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Posts Tagged ‘Survival’


Monday, July 1st, 2013

Well written


THE FAULT IN OUR STARS will make you laugh until you cry tears of sorrow.  Yes, I am writing about a teenage love story which is a lesson about cancer and children; cancer in teenagers.    I finished reading this book and I turned back to the first page and began to read it again.

John Green has captured the real humiliation, shame, concern and acceptance of the role of suffering; it is about how hope must give way to love if there is any future in all lives, not just lives compacted with pain and in your face reality.   It is witnessing the role of disease within a life, a family, and friendships and the powerful moment when the individual, family or friend can live fully and no longer be defined by the disease.

I needed THE FAULT IN THE STARS when I was a teenager, actually, I needed it when I was even younger and I maybe could have avoided being initiated into the Hall of Shame about being ill.  Instead, I was left with reading and hearing about others who fought bravely and some won (because of their positive spirit) and some lost but succeeded in putting up a gallant fight right up to the painful end.  And then there were the tear jerking stories about family struggles revolving around illness, financial burdens, and those which explained to the siblings that this disease made your brother or sister need more  special attention; why IT is all right to be abandoned and martyred to the cause.

“and you will be nothing but A Sadness in their lives…”

Hazel is one of the STARS of the story and she is fully actualized at seventeen years of age.  She loves rock music and reading and has a best friend who is a fashion maven keeping her posted on the ups and downs of High School when Hazel does not attend because of the tumors in her lungs.

“The urge to make art or contemplate philosophy does not go away when you are sick. Those urges just become transfigured by illness.”

Augustus is the star basketball player who enjoys video games and has lost his leg to bone cancer. They meet at a support group because, “Depression is a side effect of dying.”

These two introduce each other to their favorite books and one of the books ends too abruptly, Hazel and Augustus are obsessed with figuring out  what the author intended at the end of the story and what happened to the other characters after Anna dies (they assume).  It is a triumphant love story.

“We made the story funny.  You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice;”

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is a fictional young adult novel which tells a truth about being a teenager with cancer, it is a sad story told with poignant humor.

Do not miss this one and give your copy to a school library or cancer treatment center nearby after you have read it.

This Book is from my own personal library and my hard bound copy will be headed to a school library.  No one asked or paid me to read and write this review.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site I will receive a few blossoms in my bouquet.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Youtube.com/vlogbrothers (videos which are funny)

Related Reading:
I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag
In The Garden Of Stone
The Clover House
A Little Love Story (Amazon)

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana ~Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is a very interesting story of how 5 sisters survived and succeeded in remaining safe during the occupation of the Taliban of Kabul, Afghanistan.  The book tells how educated women figured out how to remain safe and how to include their community in surviving the strict and oft times horrific treatment by the new regime.   This is a story of how women keep a culture continuing and providing for their family and especially their children’s needs.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is primarily the story of one young entrepreneur who actually takes big risks and blossoms after her father challenges her to help her younger sisters survive and to assist the community in need.   At first, she organizes a book exchange program so that all the women in her neighborhood can keep learning despite the boredom of being sentenced to their own homes.  Her older sister moves into the family home with her 4 young children (one set of newborn, frail twins) and this sister is a talented teacher and dress designer/tailor.   As the men of the households must disappear to remain safe these two sisters, the marketer and the tailor, must think ahead and figure out what needs to be done to feed all the children and to survive.

Under the chadri, with only a tiny screen for vision the young woman, Kamila would venture forth with her 14 year old brother as her chaperone to figure out what their world needed and how this group could provide it.   With the war still going on in the north, it became apparent that the women who could design and sew dresses and pantsuits which complied would get paid for their efforts.

At first the sewing needed to be accomplished by hand, because there were not enough machines and only electricity for a few hours each day.   They taught each other how.  Kamila learned to go to further away markets to obtain fabric which was more cost effective and would increase income.  They set up an apprentice program for other women in the neighborhood and they designed work schedules which would not draw attention to women coming and going from their residence.

Men not related to women were not allowed to speak to a woman and so Kamila and her young brother had to be very careful about how they worked.

I think this book elevates women all over the world.  As Kamila has gone forward to become part of the UN team and a microloan expert in assisting other women to use their skills and build their communities, her story goes on to inspire other women and draw attention to the “quiet” women all over the planet who just get busy and roll up their sleeves and figure out how to make the world a better place.

“Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, the author, is a Fellow and Deputy Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributing editor-at-large at Newsweek and the Daily Beast.  Her reporting on conflict and post-conflict zones – including Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Rwanda – has been published in the New York Times, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and elsewhere.“  from the book jacket


Lemmon at TEDx

This book has been on the New York Times Bestseller List and is well worth the read to increase understanding, lift up women and inspire you to be your best.   I highly recommend the Dressmaker of Khair Khana.

“ A celebration of women in the world over.”    People Magazine

This book was sent to me for review by TLC online book tours and Harper Press
tlclogoIf you purchase anything from this site from Amazon (including Kindle) or Powell’s  I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

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How do you inspire others in your life?  How do you remain safe in tough circumstances?

Related Reading:
Women Wars
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Smartest Woman I Know
American Ingenuity or Crisis Intervention to Success