BOOK REVIEW: Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris

58989873Title: Happy-Go-Lucky

Author: David Sedaris

Audiobook Length: 7 hours and 30 minutes

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Humor, Essays, Memoir, Short Stories, LGBT

Read Start Date: August 27, 2022

Read Finish Date: August 30, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Back when restaurant menus were still printed on paper, and wearing a mask—or not—was a decision made mostly on Halloween, David Sedaris spent his time doing normal things. As Happy-Go-Lucky opens, he is learning to shoot guns with his sister, visiting muddy flea markets in Serbia, buying gummy worms to feed to ants, and telling his nonagenarian father wheelchair jokes.

But then the pandemic hits, and like so many others, he’s stuck in lockdown, unable to tour and read for audiences, the part of his work he loves most. To cope, he walks for miles through a nearly deserted city, smelling only his own breath. He vacuums his apartment twice a day, fails to hoard anything, and contemplates how sex workers and acupuncturists might be getting by during quarantine.

As the world gradually settles into a new reality, Sedaris too finds himself changed. His offer to fix a stranger’s teeth rebuffed, he straightens his own, and ventures into the world with new confidence. Newly orphaned, he considers what it means, in his seventh decade, no longer to be someone’s son. And back on the road, he discovers a battle-scarred America: people weary, storefronts empty or festooned with Help Wanted signs, walls painted with graffiti reflecting the contradictory messages of our time: Eat the Rich. Trump 2024. Black Lives Matter.

In Happy-Go-Lucky, David Sedaris once again captures what is most unexpected, hilarious, and poignant about these recent upheavals, personal and public, and expresses in precise language both the misanthropy and desire for connection that drive us all. If we must live in interesting times, there is no one better to chronicle them than the incomparable David Sedaris.

My Review: This book is so hilarious I actually laughed out loud. The synopsis on Goodreads makes it sound like a lot of this book is surrounding the events of COVID, but that’s not actually the case. It’s really only a small part toward the end of the book.

I listened to this as an audiobook and it was read by David Sedaris himself. Some of the parts were “narrated” and some of the parts were recordings of Sedaris at a book reading event — you can hear the laughter of the audience in the background.

Although most of the book is funny, Sedaris includes some dark tales surrounding the abuse suffered by Sedaris and his siblings at the hands of their father. Once, when Sedaris was about 10 years old, he complained of a stomach ache in order to get out of going to school the next day. Later that night, when Sedaris was playing with his guinea pig, his father had Sedaris go to the bathroom for a visual “anal exam”. His father, who Sedaris described as some guy who always walked around in his underwear, would also do weird and creepy things to Sedaris’ sisters. For example: “He said of my sister, who was tottering on platform shoes, a straw hat on her head, looking, I’d later realize, a lot like Jody Foster in Taxi Driver: ‘God she’s got a great set of pins!’ I didn’t know what pins were and when I later learned that they were legs, I thought ‘well that’s a…nice…thing…to say about someone, in general, I mean, if that person isn’t, you know, your daughter.'”

A lot of the stories in the book were about Sedaris’ father, now deceased, but who at the time was old and infirm in a nursing home. The creepy man that Sedaris used to know was long gone and Sedaris had to reconcile the horrible man he used to know and dislike, with the affable, rather pleasant person he had become in his old age.

I think it takes a lot of courage to write such private things into a book that will be read by millions.

I highly recommend this book to anyone in need of a good laugh.

BOOK REVIEW: The Storyteller by Dave Grohl

57648017Title: The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music

Author: Dave Grohl

Audiobook Length: 10 hours and 35 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Autobiography, Pop Culture, Music

Read Start Date: July 17, 2022

Read Finish Date: July 25, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Having entertained the idea for years, and even offered a few questionable opportunities (“It’s a piece of cake! Just do 4 hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!”) I have decided to write these stories just as I have always done, in my own hand. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child.

This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.

My Review: Dave Grohl is a musician (drummer) who has been in some pretty big named bands e.g. Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. To be honest, although I have listened to both bands before, I had no clue what the name of the drummer was until now. I checked this audiobook out from the library as it was in the “popular global” category. Having no expectations whatsoever about the book, I was pleasantly surprised. I found that the stories were interesting / entertaining, and Grohl was even funny at times.

Describing his heartbreak over the breakup from his first girlfriend (after 1 week): “Forlorn, I returned home to my volumes of nauseatingly romantic scribblings, gathered them all and burned them in a ceremonious ritual at the alter that I had of course built for Sandi in the carport. Okay, maybe I just threw ’em in the fucking trashcan outside, but I did purge my pages of puppy love poetry so as to cut the proverbial cord and try to get on with my boring preteen life.” I laughed out loud at this one.

This was a fast and easy read and was really good to listen to in the background of doing chores around the house.

BOOK REVIEW: No Lawyers in Heaven by Henry Milner

56033836._SY475_Title: No Lawyers in Heaven: A Life Defending Serious Crime

Author: Henry Milner

Audiobook Length:  6 hours and 43 minutes

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, True Crime, Autobiography, Memoir

Read Start Date: August 13, 2022

Read Finish Date: August 17, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Netgally (link to Goodreads): The life of a criminal defence lawyer is shrouded in mystery. Outsiders might wonder about how to deal with potentially dangerous clients; what happens behind the scenes when building a defence; and, that age-old moral dilemma, how a lawyer can defend someone they think is guilty. But what is life really like for those tasked with representing the shadowy underbelly of society?

For over forty years, criminal defence solicitor Henry Milner has been the go-to lawyer for some of Britain’s most notorious criminals including Kenneth Noye and the Brink’s-Mat robbers, Freddie Foreman, John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer and the gang behind the Millennium Dome raid.

Here, the lawyer referred to in the Sunday Times as ‘The Mr Big of Criminal Briefs’ offers a fascinating insight into life at the top of the profession, lifting the lid on the psychology of those who end up on the wrong side of the law and those who defend them. By turns shocking and hilarious, this remarkable memoir takes us deep into the enigmatic criminal underworld, delivering a wry personal commentary on the most extraordinary aspects of a life spent amongst the accused.

My Review: I received this audiobook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I have to say, from the very beginning of this book I just loved it.

In 1967 the author, Henry Milner is in the College of Estate Management when he is essentially told by the school that he is not very good (as he had come at the bottom of his building construction class twice because he “can’t draw”), and that he should think instead of becoming a lawyer, as he had excelled in legal classes such as property law. And so he did.

Milner eventually becomes a defense attorney and he tells the stories of when he was practicing in the 70s and 80s. The stories are told with wit and humor and at times had me laughing out loud. His clients, some guilty, some acquitted are characters unto themselves. Even though they are criminals, many of their antics were funny (maybe not haha funny, but at least shake your head in astonishment funny).

I had never heard of these cases because they were before my time, and also this takes place in England and not America.

I also really liked the narrator. He told the stories in an animated way, like you were at a party, engaged in a conversation with him and he was regaling you of that one time when he represented this guy…

The crimes that are discussed are not heinous in nature, mostly robberies, and so I didn’t feel drained by reading this book like with some true crime books about murder.

All in all, I highly recommend this book.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

BOOK REVIEW: The Ghost Marriage by Kirsten Mickelwait

54810309Title: The Ghost Marriage

Author: Kirsten Mickelwait

Audiobook Length: 10 hours and 10 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

Read Start Date: April 23, 2022

Read Finish Date: April 26, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: At thirty-one, Kirsten has just returned to San Francisco from a bohemian year in Rome, ready to pursue a serious career as a writer and eventually, she hopes, marriage and family. When she meets Steve Beckwith, a handsome and successful attorney, she begins to see that future materialize more quickly than she’d dared to expect.

Twenty-two years later, Steve has turned into someone quite different. Unemployed and addicted to opioids, he uses money and their two children to emotionally blackmail Kirsten. What’s more, he’s been having an affair with their real estate agent, who is also her close friend. So she divorces him–but after their divorce is finalized, Steve is diagnosed with colon cancer and dies within a year, leaving Kirsten with $1.5 million in debts she knew nothing about. It’s then that she finally understands: The man she’d married was a needy, addictive person who came wrapped in a shiny package.

As she fights toward recovery, Kirsten begins to receive communications from Steve in the afterlife–which lead her on an unexpected path to forgiveness. The Ghost Marriage is her story of discovery — that life isn’t limited to the tangible reality we experience on this earth, and that our worst adversaries can become our greatest teachers.

My Review: I received this audiobook as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I definitely connected with this woman, as I too was married to someone who, at the end of our marriage, I could barely recognize. Steve, the author’s husband, was a real jerk, who seemed to delight in antagonizing her. This book must have been cathartic to write for the author, as there were many stories of how Steve screwed the author over. By the end of the book I hated this guy’s guts. How the author could stand this man for decades is beyond me! Nevertheless, the book is thankfully not written in a whiny woe is me style — it is eloquent and narrative and kept me engaged and interested.

I was all set to give this book 5 stars, until I got to the last portion of the book. It really made me angry that the author (after seeing a psychic) came to believe that the ill treatment she endured at the hands of her husband was a “gift” from him because it taught her valuable life lessons which will help her in her next life after reincarnation. She believes now that they had a “soul contract” where the author agreed to be treated like a doormat. Give me a freaking break. Barf. I just don’t get it. It’s as though the act of dying makes this guy a saint all of a sudden.

I’m all for forgiving someone their transgressions in order to move on or whatever, but it just felt like she went beyond that to actually excusing and/or even JUSTIFYING his bad behavior. This was a real turnoff to me and is why I gave only 4 stars instead of 5. Emotional abuse is absolutely not ok, and never should be excused. But since this was only the very last portion of the book, I would say the book is worth the read anyway…just feel free to skip the ending!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

BOOK REVIEW: Passports and Pacifiers—Traveling the World, One Tantrum at a Time by Kaitlyn Jain

55608649Title: Passports and Pacifiers–Traveling the World, One Tantrum at a Time

Author:  Kaitlyn Jain

Audiobook Length: 8 hours and 37 minutes

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Parenting, Travel

Read Start Date: June 6, 2022

Read Finish Date: June 12, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Starting with two bumbling parents taking their Never-Sleep infant to Italy and ending with an adventure across Scandinavia, Passports and Pacifiers follows a naïve, baby-wearing family on memorable, affordable, and nap-centered trips.

You’ll be regaled with honest, often hilarious, accounts of their misadventures, like losing the only pacifier of the trip, missing ferries, and soothing tantrums across the globe. The Jains find deals—traveling just a tad off the prime season, finding buy one get two flights, and using credit card miles and free grandparent babysitters—and save where they can.

In addition, you’ll receive hard-earned travel tips like:
• Entertaining kids during long flights
• Packing light (while bringing what you need!)
• Driving with a carsick-prone toddler
• Keeping your Ever-Hungry spouse happy

My Review: I received this audiobook as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was excited to read this book because I also love to travel, and now I have a 10 month old daughter. I really liked the lessons learned and the tips the author provided. The stories were also humorous and the substance of the book was, in general, a good read. Listening to it made me long to travel and gave me some inspiration as to which places to go to.

I would have rated the book 4 or even 5 stars had it not been for the poor quality of the audiobook. To be honest, while I was enjoying the substance of the book, it was hard to finish because of the audio. The book was read by the author, and the recording was very unprofessional. You could hear pages turning, mouth noises, and once the author even stumbled over a sentence. Why was this recording not better edited? Additionally, the author would sometimes pause in weird places in the sentence, which prompted me to listen at 1.25x speed, as this normalized the reading somehow.

While I would highly recommend this book, I would ONLY recommend the print or ebook version. Steer clear of the audiobook!

10 Book Reviews

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

BOOK REVIEW: Who Will Accompany You? by Meg Stafford

60168257._SY475_Title: Who Will Accompany You?

Author: Meg Stafford

Audiobook Length: 6 hours and 10 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Travel, Memoir

Read Start Date: June 1, 2022

Read Finish Date: June 3, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Award-winning memoirist Meg Stafford has an adventurous spirit, and this time she takes us along for the ride. When her daughters venture into terra incognita-one of them meditating in the Himalayas and the other negotiating with the Colombian military-Stafford decides to go along. In the process, she reflects on her own lifetime of wanderlust and what it means for a parent to love and to let go. Generous, insightful, and deeply funny, Stafford is the ideal tour guide for a journey as big as the world and as intimate as the human heart.

My Review: I received this audiobook as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Meg Stafford is a mom who has accompanied her daughters on several trips, namely Bhutan / Nepal and Columbia. We also get to read excerpts from the daughters’ diaries relating to these said trips.

This book made we want to travel again! I used to do it all the time before COVID started and since then I’ve barely gone anywhere, except for maybe once or twice a year. Listening to the stories of these women’s travels, especially in Asia, I wished that I could visit these places.

This was a short, but pleasant listen that made a good companion to exercise / multi tasking.

10 Book Reviews

Professional Reader

Reviews Published

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

BOOK REVIEW: Happy Single Mother by Sarah Thompson

cover248440-mediumTitle: Happy Single Mother

Author: Sarah Thompson

Book Length (Audiobook) : 5 hours 22 minutes

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Parenting & Families

Read Start Date: March 3, 2022

Read Finish Date: March 5, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Netgalley and Link to Goodreads: Being a single mother wasn’t always part of the plan. The fear of it kept me and my family in a situation that wasn’t good for any of us. I never thought it could be the life change we all needed. Yes, it can be exhausting, lonely, and financially tough. But it can also be empowering and joyful, in ways you might never have imagined.

At first, I felt like a big failure. And how was I supposed to feed and clothe my children, keep a roof over our heads, and work wearing something other than pajamas, while also remembering to drink a glass of water at least once a week? But as I began to let go of other people’s expectations, I started to enjoy the freedom of being a single parent: I was liberated, empowered and able to be the authentic mother I wanted to be.

In this book, I share my own experience of single motherhood, alongside insights from fellow solo parents, child psychologists and other experts, providing reassurance and tips to help you:

Raise resilient, emotionally intelligent children

Manage your money

Navigate the world of dating

Forge meaningful friendships

Discover the untold joys of the single-mother life

From one single mother to another, this book celebrates solo parenting and tackles the issues that we face daily, offering a fresh perspective and practical advice for anyone who has ever felt the weight of disappointment and guilt at their single parent status, declared themselves a failure or worried about their children’s ‘outcomes.’

I hope reading about my experiences will help you feel excited and proud to be a single mother.

My Review: I received this audiobook from Netgalley as an ARC in exchange for an honest review. First off, I just love the color scheme of the cover. This is what initially drew my attention to the book, along with the title. As a new mother myself, I am very interested in reading stories about other mothers’ experiences with raising children. Even though I am not a “single mother”, the lessons / advice in this book is for mothers everywhere, because less face it, in most cases women do the lion’s share of the child rearing and household chores, even when not single.

I really liked how the book is a combination of both facts (it was obvious the author did extensive research) and personal stories. I also really liked how the author narrates the story herself. It added a personal touch, as she was essentially telling her own story.

The author mentioned at the beginning that the book was not only for single mothers, but in general for single parents. However, the book was fact heavy on only single women, and I would have liked to see some statistics on single parenting for same sex couples. The author explains a little bit why she didn’t include more about single dads:

To find the word single father in association with anything bad or even mildly questionable is almost impossible. ‘Single father is applauded for the awesome way he handled his daughter’s first period.’ Heralded one national newspaper in 2019. In the same paper, heartwarming photos show single dads and their children and ‘are single fathers irresistible?’ If this stuff isn’t what the eye roll emoji was made for, I don’t know what is. There is no getting around it. We single mothers occupy our very own Salem shaped hole in society’s heart.”

This rings true for me not only with single dad’s, but dads or men in general. Women are expected to be the main caregivers. So if a man so much as changes a single diaper, he’s up for the father of the year award.

The author also discusses how single mothers are not generally depicted favorably in media, television or movies e.g. why it was that mothers were gaining respect in society, but single mothers were still trapped in the time capsule? I really loved the imagery here when describing the concept of single motherhood: “a crumb that had been missed when feminism wiped the table.”

She goes on to say:

Where were the single mothers in our culture who were just normal and okay with children who were fine? The single women with children I saw all around me at school and at work, all of them literate with no obvious heroin problem? Why were single women characterized by their career success and healthy sexual appetite–we were all still basking in the after glow of Sex in the City–while single women who also happened to have children, were no where to be seen, and if they were, were almost always pariahs?”

I really liked how thought provoking this book was. I had never given it too much thought before–the disparity between single women and single mothers–as if the simple act of having children erased the woman as a person, leaving only behind the identity of “mother”. This book made me angry (at society) and impressed at the tenacity of the author and the other single mother’s who’s stories featured in this book.

This book is not only for mothers or single parents. This book is for EVERYONE! I highly recommend this book.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

BOOK REVIEW: Knocked Down by Aileen Weintraub

58604917Title: Knocked Down

Author: Aileen Weintraub

Audiobook Length: 9 hours and 8 minutes

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Autobiography

Read Start Date: February 23, 2022

Read Finish Date: February 25, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Aileen Weintraub has been running away from commitment her entire life, hopping from one job and one relationship to the next. When her father suddenly dies, she flees her Jewish Brooklyn community for the wilds of the country, where she unexpectedly falls in love with a man who knows a lot about produce, tractors, and how to take a person down in one jiu-jitsu move. Within months of saying “I do” she’s pregnant, life is on track, and then wham! Her doctor slaps a high-risk label on her uterus and sends her to bed for five months.

As her husband’s bucolic (and possibly haunted) farmhouse begins to collapse and her marriage starts to do the same, Weintraub finally confronts her grief for her father while fighting for the survival of her unborn baby. In her precarious situation, will she stay or will she once again run away from it all?

My Review: I received this book from Netgalley as an ARC. To be honest, I requested this book in part because it was one of the few audiobooks available on Netgalley, but also because the cover is so eye popping! I love the pink. The title is also very apt. I interpret it to be a play on words. Instead of being “knocked up”, the author is “knocked down” by her “incompetent uterus”, which forces her to endure months and months of bedrest.

Having just given birth to my first baby 6 months ago, this book really resonated with me. Pregnancy is not easy, even when it is normal. I cannot imagine being stuck laying down for months on end! I really liked the author’s candor and humor throughout the memoir. If I had been in her position: everything seeming to fail around her, from her body, to her house, to her new marriage, I am not sure that I could have taken it with such a good nature, nor would I have been able to see the humor in it all.

I also liked that the book was not only about her pregnancy, but it also dived into the author’s past and took an honest look at the relationship with her parents and religion, and the conflicts inherent in both. I feel like this really rounded out the book and gave the reader more insight into the author as a person, not just a pregnant person.

The only con for me was the audiobook narration. It was so monotone, which did not suit the story. I was also not impressed with the accent that the narrator used when speaking the dialogue for Weintraub’s mother and father: she went for the stereotypical “Jewish” accent, which was a tad offensive.

Therefore, I would definitely recommend this book, but only in a written format.

10 Book Reviews

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

BOOK REVIEW: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

19501Title: Eat, Pray, Love

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Length (Audiobook): 15 hours 8 mins

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Travel

Read Start Date: September 9, 2017

Read Finish Date: September 17, 2017

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: A celebrated writer’s irresistible, candid, and eloquent account of her pursuit of worldly pleasure, spiritual devotion, and what she really wanted out of life.

Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned thirty, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She had everything an educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want—a husband, a house, a successful career. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief, and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be.

To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world—all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the absorbing chronicle of that year. Her aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well. In Rome, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the twenty-three happiest pounds of her life. India was for the art of devotion, and with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise cowboy from Texas, she embarked on four uninterrupted months of spiritual exploration. In Bali, she studied the art of balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. She became the pupil of an elderly medicine man and also fell in love the best way—unexpectedly.

An intensely articulate and moving memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment and stop trying to live in imitation of society’s ideals. It is certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.

My Review: Despite the good sounding synopsis above, this book was simply terrible. People rave about this book like it’s the best thing since sliced bread….well not this girl. This book was soooo painful to get through. How did this book receive such good reviews? How is this a movie? This book is a slap in the face to women everywhere. Is this book what people think of women?? I surely hope not.

Basically, this book is about Gilbert’s staged (and pre-paid!) introspective journey to Italy, India and Indonesia. This essentially was just one big marketing ploy. Her editor was like, Hey, Elizabeth, you know what would be a great idea for a book, and would make you a lot of money and increase your “brand”? Why don’t we give you an advance, and pay you to travel around the world, and then you can write about your experiences?

Gilbert’s introspective journey ended up just sounding trite and super whiney. Gilbert, a wealthy writer decides to take a year “off” to travel to Italy (because she likes how the language sounded — really, I’m not kidding — that’s what she said), India ( to go to an ashram) and Indonesia (because a medicine man told her that she will (WTF? Self-fulfilling prophecy much?)) Anyway, even though this book was supposed to be inspiring or something, instead this whole book is about her whining about how hard her divorce was (even though she refuses to say why her divorce was so hard) and that at 34 she must go find herself. I mean, she got a paid year of traveling — boo hoo! Your life is so hard Gilbert. A lot of women have hard lives, but you don’t see us crying about it while enjoying Italy, India, and Indonesia. Try feeling grateful for once in your pampered life.

Throughout the book, Gilbert honestly sounds like a selfish spoiled brat who has major personal issues that she clearly did not solve during the book, even though she’d like to pretend she did. Ugh.

I did not like this book and never saw the movie.

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: I’ll Be OK, It’s Just a Hole in My Head by Mimi Hayes

41032261Title: I’ll Be OK, It’s Just a Hole in My Head

Author: Mimi Hayes

Book Length: 280 pages

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction

Read Start Date: May 8, 2019

Read Finish Date: May 31, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: I’ll be OK, it’s Just a Hole in My Head: A Memoir on Heartache and Head Injury is a humorous and thoughtful cross between Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight and Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy. Shocking and funny, Hayes’ memoir shares the true story of a sudden brain hemorrhage at the age of twenty-two – and the heartache and strength that it took to overcome it. At first Hayes uses a blanket of comedy to cloak herself from her new reality—after all, sending out funny tweets is far easier than admitting to the world that she’s lost basic motor functions like walking and talking. Humbled by the pain, she must admit to herself that that she is no longer the carefree, 20-something planning to marry her high school sweetheart. With this realization, a brave young woman forces herself to confront her new normal—and to quit cracking jokes about catheters.

My Review: I got this book as an ARC from Netgalley. Honestly, I chose to read it as much for the description as the fact that the cover had pretty colors. I wasn’t expecting too much (I’ve read some pretty terrible memoirs on Netgalley recently), and was therefore pleasantly surprised to find that this book rocked! The author, even though she went through a horrendous experience, was funny, and talked about her experience with aplomb.

For example, after her bad breakup with her long term boyfriend, James, she goes out on another date. Hayes writes “our first kiss happened on the second date. We continued to walk around parks and drink coffee, which gave me plenty of opportunity to make a fool of myself. I wore heels on one date and had to take them off because my feet hurt so badly. But what did I say to explain this behavior? ‘Sorry, I need to air out my fee.'” — Ouch (and I am not only talking about feet).

Other times Hayes let us know exactly what she was thinking, and she didn’t let a little thing like being on the toilet stop her! “About eight o’clock that night, I went to the bathroom to sit on the toilet and think about my life choices. And also to take a poop, as one does.” She writes that in these moments, when she had time to contemplate and to think about her life, she was scared. She “had a google-able disease”, and she writes, “this time I could be dying. On a toilet. My last moments could be spent going poop. I was embarrassed. And I was really, really scared. I’d just found out I’d be having brain surgery on Friday. What if my brain and I didn’t have a second date? Was I going to die then? Or what if I die now, three days from the finish line and shitting on this toilet?”

Putting being on the toilet aside, I cannot imagine how scary having a brain tumor must be.

Hayes was brave. Super brave. And I think she was even more brave for having written this story about her experience afterward, and deciding to publish it for people like me to read.

If you decide to give this book a try, you will not regret it.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.