Tag Archive: memoir



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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Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader GinsburgNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two days ago I had merely a chapter to go to finished. I feel so bad that I didn’t finish a day earlier. To finish on the day of RBG’s passing is both heartbreaking and yet feels the honor to my heart.

Irin Carmon is one of my favorite commentators on MSNBC. So when she was doing her book tour for this book I knew I would have to read it. It was well-written. So many pictures kept it visually interesting. Irin captured this brave woman’s strength and character. I feel so good to have read this at such an important time in our history.

I highly recommend this book!

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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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The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's StoryThe Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a fantastic book! Hyeonseo Lee tells her story in an immaculate way. Her story was so messy yet the writing was well-done and kept my interest all the way through. It is an autobiography. As such we get the inside view of people who live in North Korea and how hard it is to escape and integrate into other countries.

I want to write more but I’m afraid of ruining your reading experience with this book. I wish Ms. Lee continued success and I hope as time goes on more people will break loose and that country will be independent. It does make you want to make sure the things you think of as truth are truth and not something others want you to believe.

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On Edge: A Journey Through AnxietyOn Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Petersen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Boy, am I glad I did! It was well-written and well-researched.

Do you suffer from anxiety/depression like I do? Have you taken every drug the doctor prescribed and not have it work at all? Here is someone who has. I personally related to this book. Andrea Petersen tells her story while relating it to the science in history and current treatments for these ailments. She tells about her experiences helping us to see all the things in her life that could have or didn’t cause her own problems. She owns what she can but it isn’t a blame game for her. It is trying to understand how it was she thought she was going to die during anxiety episodes.

I am going to put a bit of a spoiler here as it is the one takeaway I want to remember. And I’ll tell you why. Have you had a panic attack? I have. But I’ve also had stage fright. I used to sing solos at churches. I found this to be true: If I could get excited about singing the song in front of people I rarely made mistakes and the song sounded pretty good. I never could have said that about giving a speech or playing solos on the piano. TERRIFIED FROZEN POOL OF SWEAT. The same applies to talking to people on the phone, even people I love. If I had the performance memorized and I was excited (which can also cause shaking hands) I did fine. If I can work on making sure to build the excitement, I might be able to overcome the phone issues. It’s an idea I plan to try as I think of it. You see, you can’t memorize what you are going to say on the phone. I tried when I did phone sales. My stuff was memorized for the person if they followed their lines, they never did. But maybe when I plan to talk to someone I love, friends, and the family I can start applying this excitement over anxiety. Have you tried it? Did it work for you?

You may find a ton of things to help you in Ms. Petersen’s story. As a journalist she gets personal yet she hangs onto that ability to step back and remain ‘just the facts, M’am’ research writer. I loved reading this book! I hope others who have had to endure mental illness either personally or someone you love, will take the time to read it. Maybe you’ll find some answers.

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