Author: Crystal Renn
Reading time: 4 days
Hungry is Crystal’s own tale of how wanting to model led to an unhealthy obsession with her weight and an eating disorder. Told by a modeling scout that she had what it takes but needed to lose some crazy amount of weight, Crystal set about dieting so she could achieve her dream. What started out a normal exercise and a healthy diet soon turned into full-blown anorexia. Starving and barely able to function, Crystal tries to make a name for herself in the modeling industry but most people won’t have her. Eventually, unable to take the failure of her career and certain she is going to die if she doesn’t get things under control, Crystal leaves the world of stick-thin models behind and goes on to make a name for herself as one of the highest paid plus-size models in the world. Crystal learns to love her body, curves and all, instead of striving to rid herself of any and all roundness. As a plus size model, she finds not only a love of herself and a new passion for modeling and fashion, but also the love of her life. Hungry is a fabulous story of redemption, even if the problems were of her own making. The writing was a bit juvenile in parts, but she is younger than me so I suppose that is to be expected. This certainly wasn’t the best book I ever read but it was interesting to read about the modeling world from someone who as seen it from both sides of the scale.
Author: Julie Metz
Reading time: 6 days
One day, as Julie sits working in her basement studio, her husband collapses on the kitchen floor above her head, drawn by the noise she find him there gasping for air, after dialing 911 she watches him take his last breath and her world begins to fall apart. Now a single mother with a daughter far too young to live without her father, Julie doesn’t know how to function. They make it through the first few months with the help of friends and family but soon Julie discovers her husband’s dirty secret. He had been cheating on her their entire relationship; even before they were married he was seeing other women. And for the past three years one of those women had been friends with Julie, their daughter’s were best friends. One by one Julie confronts her husband’s other women, several of them spread all across the country. Throughout the process of learning about her husband’s betrayal, Julie starts to heal and begins looking for a man who might complete her family. This is a terribly sad tale of a woman who thought she was married to a wonderful man. But it is also a story of what can grow out of unimaginable sorrow. Hilarious dating mishaps and finding love in the right places are thrown in for good measure.
Title: America By Heart: Reflections on Faith, Family and Flag
Author: Sarah Palin
Reading time: 4 days
Say what you will about Sarah Palin but she is fascinating to me. She is a strong woman, not only a mother but someone who fights for what she believes in even though many don’t agree with her. Palin’s views are not for everyone, they may not even be for me, but I still find her to be amazingly watchable (and readable). America by heart is not a book about Sarah Palin, of course it has bits and pieces of her life in it and she talks about her children and her beliefs, but it is really a book about why she loves America. Filled with several essays about this country, our Constitution, the fearless men and women who serve in our armed forces and the importance of God in our Nation (even for those who don’t believe in Him), America by Heart is an educational and interesting read. It was well written as well as entertaining.
Title: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
Author: Rhoda Janzrn
Reading time: 2 days
Rhoda’s husband leaves her for a man he met on Gay.com, later that same week she is in a debilitating car accident. With no one left to care for her, Rhoda spend some time wheeling herself around the house in an office car then she flies off to spend several months with her parents in the Mennonite enclave where she grew up. Rhoda tells the story of her visit, her marriage and her childhood in humorous snippets. I didn’t know anything about Mennonite culture before I read this book, and I am not sure I know much more now. I’ve never been left for a man named Bob. I’ve not been in a debilitating car wreck. Having never lived through those events I cannot say for sure but if I had to guess, they aren’t funny situations. But when Rhoda tells them they are. A wonderfully lighthearted memoir about life falling apart and the family who will always be there for you.
Title: Summer at Tiffany
Author: Marjorie Hart
Reading time: 2 days
Summer at Tiffany is the story of two women, Marjorie and Marty, who leave Iowa to spend the summer in New York City. After looking for employment in many of the fancy stores they decide to try Tiffany. At first, they are told that women do not work at Tiffany but after one of their references turns out to be a political bigwig, that position is reconsidered. It doesn’t hurt their case that there is a shortage of available men due to WWII. They are offered jobs as the first women to work as pages at Tiffany. They see some famous people, they are there when a plane lost in the fog flies into the empire state building, they are in Times Square with two million other people who it is announced that Japan surrenders. This memoir was entertaining but it lacked any sort of substance. I thought they would face some sort of hardship or learn something important about themselves; instead they spend nights at fancy dinner clubs and weekends at the beach. It was a well written book but there was no drama, no problems to overcome, nothing to keep your attention on the story.
Author: Larry Levin
Reading time: 3 days
Oogy is a book about a dog. But he is not just any dog. Oogy was used as a bait dog when he was just a tiny puppy. Bait dogs are used as practice for fighting dogs, they set the fighters loose with the smaller dogs (or cats or any other animal) and let the fighter kill the small dog. I’m not actually sure what the point of this is but apparently it is something that happens a lot. Anyway, Oogy was used as bait. Unfortunately (at least in the short-term) Oogy didn’t die. Instead he waited in a pool of his own blood for several days before a police raid brought him help. With a crushed skull, one of his ears torn off and a chuck of his jaw bone missing, the emergency vets did not think he stood a chance. Against all odds, Oogy not only survived the surgery but when on to live a happy and fulfilling life. He was adopted by a wonderful family and, unlike so many abused dogs, never turned violent. There was no fancy writing in this book, just the simple well-told story of a dog who defied all odds. It was a beautiful story. And, unlike so many of the animal books I’ve read lately, actually focused on the animal is was written about instead of peripheral characters that have nothing to do with the animal the book is supposedly about.
Title: I was Told There’d be Cake
Author: Sloane Crosley
Reading time: 3 days
I was told there’d be Cake is a book of essays. Mostly the essays are about Sloane’s life and the strange situations she finds herself in. While certainly entertaining these snippets leave a lot to be desired. There is often no resolution at all, like after the dinner party when one of her friends pooped on her floor. The chapter ends with her deciding she will never know and that it was not something done to her. How can someone pooping on your floor not be about you? Do people often poop on floors on accident? Anyway, the essays were funny, they were well written, and sometimes they even made me laugh out loud. But the book wasn’t good enough to be completely engaging. I’m not sure what exactly was missing but there was something that kept me from enjoying this book as much as I would have liked to. That being said, it is still a worthwhile read. I was never bored and I finished the book without an trouble, it just could have been better.
Author: Jesse A. Saperstein
Reading time: 2 days
Jesse Saperstein has Asperger’s. For much of his life this was not yet a condition that existed so he was just considered weird, immature and awkward. It was not until Jesse was ready to leave for college that he was actually diagnosed with AS despite the fact that he had been in therapy for most of his life. Apserger’s was in the DSM IV so even trained professionals did not know how to help him effectively. Atypical was not a full memoir, each chapter was about a specific chapter in Jesse’s life. I suppose they would be closer to essays than anything else. I learned a lot of AS reading this book but other than that I didn’t find much value in it. I find it to have been a waste of my money and, though it was a fast read, a waste of my time. I wasn’t really interested in or entertained by this book. I rushed through it to get on to something else. I can’t really point to anything that made this book bad, the writing style was actually quite good, but I didn’t really enjoy it and neither did my husband. I’d imagine you could find better books about Asperger’s if that is something you are interested in reading about, I wouldn’t bother with this one.