Running in Heels

February 28, 2016 at 6:40 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

51RViTYQLSL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTitle: Running in Heels

Author: Mary A. Perez

This book was hard for me to read, mainly because – post motherhood – I have discovered that reading about terrible childhoods pulls at all the wrong heartstrings.  Getting through the beginning and wanting to scoop little Mary away from all the mess, while simultaneously wanting to save her mother from herself, was stressful.  The things I loved about The Glass Castle are the same things that, after having a daughter, held me back from finishing The Liar’s Club.  Things I have the stomach to deal with in real life, because it needs done, is not something I have the stomach for in past tense memoirs, because what is done is over with now.

Mary’s memoir remains hopeful and hope filled.  After all the trials and tears, she comes out the other side, not just ok, but happy.  For this reason, I plan to donate my copy (that was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review) to the women’s ministry down the street.  There are so many people who could be blessed by her story.

She’s a quick paced writer, a little repetitive at times, but that is the way it is with memory: certain things stick out and you rehash them trying to make a bit of sense from them.  A mother who doesn’t like to cook is one thing, one who won’t cook is quite another.  As an adult, a mother, a grandmother, I imagine much of this repetition is bafflement and she articulates the differences at different ages through her life.  A child will say “mama doesn’t like cooking” whereas a woman would look back and think, “Why didn’t my mother cook for me?”

Through much of the book, Perez tells you the facts, and leaves you to infer your own conclusions as a nurtured adult.  Through obviously more emotional periods she tells you what she was feeling and leaves you to infer the facts.  It’s a riveting tactic.




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Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime

November 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

thumb_charlottejanebattlesbedtimeTitle: Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime

Author: Myra Wolfe

Illustrator: Maria Monescillo

Since I’ve been back to working in a bookstore full time (for the holidays), kiddo has had a love/hate relationship with her bed.  She’s tired, exhausted even, by the end of her days romping at Grandmom’s house.  But she wants to see me, she wants to chat.  She wants to stay up and play with her Jake & the Neverland Pirate Lego set that isn’t allowed to travel with her on day trips.  She loves Grandmom’s house, but a life in transition is stressful no matter how much fun you’re having.

We love rich colors.  Dark greens, deep turquoises, night time blues… these are the colors that move us.  The complimentary oranges, reds, and purples spark our attention.

Plus, we’ve got a thing for pirates, we two girls.

I couldn’t pass up Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime.  There was a glorious pile of them at the store that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of, and despite having boxes of books in storage, I grabbed this.  After all, kiddo just had a birthday and I didn’t get her a birthday book.  It was picture book fate.

Charlotte Jane belongs on every kiddo’s bookshelf.  Every kid, at some point in their lives, will think it’s a great idea to stay up all night playing.  But every kid will then discover that the next day – they have lost their oomph.  And Charlotte Jane had a lot of oomph to lose.

Pirate lingo, swashbuckling imagination, and true blue sentiments of the realm of childhood, Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime is a classic in its own time… or it should be.  We’ve read it every night since I’ve brought it home.  Sometimes twice.


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Red Badge of Courage and Thoughts

February 2, 2011 at 5:50 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

As a kid, I remember being completely infatuated with Red Badge of Courage.  But there was a time around the ages of nine and ten when anything to do with the Civil War was fascinating.  About the same time when teachers brain wash you with the “history” that all things Union were good and righteous (the way Fanny Price and Jane Eyre are good and righteous), and all things Confederate are sinful and misguided, a nuisance the Union had to deal with like Ramona the Pest before she learns her lesson, leaving out all the important political stuff regarding state’s rights.

Now, as an adult re-reading this elementary school favorite by Stephen Crane, I find my childhood obsessions a bit morbid and unfamiliar.  The only thing I feel inclined to get excited about is the memory of the excitement over the names of two characters: Rogers and Fleming.  My maiden name is Rogers and my real live Hilary Whitney Beaches-like pen pal’s last name is Fleming.  (I only dub her as Hilary because between the two of us I’m the only one loud enough to compete with Bette Midler.)

Looking back, it must have been the tomboy in me, appreciating lines like: “When in a dream, it occurred to the youth that his rifle was an impotent stick, he lost sense of everything but his hate, his desire to smash into pulp the glittering smile of victory which he could feel upon the faces of his enemies.” (Chp. 17)  Because admit it, that’s a sentence worthy of Twain’s Huck Finn – and all little boys want to be Huck Finn, and all little tomboys want to marry him (as Tom Sawyer’s love is reserved for the girls in ruffled dresses).

In short, not until this book have I been so sure in my decision to have Ayla keep reading review journals from the second she can read and write sentences.  I long to know what my specific thoughts were on this book, as I can’t recapture more than a vague idea of having loved it.  What was my ten year old self thinking?  It’s a good, well written book of irony, but nowhere do I truly see the appeal to a third to fourth grade girl since the majority of the book features a lot of running around and “men, punched by bullets, fall[ing] in grotesque agonies.”  (Chp. 19)

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