulletin boards. Her ultimate game was WoW whereas my kids got into EQ. It was fun reading about how it was physically meeting the friends she made online. That experience the kids and I shared. But it was fun to watch the computer evolving with the generation who came of age at the same time.

My children were homeschooled, too. It was interesting to see her thoughts on it. I find that we who were schooled who wasted so many years with more time dedicated to kids with bad behaviors or teachers who bored us to sleep and were still quite socially shy and experienced depression tried to save our children of that. Instead, they blame their very anxiety on not having to school. They don’t realize the opportunity they had without all the wasted time. Felicia became a professional violinist. And all these skills she acquired that makes her unique are a direct result from not being squeezed into a mold that schools force children into.

Anyway, I loved being able to listen to Felicia read her own story. It gave, even more, credence to autobiography. I knew I wanted to listen to her read it. But I found that there was no Text-to-Speech. That made me sad because had I not been able to afford the Audible version to whispersynch I would have had no way to enjoy this book. Still, it was delightful to listen to her voice. I wish her the very best in life. She deserves it!

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear SugarTiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One day, in the last couple of months, my daughter kidnapped me so I could spend a week back in Reno. It was one of those serendipitous things that made me very happy. I got to spend time with her and with other family and friends.

My daughter loves to listen to podcasts on long trips. When she learned that I had read and watched Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, she pulled up the Dear Sugar podcasts and we enjoyed a long listen.

Once back at home I found the Dear Sugar websites and other books by Cheryl Strayed. I looked at the eBook/Overdrive local library copies. I found this copy but it was just an eBook with no text-to-speech and no audio version. I tried very hard to enjoy the book. There was wonderful advice given here.

I wanted to keep reading past the mid-point that I thought I got to, but with no way to listen it was hard to read. I will try to keep an eye out for the Audible or Kindle with TTS to read later. Besides, most of it was written for younger people. I played the kind of game I used to play with the Dear Abby advice column, see if I can give the same advice the writer does. I was pleasantly surprised that Ms. Strayed gave more personal answers and helped in deeper ways than Abby or her sister Ann Landers ever did.

I think this is a wonderful book for young people to have. I think Dear Sugar is a good podcast for those under forty. I hope to find this book again in an easier form for me to read.

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The Rules Do Not ApplyThe Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a fan of fiction more than any other kind of reading, it is alway hard for me to “grade” an autobiography. It isn’t up to me to judge another’s life or path, so I feel I am invading a bit when it is time to review. Yet this book called to me from NetGalley as one I might like to read and review.

I have to admit it kept my interest. Many reviewers say the author’s emotions are raw in this memoir. That may be so. I just found them honest and refreshing. As a fertile-Myrtle, who had, as most of my generation, my children in my early twenties, I never heard that egg-timer to get pregnant or forget it. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have another?” and boom I was pregnant. So the despair of the author seems another reality I’ve not been close to. In that case, I think it right to go into the depth with her and see what her reality has been. Would my story of a baby every couple years and only at home ever be as interesting to her generation? So I find her lucky to have experienced so many things I never got to see. That she had the freedom to explore her sexuality after being an adult, who got to see the world I may never see, isn’t sad. Those were the parts of the story I truly enjoyed.

But I don’t want to demean or in any way put down her path and especially not the sad parts of it. That need to reproduce is very strong in many of us and to have that turn out so badly hurts my soul for her.

That is why I like to read autobiographies. I can lead many lives that way. I can see how things might have been had I made other choices or had nature played nasty tricks on my life. I think it helps to develop empathy to read another’s story. And this may be one you might like. Give it a try.

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I Am Nujood, Age 10 and DivorcedI Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you, Yvensong, for suggesting this read.

I was able to pick up the Overdrive and Kindle versions from the e-library. I loved the narrator: Meera Simhan. She did a great job reading for what was supposed to be a 10-year-old.

This is a great book to open the discussion of how girls and women are treated worldwide. When we look at what this poor girl and other like her have gone through, we, here in America, think that could never happen. But we have not gone far enough here. There is so much more work to show that equality is what is needed for a better world for everyone.

Nujood Ali has written a book that is short and sweet. I do believe that it could be read by all ages, and should be read by males so they can move to better understanding.

What I loved about reading along on the Kindle as the Overdrive narrator read to me were the foreign words that were hyperlinked to definitions. Even so, there weren’t so many that one couldn’t guess by context as to what they meant. I suggest everyone read this treasure.

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The Diaries of Ethel TurnerThe Diaries of Ethel Turner by Ethel Turner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t know that any book of my entire life has taken me this long to read. But this wasn’t fiction. This was someone’s diary. It was the day by day mind meanderings of a writer who lived in Australia in the 1800s. No protagonist, no antagonist, no plot. Even so, far better than my own diaries in which I would eventually give up and write that I breathed in and out that day. So I doubt anyone will write anything about mine. They have probably begun to degrade into the earth like the trees the paper was made from.

Another reason it was such a slow read for me was the small font. Luckily the entries were kept short so I would only sit and read an entry and let it go.

Writers will find this interesting, seeing Ethel Turner’s passion for writing, especially for children. Those interested in history, this diary takes place before the first world war. She witnessed world happenings from the land down-under. As a young woman, she sees Women’s Suffrage. At first, she sees no sense in it but as she matures her writing reflects the need for social change for men and women for more equality.

I found that interesting in that in the home she grows up in as a teen, they have servants. No wonder she sees no need for equality. She was able to spend her time studying languages, piano, and singing. Her life was full of social amenities, dances, etc. But still, she spends most of her days working on writing. She was and for me is an inspiration.

Seven Little Australians, her book, I will be reading next.

This is worth the effort it took me to read. Maybe you will like it, too.
Oh, this is a BookCrossing book BCID 128-5141612. Not sure who is next for the read but I’ll mark the site accordingly.

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