"If you can write, that's great. If you can tell a story, that's even greater. But if you can work a resilient premise into both, you're worth digging to find."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

At Wit’s End by Erma Bombeck

Synopsis: A memoir of the pearls and perils of wifedom and motherhood.

Writing Style: First person satire.

Pacing: Moderately fast.

Personal Highlights: I know this is a relic memoir, first published 1965, yet the premise is still relevant. “I wonder why the good Lord gave the job of having children to women?” –WoW. & So there it is. Proof? Women blaming God, nature or men, or all, for this inherent station in life? Can this book be credited for how, where, when and why the women’s movement was birthed?

The writing is wonderful. The reflections are quirky, sarcastic, humorous and at times passionately divine. My favorite moments were the stamp collection… the golf game… and I squealed laughing on that part about ‘why the bass weren’t biting’. Men vs women on road trips gave me a good laugh, even if that one, sarcastic as it was, was kind of true. Bombeck’s memoir is definitely worth reading, given how initially I was at my wit’s end reading what started out mounting to the ‘boredom of housewifery,’ all to catch me by surprise culminating in truly redeeming testimonies ...and ending.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage

Synopsis: Novel of an HIV-positive woman finding a suitor among unexpected craziness.

Writing Style: First person modish.

Pacing: Moderate.

Personal Highlights: Delightful, near brilliant opening; humorous and unpredictable right before the story gets predictable, and protracted. Questions that will keep readers reading; What’s Eddie’s secret? How will Eddie respond to Ava’s news? Will Joyce get to keep little Imani, a baby orphaned to her? And what’s the deal with the new pastor and First Lady who loaf into town like czars, albeit carrying all that baggage?

The romance part of the story was a favorite, certainly a satisfying novel I would recommend to anyone looking for a pliable tale to curl up with.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson

Synopsis: Memoir of an Academy Award and Emmy-nominated actress.

Writing Style: First person, jargon laden.

Pacing: Fast.

Personal Highlights: Flags flashed wild, top to bottom high and low all over the pages while reading this yet, humbling memoir.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Unbreak My Heart by Toni Braxton

Synopsis: Memoir of a celebrity songstress’s upbringing, family and musical career.

Writing Style: Mild first person candid.

Pacing: Lyrical Moving.

Personal Highlights: It was amazing how much of a page-turner Toni’s story turned out to be, though in a lyrical moving way. Honest at the core it became hard to put this book down. Like ‘Breathe Again’ she shares her religious upbringing, her ‘Joe Jackson’-like mother, her relationships and health issues, career highlights and financial meltdowns…and more…in this woodsy heartbreaking voice. Her background, particularly her educational pursuits…and reading between the lines, her $600K personality, really surprised me. Overall, most charitable of Toni’s lyrical story was her description of how music fulfilled her… ‘like an unscratchable itch relieved.’ Beautiful.

Choices and Illusions by Eldon Taylor

Synopsis: An expose on self-improvement tools and techniques to realize a higher self-actualization.

Writing Style: Reporter.

Pacing: Moderate.

Personal Highlights: Choices and Illusions weeds through years of research to champion mental fitness. The content is generous, presented in neutralizing stories, physiological models, modest examples and products such as, validated Innertalk therapies. The elephant example, along with the ‘Good Luck, Bad Luck…who knows’ short story and the ‘storing cortisol’ enlightenment were some of my personal favorites.