Tag Archive: autobiography



The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of DepressionThe Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know who recommended this book for me. Whoever, thank you! This was so interesting!

Having borrowed the Libby audio narrated by the author, I now hope to buy the book someday.

The thing is, this is more than a book about depression, or even one person’s account of his own journey. This book includes a bit of history of the diagnosis and treatment for centuries. It also includes how the disorder affects different socioeconomic sets of people.

I highly recommend this for anyone who has gone through depression or know of others who might be suffering. It leads to not only a deeper understanding, but medical issues and ways to find health.

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Carefree Black Girls: A Celebration of Black Women in Popular CultureCarefree Black Girls: A Celebration of Black Women in Popular Culture by Carefree Black Girls Zeba Blay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Carefree Black Girls, Zeba Blay addresses many of the issues in our world today through her life’s story. Far from being ‘carefree,’ this is a social statement of what some females must live through. I am not necessarily privileged, being a 71-year-old white woman on social security (which isn’t enough to live on.) But granted, I am not black, nor of the current generation with social media that is out to crush anyone they can.
As with every autobiography I read, I must leave the statement of lack of judgment. I can’t in any way decide if this book is good or bad. It is Ms. Blay’s story. It is interesting and awakening and empowering and angering. I wish I could hug her through her hard times. I wish I could beat up those who hurt her. I wish there were no such thing as bigotry or hatred of those whose bodies are not perfect or whose sexual lives don’t reflect the norms.

As with other autobiographies, I did appreciate a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes. As uncomfortable as those shoes might be for her or me. It made a hard read for bedtimes. It wasn’t easy to find a calm or happy moment to stop reading on a positive note. But I suppose that had me finishing the read faster.

I hope others will take the time to read about a life that isn’t your own. This one is not only well-written but highly researched to make sure her facts are traceable.

I want to thank Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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The Elephant WhispererThe Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s funny what happens when you start researching a book you are writing. I have an elephant in my story, and he tells another character that his favorite book is… Well, that meant I needed to find a book for him to refer to. I looked up elephant books on Amazon, and this one came up. I chose the Audible version because I had a credit waiting for my next listen. I am not sure it is my character elephant’s favorite book. But I did enjoy it as my night read.

Simon Vance did a great job narrating this autobiography. His voice is believable as the author’s own, I suppose. I don’t know what the author sounded like, as my guess is the author passed before finishing the book. That was a little jarring.

The author shared his experiment by having a place for a herd to come and live. He shared his getting to know the elephants’ personalities personally. All in all, I did enjoy the story. I just need an elephant book more personal to the elephant and not the human. I did have my guy like Dumbo. But I need more.

If you love elephants, you will love this book.

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I Am These Truths: A Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between WorldsI Am These Truths: A Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between Worlds by Sunny Hostin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The View has always been as good as a cup of coffee to wake up to in the morning. I’ve watched since the inception with Barbara Walters and the rest. So I had to grab this Audible book.

I have seen Sunny Hostin grow on this show. I’ve seen her change a stance or two as she learned from the ladies or just time and news on her own. Not in a way that is wishy-washy but with knowledge and grace to see another side. To me that makes her one of the strongest women on the show. She doesn’t shout at the others, she isn’t rude to her elders. She is a shining example of what we all should be as we interact with others who might not have similar points of view.

In this book, Sunny shows us her life and how she became who she is now. I loved the whole book. I hope you get the chance to read or listen to it. Sunny narrates the Audible version and I find that makes it like she’s right in the room telling her story.

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Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous ManToo Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As with most memoirs, I cannot judge this. This is her life. Her experiences. I hope that if what she says is true that someone finally put this to unbiased courts if any still exists.

It was worth the read. Ms. Mary writes well and keeps the reader involved. I think she does her best to keep her book on an emotional even keel.

There are a lot of reviews out there. As with this world since her Uncle, they run both sides of emotion. Don’t listen to any of them and read and decide for yourself.

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Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama


BecomingBecoming by Michelle Obama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, how I miss proper English. Oh, how I miss people who care for others and not just themselves. That is what I found in this audiobook. A person who can read their own words in a book with such elegance was so beautiful I didn’t want to stop reading. I was awake until four in the morning two or three nights.

It wasn’t as if most of the story was new. We all lived through those eight years. I didn’t know about much of Ms. Obama’s life before the White House. So that was interesting.

When I was young, I loved spending the night with friends or cousins. It was fun to see how other people live their lives. I think that is why I like honest memoirs like this one. Michelle didn’t try to pretty it up and sweep the bad parts under the carpet. This was her life. Period.

Most of the story was pre-election, before children. She is a confident woman. Her parents’ influence was the basis of her life along with extended family. The love she felt for and from family gave her the strength to be herself. Being raised financially challenged gave her the wisdom to deal with money properly. Knowing that politics was the least of her aims in life, makes her all the more interesting.

I think it was that deep love that she got as a child that made her the loving adult she became. It was evident in how she treated people of all ilk. I am so interested in what Michelle Obama becomes now that her life is closer to what is her kind of life.

This is a book I highly recommend as an audiobook. Her voice is rich and brings the words to life.

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Review: Brave by Rose McGowan


BraveBrave by Rose McGowan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rating memoirs are not my thing. It’s a life. Someone else’s. But in this case, her negatives were lessons for all of us. Some might say she was too angry or strident. But with good reason. I was happy to be able to listen to Rose’s voice on the Audible version.

There is so much I want to say about this book, but I don’t want to give anything away. As strong as Ms. McGowan comes across, I believe this is a book everyone should read or hear. In fact, I think the audio gives the story more veracity. It is the story of women, especially those in the Hollywood scene, but much of what happened has happened in other businesses.

Please, give it a chance and learn what is there for you to learn. I may try to reread it in a couple of years. Hopefully, by then, society will have become more humane. I hope I am not wishing, and it happens from all of us becoming more aware and intolerant of inequality.

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Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of ItFat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It by Brittany Gibbons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Autobiographies are harder to rate. This is someone’s life and their opinions of what they have been through. But as such, this was a fun book, in spite of the awful things that Brittany Gibbons has gone through, and her rise to fame, the story is an interesting read. And Brittany does have a fun sense of humor.

Since nearly 40% of the population is overweight or obese and every one of us has been weight shamed, even the skinny-minis. And no one that I know of has yet to lose weight from being shamed. Few have been able to maintain a weight-loss when they have tried. I think a new method needs to be tried. Since nearly half of us are afflicted. How about more of Brittany? Let’s celebrate life and live it. Let’s be okay with our bodies regardless. Let’s be okay with other folks as they are and let them live. Sure we all can improve. Just remember, just because your sins aren’t worn on the outside, doesn’t mean you are as bad or as unhealthy as the ones you like to shame.

So, stepping off the soapbox. This is a fun read

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If All the Seas Were Ink: A MemoirIf All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir by Ilana Kurshan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was young, and even to this day, I loved to spend time, overnight to weeks, if I could, in other people’s homes. It was interesting to see how other people lived. I learned how different and yet the same my life was to my friends. What rules applied? What was okay? How huggy or talky were the people?

As an adult that is less likely to happen. Slumber parties seem to stay in the child’s world. Really close friends can share their lives. But it isn’t the same as personal observation.

Autobiographies give that kind of insight. You live inside the person’s world, hear their thoughts, see how they try to live up to their own standards. See how they feel when they don’t.

Ilana Kurshan provides that kind of insight. I admire her determination and curiosity. She decided to study the Talmud in a seven-year quest to understand it and her relationship to it better. She lived it as best she could, all the easier for living in Jerusalem, all the harder as a single person, then newlywed, then young mother. But she did her best to apply what she learned along the way.

I was raised protestant. I have many friends of various religious leanings and love to learn their belief systems and how they work in real life. I have a friend who has moved to Israel and thought of her as I read. I don’t know if she read this yet, but I bet she will glean from this person’s challenge.

Rating autobiographies is harder than a piece of fiction. It is personal. I can’t judge another person’s life or their own memories. It was where they are/were and how they choose to live it. Ms. Kurshan’s writing was compelling. I couldn’t stop reading. Since this was an ARC or Uncorrected Copy, there were formatting issues that made my text-to-speech the best way to read it all. But I’m sure those issues were corrected in the retail versions. Other than that it was a delightful read and I highly recommend it to others. I doubt I will ever try the seven-year Talmud, though who knows? I’ve taken on lessor challenges. I was glad that Ilana included scripture so I could feel a part of the quest. And I’m proud of her for taking a feminist view on her religion. It makes it all more real and possible.

I can’t wait to read other reviews about this book.

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The Best of UsThe Best of Us by Joyce Maynard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t usually include the book blurb but I felt it said more about the book that I could.

“In 2011, when she was in her late fifties, beloved author and journalist Joyce Maynard met the first true partner she had ever known. Jim wore a rakish hat over a good head of hair; he asked real questions and gave real answers; he loved to see Joyce shine, both in and out of the spotlight; and he didn’t mind the mess she made in the kitchen. He was not the husband Joyce imagined, but he quickly became the partner she had always dreamed of.

Before they met, both had believed they were done with marriage, and even after they married, Joyce resolved that no one could alter her course of determined independence. Then, just after their one-year wedding anniversary, her new husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. During the nineteen months that followed, as they battled his illness together, she discovered for the first time what it really meant to be a couple–to be a true partner and to have one.

This is their story. Charting the course through their whirlwind romance, a marriage cut short by tragedy, and Joyce’s return to singleness on new terms, The Best of Us is a heart-wrenching, ultimately life-affirming reflection on coming to understand true love through the experience of great loss. ”

Knowing this may help you decide if you want to read this book. It is autobiographical and full of the journey that the author took through a gorgeous romance and then finding that her husband has pancreatic cancer and all that they went through during this journey. Though it is a depressing topic, after the romance, the author is able to keep the reader from falling into despair. In fact, it was only toward the end of the book that I nearly lost it in a loud sob that would have awaken the neighborhood had I let it escape. But I felt okay most of the read.

I guess I should tell you that for me it was a bit personal in that my mother passed of Pancreatic Cancer. She certainly didn’t last as long as Joyce’s husband. The doctors did exploratory surgery, found the cancer and closed her up. They said she would live for about three months, she barely lasted three weeks. So it is good to know that many are getting longer life-spans after diagnosis.

Mostly the book is a story of love and learning life as you go. I loved it and hated that I had to put it away and go to sleep.

I did have an issue with the formatting in that every now and then there was a title or author’s name and page number interrupting the flow. But it didn’t take me out of the book for more than a second.

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read the book for an honest review. I hope others get the chance to read this book. There is a lot to learn here.

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