Tag Archive: memoir



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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Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life UnstrungGone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Passion.

That is what this book inspired in me. The music major (piano/voice) in me was jumping up and down as I read and listened to this book. By the way, I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley.

As I have often said, it is hard to rate an autobiography. It is their life, their truth. Even so, if you have practiced any instrument for any length of time you feel what the author feels about her violin. Min Kym has written a readable and relatable story. She describes her passion to play the violin in great detail. Stagefright doesn’t seem to enter her world as she is with her best friend at all times. Her life goes downhill when the violin disappears. I won’t give spoilers but that is enough. I have been without my piano (by the way, I have a love/hate with the piano) and worse found times when my voice didn’t work (bronchitis, etc.) and I know I was a mess!

I don’t want to rewrite her book or tell much more. I think musicians will appreciate this book the most but others will enjoy it, too.

The biggest thing that has happened to me since reading this is I want a violin to play with! I’m watching sales hoping. I know I might never get past Twinkle, Twinkle, something I did learn when I tried it a long time ago, but, I want to try!

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The Delany Sisters' Book of Everyday WisdomThe Delany Sisters’ Book of Everyday Wisdom by Sarah L. Delany
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m so behind on my reviews. Sorry. I finished this over a week ago. It was my hardback read. At least it didn’t take nearly a year like my last ‘real’ book. I think the font, paper color, size of page worked out pretty well for my crazy eyes. And I loved the sisters and their stories.

How does one live so long as the Delany Sisters? (Well over the century mark.) They tell us what they think works, at least for them. They even include their favorite recipes from soap to cobblers. Since I don’t like to cook, those weren’t for me but other readers will love that. My favorite parts were reading how the sisters related to each other, their family and the world at large.

Since it was an easy read for me, it will be quite a fast one for those with better eyes. Maybe you’ll glean some good advice for your own life.

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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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We're Going to Need More Wine: StoriesWe’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories by Gabrielle Union

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always feel weird reviewing autobiography. It is somebody’s story about their own life. So I guess I need to review how it was told. I was able to pick up the Audible version with the author reading it. That made it feel like she was in the room just telling me about herself and her past.

Gabrielle Union’s story is unique. And while she is telling her story she covers her outlook on how it felt to grow up as a minority in the school year and as herself with relatives in the summer. She gave her views of feminism and how she went through various discriminating situations. And she told her ‘Me, too” story.

This was an interesting read. I think if I were younger it would have been even more so. I think teens and young adults would get so much out of what she shares.

I hope you get the chance to read/listen to this one to draw your own conclusions.

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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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