Memoir Review: Grace, Gold and Glory by Gabrielle Douglas

March 19, 2013

I really enjoyed reading olympic gymnast, Gabrielle Douglas’ book.  My family and I loved watching her spirit and skill in the olympics.  My youngest daughter’s name is Gabrielle, so it added an extra dimension to our interest in following her.

What I loved most about reading her book is the positive outlook she has at such a young age.  Though she has had many challenges, she was honest about her struggles, and grateful to those who helped her along the way.  It is amazing to see how many people supported her on her journey, and aided in her being the success she is today.  At the same time, she was able to persevere with her faith, and inner strength, holding on to her dream.

This is a great book for both adults and tweens/teens.  It is an inspiring book for an athlete and people who have high aspirations.  Gabrielle is an example of someone who continues to be true to her values, whether she is struggling with daily life or a woman of great success.  Thanks Gabrielle for sharing with us.

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Loung Ung Memoir series

September 23, 2012

When I am looking for Memoir books to read, I often scan the latest memoir books for something that speaks to me.  I came across Loung Ung’s book Lulu in the Sky (book 3) and later read First They Killed My Father (book 1) and Lucky Child (book 2).  I appreciate her writing a series of books, because I seek to understand how people make it through difficult circumstances and how it impacts them later.  Often a book will share feelings not always shared when talking to people one on one.  The beauty of writing is that it can capture the heart of our story and the intense emotions and thoughts that exist within us.

Loung Ung’s books share about her horrible experience in Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge and her travels to America.  Loung and her family had to leave their home because her father’s work in the government threatened their security.  They led secret lives, hiding their status and moved around frequently. They often had little food and lived in fear of dying and losing loved ones.  Loung encountered extensive trauma and challenging circumstances, even being trained as a child soldier.  As I read about the deep pain she encounters, I am all the more drawn to her spirit and the struggles within.  Her two later books, continue her story and her relocation to America.  Unfortunately the struggles don’t end, as she adapts to a new culture and the losses of leaving loved ones behind.  The last book shares about finding and receiving love and working through her traumatic experiences.  Though an extremely difficult read at times, it truly is a story that needs to be shared.

I could relate to the humanity of Loung. Her struggles to make relationships work, to deal with things she wished she didn’t have to experience, and her desire to make a difference out of the darkness.  I can’t say I have the ability to fully understand the impact of such trauma which can make it easier for me to ignore the realities of war all around us.  Reading memoirs is a way for me to be educated about what is going on (past and present) in different parts of the world and to find a way to make a difference in spite of my fibromyalgia and other limitations.  My day-to-day life has been enriched by her books, my ability to see what matters in life, how the small and big things do matter, and how much my life is enriched by people of other cultures and experiences.  It makes me aspire to work through my own challenges and being willing to look honestly at things I would rather not face. I am thankful Loung was willing to share her story with us – it won’t be forgotten.


Rocking the Pink Memoir review

September 23, 2012

I really enjoyed reading Laura Roppe’s book Rocking The Pink.  It is a story about her journey with breast cancer and how it inspired her to follow her dreams.  I love her honesty in a compelling and humorous way, allowing me to laugh at the darker aspects of life, while recognizing the grief of it.  Her story to becoming a rock story reads almost like a fairy tale, except of course the big C wood.  Laura writes in a witty way about people and life’s circumstances, sharing her experiences without every criticizing other people.  I enjoyed her positive stance and her strive to follow her heart in a way that considers other people.  Her relationships with her husband, daughters, cousin and fellow cancer survivor, Jane revealed her loving  and kind manner and made you love her all the more.

I connected to Laura’s story by her illness, her dreams and her positive aspect.  Though I can’t say I share the successful rock star life, it doesn’t prevent me from dreaming of making a difference through writing.  I was inspired by her ability to find the very best in her close relationships and made me love my husband all the more for his love and support.  Having two daughters, I connected with the motherhood piece, the fear of not being there, not giving enough, and balancing your own dreams.  I generally feel less alone reading the stories of others experiencing some kind of medical crisis, learning from their ability to capture their feelings, hopes and fears.  So thank you Laura for sharing your story through your book and music.


The Distance Between Us book review

September 11, 2012

I was so captivated by The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande that I read the entire book in a day.  Great opportunity for a day of heat and ice to ease my chronic pain while reading an amazing book.  Reyna is a great story-teller, having the ability to put the reader into the story, visualizing the scenery while feeling the strong emotions and conflicts that Reyna struggles with.  Her story is a difficult one to hear, separation from parents and siblings, betrayal, abandonment, physical and mental abuse, poverty and lack of the basic necessities.  However, Reyna continues to hope for something more, to be loved, to learn from her experiences, to have opportunities and to find the positive in difficult situations.  Her sister,  Mago, is her lifeline at many times.  Giving unconditional love and support at such a young age.  Reyna takes us back to her history, sharing the culture of Mexico and her long transition to America.  She brings us to her childhood state, while also sharing of things she sees more clearly as an adult.

Reyna is an amazing writer.  I would highly recommend her book.  I am hoping she will also continue her story as I would love to hear about her life after graduating from college.


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