If we’re lucky, we all encounter at least one person whose life elevates and inspires our own. For Daniel Wallace, that was his longtime friend and brother-in-law, William Nealy. Seemingly perfect, impossibly cool, William was James Dean, Clint Eastwood, and MacGyver all rolled into one: an acclaimed outdoorsman, a famous cartoonist, an accomplished author, a master of all he undertook. William was the ideal that Daniel sought to emulate, and the person who gave him the courage to become a writer.
But when William took his own life at age forty eight, Daniel’s heartbreak led him to commit a grievous act of his own, a betrayal that took him down a path into the tortured recesses of William’s past. Eventually a new picture emerged of a man with too many secrets and too much shame to bear.
I wanted to like this. I read 20% of it, and I enjoyed the voice and the action—but I did not like the narrator/author at all. Selfish and self-absorbed people are not my cup of tea, and the narrator was both of these things, so I just could not stand to read any more of this. I get that a certain amount of self-absorption is inherent in memoirs, but the tone and amount of it present in this just wasn’t for me.
(Galley courtesy of Algonquin Books in exchange for an honest review.)
Title: I Found My Tribe Author: Ruth Fitzmaurice Genre: Non-fiction, memoir Rating: 4/5
Ruth has five active children, and a husband, Simon, with Motor Neuron Disease. Simon can only communicate with his eyes. Ruth’s life is filled with children, caregivers and healthcare professionals, and her love for Simon, but she needs more.
Fortunately, Ruth has her tribe: The Tragic Wives’ Swimming Club, a group of close friends who help each other through the obstacles they face every single day in their lives, and the waves and frigid water they face in their swimming. Swimming in Greystones cove saves them, and their favorite thing is moonlight swims in the ocean under the full moon.
Sometimes, the most unlikely things can save you.
I think a lot of us are looking for our “tribe.” The fortunate ones find them. Ruth is blessed to have friends who both surround her in her difficulties—and they are so very difficult—and who can fully sympathize because of their own similar circumstances. Ruth is an amazingly strong woman: she’s raising FIVE kids essentially alone, while writing full-time and caring for a husband who needs total care and an army of medical staff. I cannot even imagine the kind of strength this takes. This book is a wonderful read about the friends who help us shine a light into the darkness surrounding us.
Cherie Kephart left her home in California to travel the world. In Zambia, as a member of the Peace Corps, she became very ill and almost died. Having cut her stint in the Peace Corps short, she returned home, eager to find out what was wrong with her. Instead, she only grew sicker.
For years, Cherie suffered from various symptoms, with unrelieved exhaustion, nausea, and unrelenting pain. She saw countless doctors and healers, but all of them were baffled. Despite her suffering Cherie remained determined to find answers and beat her illness to reclaim her life.
This is a powerful story of one woman’s determination to not just survive her illness, but to thrive. The first step is figuring out what her illness is. Cherie suffers for years, seeking help wherever she can, as she struggles to keep herself alive. She writes with strength and brutal honesty, taking the reader through the depths of her suffering until she emerges on the other side.
Cherie Kephart was raised in Venice, California, but served in the Peace Corps in Zambia, where she fell ill. After returning home, she struggled for years to find out what was wrong with her.A Few Minor Adjustmentsis her story.
(Galley provided by Bazi Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)
Cory Martin wrote for the hit show The O.C., and she also wrote three young adult novels based on the show. Now she is a yoga instructor and the author of Love Sick, which hit shelves on February 9th.
Cory Martin has just about everything she ever wanted, a growing career in Hollywood, her own apartment, and yoga. She doesn’t have a man, but she has a great group of friends, and at 28, she’s got time to meet “the one.” Then she gets news from her doctor she never dreamed about: she has MS.
From having it all, now Cory feels like she has nothing. Endless rounds of doctor’s appointments for a body that has betrayed her, and she’s alone. Who’s going to want to marry someone with MS? So Cory starts dating, searching for Mr. Right as she struggles to come to terms with her new reality.
Love Sick is a poignant, emotional true story about a young woman’s struggle with a serious illness and how she comes to terms with her new reality amidst the escapades of dating and life in California.
(Galley courtesy of Write Out Publishing via NetGalley.)
When Marceline was fifteen, she and her father were arrested by the government. He told her that he would not come back. They were sent to concentration camps, he to Auschwitz, and she to Birkenau. The three kilometers separating them might as well have been a million. Occasional glimpses of her father kept her going, but the note he managed to get to her kept her hope alive even in her horrendous, terrifying surroundings. She made it out of the camp alive and came home. Her father did not come back.
But You Did Not Come Back is a novella-length letter that Marceline wrote to her father, the man she never knew as an adult. Her experiences in the concentration camp colored the rest of her life, and through it all, her father’s memory lived on, her grief over him shadowing every day. Eventually, Marceline found her calling as an activist for refuges and as a documentary filmmaker.
Her heart-wrenching tale is filled with emotion and sorrow, grief and determination, in this memoir of one of the darkest times in history.
(Galley provided by Grove Atlantic via NetGalley.)