Tag Archive | Memoir

Dryland

Addiction is something we don’t like to fess up to. Whether it’s over spending, over eating, or drinking we all have our own personal demons. When I agreed to review Dryland I don’t think I glanced at what it was about since I knew it was a memoir and I love memoirs. This memoir is about Nancy and her alcohol addiction.

Nancy loved swimming since she was little. She was talented and won a lot of swim meet awards growing up. She almost made it to the 88′ olympics. Winning made her Dad proud, so she focused on swimming until her swimming career came to an end. Not having swimming as her anchor she signed up for the Peace Corps. Nancy traveled to different countries where she had different adventures in the process picking up a stronger addiction to drinking. Culturally in the countries she was in it was socially acceptable to drink.  It took Nancy going to the Middle East where the severity of her addiction slapped her in the face. 

This memoir is honest, raw, funny and not an easy read. For Nancy to come clean about her near deadly alcohol addiction isn’t easy. It’s tough enough to just admit to yourself you have an addiction, let alone publish it for the whole to read. There is a risk in being judged, or misunderstood, but what Nancy has done is graciously opened a door for conversation on this vital topic. No matter what your addiction might be, Nancy’s memoir of her journey to sobriety will keep you cheering as she swims her way to victory. I received my copy for free of charge from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. I recommend this book for anyone needing inspiration to quit an addiction. Thank you Nancy for your authentic, lovely self sharing your struggles, but most of all your triumphs.

Forty Autumns

Forty Autumns is a tour de force. This stunning memoir is about the author, Nina Willner’s mother’s life growing up in East Germany during the Cold War and escaping while she still could. I have not read much about the Cold War, but this memoir packs a punch. It’s a tad hefty of a tome, but Nina’s mom, Hanna’s life is intriguing and sobering. Nina includes personal photographs which brings her mom’s life and her own from black and white into full color. From Kansas to the Emerald city it describes the heartache of what it’s like growing up under communism to knowing what freedom is like.

What would it be like to be separated from your family by a wall, armed guards and police? To know you could be shot just by stepping a toe over the dividing line? To live in a world where every move you make is analyzed to make sure you don’t slip up, to be given the impression your immediate world is superior, when deep down you wonder if the other side is just as awful as you’ve been lead to believe. Unless you’ve been raised in a communist country this sounds surreal, but to think this was the norm in East Germany only 28 years ago is scary.  This memoir is a powerful reminder to be thankful for our freedoms if you live in a free country. Not all country’s are free, but never give up hope if you don’t live in a free country. Thank you Nina for such a powerful testimony to your family’s strength for never giving up.

This memoir was given to me for free in exchange for my review from TLC Book Tours, care of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. To purchase this captivating memoir please go check it out here. If you love to read and have a blog where you like to share your review of books you love feel free to check out TLC Book Tours

Love That Boy

A book about the relationship between a father and son sounded just right to me. Love That Boy is about political columnist Ron Fournier and his son Tyler’s relationship. Like every father out there Ron has expectations and hopes for his kids, but Tyler is unique in his own way. Not until he’s 12 do his parents find out that Tyler has Aspergers. This memoir is Ron’s journey to understand Tyler better and learn how to be a better parent through going on a Presidential themed road trip with Tyler. 

If you’ve struggled with feeling like you can’t measure up to your parent’s expectations then this book might make you feel better. Growing up I always felt like I couldn’t measure up to my own dad’s expectations for me. Sometimes praise felt hollow or forced, or worse I felt patronized. Who doesn’t hate feeling that way? 

Ron’s memoir is candid and provides a lot of fatherly insight into how it can be hard to relate to a child when you have polar opposite interests. You are an extrovert and your son is an introvert. I’m a mix of both intro and extrovert, but my dad is more extrovert. He can’t understand that after a few hours of intense socializing I need my me alone time or watch out for cranky lady. 

I think this book will help parents no matter if their child is special needs or not. I think this book gives great insight into a parent’s internal struggle in trying to relate to their child. It’s good to see the viewpoint from the parent and not just the child. I received Love That Boy, from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest assessment.

All Our Waves Are Water 


I didn’t even read the blurb about All Our Waves Are Water by Jaimal Yogis. All I knew was it was a memoir and I love memoirs. This book is about Jaimal and his search for life’s meaning through going on trips to India, Bali, San Francisco, etc. He was raised Buddhist by his parents, but throughout his schooling he is exposed to other faiths and beliefs. Jaimal discovers that the scared can be found in many other faiths, even places he didn’t expect like the wailing wall in Jerusalem. He also, discovers that the most unlikely people can wake you up to realize what you truly have when you all you feel is blah about your life. One love of Jaimal’s life is surfing. It’s his way to regroup, get exercise and hone his surfing skills. He uses surfing as a way to describe how he has found the meaning of life.

At first this book was alright, but nearing the end I got sucked in and then I was on the last page wanting to read more. This book made me laugh and think outside the box. I’ve never been surfing, but after this book I might want to be brave and try it one day. I received my free ARC copy of All Our Waves Are Water  from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest assessment. If you are interested to get your own copy click here to purchase it from HarperCollins.

Lion


I saw the movie, “Lion,” before I bought the book. Usually I like to read a book first before seeing the movie, but in this case I’m glad I did. The movie is so verbatim of the memoir I felt like I was just reading the movie via words vs visually through a movie.
This is the memoir of Saroo from India getting lost and separated from his brother Guddu at five years old. He begs to go out and help his brother gather what food they can find for their family.  Being little Saroo is sleepy with it being late at night so he rests on a train station bench. Guddu tells him to stay put and he’ll be right back, but when Saroo wakes up his brother is nowhere to be found. He looks around the station and even in some of the trains.  Thinking his brother will find him inside one, Saroo lays down for more sleep. The next thing he knows is that waking up the train is in motion and he’s stuck on the train.

Saroo winds up far from home with a limited vocabulary of how to express where his home is and who his family is. A few people try to help him with no success locating his family, so he winds up in a scary orphanage. Thankfully a nice Australian couple want to adopt him, so Saroo gets to fly for the first time. His new parents are loving and patient. Saroo even gains a brother, another adoptee from India. 

Saroo keeps his memories of home in the back of his mind, to never forget them. He loves and thrives in his new home, country and family. After college he decides he wants to find his family. How to find it with the minimal information he remembers as a little five year old? Welcome the lovely technology of Google Earth.

This memoir is beautifully written. It tugs at your heart, your sense of what makes up a family and how memories can bring miracles. Go see the movie first though. You won’t regret it.