All tagged Memoir

Amy Poehler's Yes Please is Pretty Fantastic, Y'all

I have a weird relationship with celebrity-penned books. I loved Mindy Kaling's book and cannot wait for her follow-up, out next year. I really loved Esther Williams' memoir, Million Dollar Mermaid. But, I haven't been a fan of many others. (Including the one written by the female comedian that everyone but me adores.) 

However, I do love Amy Poehler.

I can tell you my very clear memory of first being exposed to her: It was the late-1990s and I was still able to stay up and watch late night television and she played Andy Richter's Conan-obsessed little sister and it was bonkers. I'm certain I'd never seen anyone quite like her before. When she joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, I even managed to stay up and watch her quite a bit. 


Inspiring & Hopeful - Finding Me: A Life Reclaimed by Michelle Knight

That day I disappeared in 2002, not many people even seemed to notice. I was twenty-one, a young mom who stopped a a Family Dollar store one afternoon to ask for directions. For the next eleven years I was locked away in hell. That’s the part of my story you may already know. There’s a whole lot more that you don’t.

— Michelle Knight, Finding Me

A Life Reclaimed - these three simple words give voice to the heart and soul of Michelle Knight’s memoir, Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed, written with Michelle Burford. Less than half the book speaks of the horror that she, Amanda Barry and Gina DeJesus faced each day while held in captivity by Ariel Castro, who Knight refers to as "the dude." 

In concise and clear words that never softens the reality of her experience nor overly dwells on it, she communicates the fear and the pain she knew as her constant companion during her years chained and held captive at the whim of the dude. She held tight to her memories of better times when she cradled her beloved son close, laughing and playing games with him.

Recommendation Roundup: April 2014

Clearly, I had a much better reading month than my CEFS compatriots, with a number of books I quite enjoyed. 

By far, my most surprising read was Zac & Mia, which is one of those review copies that I downloaded on impulse because the folks at Harper Collins have me auto-approved for their books. Little did I know that it had won the Text Prize in Australia a couple of years ago, because that would've been my first clue that it was a good one. It's getting a lot of comparisons to The Fault in Our Stars, but I'm not sure that's an apt one, though the subject matter is similar. If I were to compare it stylistically to a "cancer book," I'd probably say it's more similar to The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder, but that's not that best comparison either. It's actually just unique, with a distinctive voice and style. 

“Yo, padre!” he’d say. He’d challenge the priest about the unscientific impossibility of the miracles and when the priest continued to ignore him, he’d get mad and yell out something about Pope Alexander VI’s bastard children, or Pope Leo X’s hedonism, or Pop Nicholas III’s simony  or the murders committed in the name of the Church during the Spanish Inquisition. But what could you expect, he’d say, from an institution run by celibate men who wore dresses. 

Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsThese words flowing from the always opinionated mouth of Jeannette Walls’ father made her worship time memorable and short. 

She begins her memoir, The Glass Castle, speaking not of her early childhood memories, but rather of herself as an adult sitting in a taxi worrying about whether she had overdressed for the evening’s events when she spots her mother digging through a dumpster. They’re only fifteen feet apart but in truth, a world of differences separate them. She watches as her mother hoists items from the dumpster, examines them and then laughs with glee at what pleases her. Her mother’s hair hangs tangled, dirty and matted while her eyes sink deep into her face making her sockets look like caves.

Feeling panic rising in her chest, Jeannette slides down into her seat and asks the driver to take her back to her home on Park Avenue. She’s come a long way from poverty, hunger, icicles hanging from the ceiling as she struggles to stay warm. She fears that someone going to the same lavish party as she will spot her if she speaks to her mother. Then her secret would be out for all to see the darkness from where she came.

This memoir struck a chord deep within me.