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Posts Tagged ‘Mother’s death’

ANOTHER BROOKLYN: A Young Adult Novel ~Jacqueline Woodson

Monday, August 29th, 2016

August is a young adult now with a PhD. in Anthropology who encounters a friend from the 1970s and it brings back memories of the friendships she had growing up in Brooklyn and how important Sylvia, Gigi, and Angela were to her life and the streets of their neighborhood.   It is here that we enter an almost dream sequence of events, which enable strength and survival though all the times of growing; creating a very special read.

“Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children, including the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DRAMING, which won the 2014 National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award.  Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.  She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.” (Cover)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down.  It just seemed to present so many discussion questions that I wanted to share with others.  I mentioned that TLC Book Tours http://tlcbooktours.com/2016/07/jacqueline-woodson-author-of-another-brooklyn-on-tour-august-2016/  had sent me a copy for review to my Children’s Librarian daughter and she said she knew the author well and has used Woodson’s books quite often with her middle school classes and “Yes! All her books include a trauma and are open to great discussions.”   I will share my uncorrected proof copy with her library.

August’s story travels from her beginnings in Tennessee to the adjustment of moving to New York.  From rural tranquil to noisy, dangerous city streets, she finally joined her brave and adventurous girl friends in feeling bold and happy when they were together,to coping with the advances of males.  August did not know for years that her mother back in Tennessee had died and she kept telling her younger brother that their mother was coming soon.  Father and brother got religion and the whole family always had enough food, there was that?

One of the reviews on the cover was by Ann Patchett, another best selling author and I had just finished reading her marvelous STATE OF WONDER, and I thought her description was so fabulous I needed to share:

“Another Brooklyn is a sort of fever dream, containing both the hard truths of life and the gentle beauty of memory.  The story of a young girl trying to find herself in the midst of so many conflicting influences and desires swallowed me whole.  Jacqueline Woodson has such an original vision, such a singular voice.  I loved this book.”

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Related:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Dancing In the Shadows
My Mothers Funeral

THINGS YOU’VE INHERITED FROM YOUR MOTHER: A Novel ~Hollie Adams

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

“In her startlingly funny first novel, Hollie Adams takes the conventional wisdom about ‘likeable’ literary heroines and shoves it down an elevator shaft.” (cover)

THINGS YOU’VE INHERITED FROM YOUR MOTHER begins and ends with “Tuesday your mother died. Ovarian Cancer.”  It is a very short book with a book within it or several self –help books within it’s covers, the longest being about the containment and removal of mice within your home; beneficial and humorous in length and depth of writing and success.

Carrie is very confused after the death of her mother and about her life at the current moment.  She is the mother of a 16 year old, Kate, who was born when Carrie was 16.  She is making sure everyone is aware she is “over” her husband, and it is a good thing because his current girl friend is pregnant with his baby and they are getting married.  They want stepdaughter Kate to be part of the family too.  Carrie then proposes to Ben the new boyfriend and decides to have the wedding at Disney World.  Carrie also chooses to contest the dress code at the office and gets fired.  Izzy, Carrie’s rational, organized sister becomes the official truth teller of all the events and stories going around, and no one is actually sure what is real and what is fantasized or created out of Carrie’s mind.

THINGS YOU’VE INHERITED FROM YOUR MOTHER has some very interesting sit-com kind of humor and some good snarky word play.  Things are not going smoothly for Carrie’s transition to being an orphan and then she mixes more alcohol into the not smoothly running transition.  Carrie’s grip on self and reality is not fully realized and it is not a Calgary version of the Gilmore Girls.  There is hope for Carrie as she reaches the end of her mourning story and the self-help book prints out the first line.

The only thing the reader is sure of is that Poncho her Mother’s cat is clearly Carrie’s inheritance and he eats peanut butter not mice!

A very different story and will it will chuckle you to the possibility of a redemption – or maybe just a recovery.

TLC Book Tours asked me to read, review and post my review of this book.  Sometimes one just needs to trust and THINGS YOU”VE INHERITED FROM YOUR MOTHER, I trusted to be good and humorous and I was not disappointed.

About Hollie Adams:

“Hollie Adams is a Windsorite living in Alberta, where she teaches writing and literature. She has studied creative writing at the University of Windsor and has a PhD in English from the University of Calgary. Her writing has been published in several Canadian periodicals including Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, Carousel, The Windsor Review, and Filling Station, and online at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother is her first novel.”

Related:
About A Girl
The Divorce Diet 
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
You Are Now Less Dumb

WILD: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail ~ by Cheryl Strayed

Monday, August 13th, 2012


I thoroughly enjoyed reading WILD and was very happy that one of my book groups chose it for this month’s selection.   It is a good read and I find it enjoyable to discover the route of various “self-discovery” biographies and in discovering how others have made significant changes in their lives.

I especially enjoyed WILD, because I heard Cheryl Strayed being interviewed on a radio show and she included in her discussion why she took some time to integrate the lessons of the journey before writing her experience and getting it published. I enjoyed the author’s including additional stories and more information on the Pacific Coast Trail.

After Cheryl’s mother died of a very aggressive form of cancer, the author was having difficulty finding her inner self.  She was wandering and exploring, but unable to write the last paper to graduate from college.  At 18, she was trying to hold the family together and walk in her mother’s shoes and keep everything connected to assist her siblings.  Strayed and her husband spent some time moving around and trying on various locations to see if leaving Minnesota would help her find her way.  She struck off on her own to Portland, Oregon and there disappeared into a heroin addiction.  Loving husband to the rescue and detox later she came across the field guide to the Pacific Crest Trail Book 1: California.   It drew her in and captured her heart and soul.

At 22, she divorced her husband and bought a “too big” backpack and boots from REI in Minnesota.  She did not work out or study to make preparations, she just purchased what the field guide suggested, made up boxes with new supplies for each rest stop, and dropped $20 in a Ziploc baggie inside each re-supply box.

Her friend in Portland shipped the resupply boxes as she called and let her know the next location.

Cheryl was determined to do the 1,000 miles of the trail alone, beginning in Mojave, California and within 4 months’ time.  She enjoyed being in nature, contemplating, singing, and discovering the wild life and beasties of the trail.   She met a number of interesting people and has stayed in touch with some of them.   She strengthened her resolve and problem-solved a number of life-changing situations. I often felt as though I was right there under the stars, too hot and too cold.  I could identify with the blisters and lost toe nails each step of her journey.  I think I even enjoyed her ice cream cone when she reached the Columbia River as much as she did.

What a great summer read.  What a great opportunity to witness how someone else explored their values, their relationships, and their perceptions.   Her tributes and sharing of her mother’s gifts and bounty were worth the whole read.  That Cheryl found her center in writing on this venture; one can tell that this medium will keep her moving forward on her journey to her authentic self.

OPRAH put WILD on her book group list.

I gave this book a good solid 4 and hope you will pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did.  I enjoyed feeling part of nature and being well grounded on that 2 foot wide trail!

No one asked me to review this book and it was a Kindle purchase which I added to my personal library.

If you purchase anything from Amazon from this site or Powell’s I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Thank you.

Related Reading:
Poser
My Stroke of Insight 
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
The Paper Garden