Family in Six Tones: A Refugee Mother, an American Daughter [Book Review]

September 15, 2020

Family in Six Tones by Lan Cao and Harlan Margaret Van Cao

Family in Six Tones by Lan Cao (cover) Image: a mom holding a young girl

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Refugee, Vietnamese American, Vietnam War, Mother/Daughter

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks, #Netgalley #PenguinBooks @FSBassociates @AnnaSacca for a complimentary e ARC of #FamilyinSixTones for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Lan Cao escaped Viet Nam (and the Vietnam War) as a refugee when she was a child. The sacrificial love of her parents and the hopes they had for her future caused them to put her on a plane alone to travel to America to live with a distant relative. Leaving Viet Nam was traumatic and adjusting to a new family and culture added to the trauma, especially since she thought she was going on a brief vacation. Lan endures extreme culture shock (it’s especially sad that she can’t figure out how to open her milk carton at lunch), completes school, becomes a lawyer, marries, and has a child. Her daughter, Harlan, navigates two cultures and rails against her mom’s overprotectiveness. In this memoir, we hear both perspectives. As we understand that Lan’s fearfulness for her daughter is the result of her own childhood trauma, we also sympathize with Harlan and her need to fit into her American culture and be allowed some freedom. This is an “own voices” story of loss, trauma, a mother/daughter relationship, and the refugee experience.

My Thoughts:

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The Salt Path [Book Review]

July 24, 2020

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (cover) Image: two people hike a steep cliff next to the ocean

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Nature

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Moth and Raynor have been married thirty-two years when they suddenly lose their livelihood and home. At the same time, Moth is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Soon to be homeless and with nothing to lose, they impulsively embark on a six hundred thirty mile hike along the South West Coast Path also known as the Salt Path. How did they fare? Can the answer to their life crisis be found in extreme hiking?

My Thoughts:

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Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

May 28, 2020

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of a favorite memoir, Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin….nostalgic, thoughtful, and memorable nonfiction.

If you are missing baseball this season because of Covid-19, this book might be for you!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin (cover) Image: an empty professional baseball stadium

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography, Baseball, Nostalgia,

My Summary:

“From loyal baseball fans, the refrain “Wait Until Next Year!” can often be heard after suffering a disappointing loss. In fact, it was after the Dodgers’ loss in Game 7 of the recent World Series that a fan vehemently shouted these exact words captured by a reporter’s microphone and camera. At that time, I was reminded of Goodwin’s Wait Till Next Year that had been on my TBR list for some time and which had been declared one of my husband’s favorite reads last year. In honor of the recent, well-played, and highly spirited 2017 World Series, I decided it’s timely to read and review this popular memoir.

In Wait Till Next Year, Doris tells of meeting baseball heroes, of nail-biting games, of having to confess at Confession that she wished the other team’s players would be injured so Dodgers could win, of the exciting World Series win in 1955, and of her sorrow as the Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1957.  She was so devastated by the loss of her team that she avoided baseball for years after the Dodgers left, and when she was convinced as a young adult to attend a Red Sox game, she transferred her loyalties, started keeping score again, and passed on her love of the game to her son. In addition to the loss of the Dodgers, she also tells of the loss of her mother at an early age.”

Nostalgic, family-centered, and loads of fun for baseball fans …..

Continue reading my review of Wait Till Next Year to see what I loved.

QOTD: Have you read Wait Till Next Year or is it on your TBR?

If you’re thinking ahead for Father’s Day, this might be a great gift for a baseball fan!

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit: A Review

March 3, 2020

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Goldbach

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Godbach (cover)

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Unions, Steel

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #netgalley #flatironbooks for a free E ARC of #rustamemoirofsteelandgrit in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Eliese shatters the stereotype…….Have you ever thought of a steelworker as a college-educated, twenty-something female?

For Eliese, the “stinky” local steel mill in Cleveland, Ohio represents everything from which she is trying to escape. Although it was never her dream job, practicality demands that she needs job security and a good salary. In Rust, Eliese shares about her childhood, her Christian roots and parents’ values, applying to the mill, receiving a good paycheck, facing daily danger in the mill, forming unexpected friendships, working and maintaining relationships with mental illness, gender equality, and an abundance of political opinions.

My Thoughts:

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Born a Crime: A Review

February 21, 2020

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover)

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, South Africa

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Compelling, humorous, and inspiring…

Trevor Noah’s life in Apartheid South Africa began with a crime. He was born to a white father and a black Xhosa mother. This had to be kept a secret because the relationship was punishable by five years in prison. In a racially divided country, Trevor spent most of his early childhood living behind closed doors because his light color would certainly give away the circumstances of his birth and place his parents (who were living separately) in danger. If the government discovered the circumstances of his birth, they could even take him away from his mother. At the end of Apartheid and later in his childhood, Trevor Noah faced the challenge of deciding with which group he would identify: white, black, or colored (mixed). He felt like an outsider for most of his childhood and young adult years. Trevor enjoyed a close relationship with his risk-taking, rebellious, and spiritual mother. He was intuitive and street smart but also incredibly mischievous. The essays that document his coming of age are humorous, insightful, honest, and at times disturbing.

Amazon Star Rating (February): 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

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Just Mercy Review: In Honor of MLK Jr and His Work

January 20, 2020

I've decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. ~MLK

Today, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) and his work, I’m reposting an updated review of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson from my September 14, 2018 post…

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.



September 14, 2018

An inspirational memoir of courage ….. determination ….. vision …..

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, African-American, Judicial System, Criminal Procedure, Politics and Social Science

Summary:

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time

In this compelling and engaging memoir, Bryan Stevenson shares true stories about founding the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice established to defend those most desperate and in need (the underrepresented, poor, wrongly condemned, women, and youth trapped for life in the criminal justice system). In addition to detailing his experience as a young lawyer confronting political machines, fighting prejudice, and accepting challenging cases, Stevenson works determinedly and thinks deeply about mercy, true justice, and compassion.

Listen to Bryan Stevenson summarize his ideas in his own words: Bryan Stevenson TED Talk

Just Mercy Movie Trailer

Amazon Rating (September): 4.8

My Thoughts:

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Hey, Kiddo: A Review

January 17, 2020

 Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt With Family Addiction by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

  • Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt With Family Addiction

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, MG/YA Graphic Novel

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Normal is a setting on the dryer….

Jarrett Krosoczka knows from a very young age that his family is complicated. His mom is an addict and unreliable; his father is absent in every way and Jarrett doesn’t even know his father’s name. Jarret’s grandparents rescue, adopt, and raise him. As a teenager, Jarrett gains a deeper understanding of his complicated family and embraces his love of art as a lifeline.

Jarrett Krosoczka’s TED Talk

My Thoughts:

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Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Review

January 3, 2020

 Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone review

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Psychology, Therapy, Mental Health

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Exploring mental health, finding meaning in life, and repairing broken relationships…

Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist and national advice columnist, shares a behind-the-scenes look into her work as a therapist. She also shares what it was like when she sought out therapy for herself.

“Most of what we say to ourselves we’d never say to people we love or care about, like our friends or children. In therapy, we learn to pay close attention to those voices in our heads so that we can learn a better way to communicate with ourselves.

My Thoughts:

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Finding Chika: A Review #nonficnov

November 29, 2019

 Finding Chika: A Little Girl, An Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom

Finding Chika Review.png

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Found Family, Foster Guardianship, Inspiration

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

“What we carry defines who we are. And the effort we make is our legacy.” ~Mitch Albom

Summary:

In Finding Chika: A Little Girl, An Earthquake, and the Making of a Family, Mitch Albom, well-known author of Tuesdays With Morrie, shares his life-changing experience of caring for Chika, a young Haitian orphan. She was born a few days before the devastating 2010 earthquake into a poverty-stricken family. When her mother died after giving birth to her baby brother, Dad found placements for all their children. Chika was brought to the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage that Mitch Albom operates in Port Au Prince. After five-year-old Chika was diagnosed with a medical condition that was untreatable in Haiti, the Alboms brought Chika to America to live with them while seeking medical intervention. Instead of returning to Haiti as planned, Chika and the Alboms become found family, and Mitch learns a great deal about caring for a special needs child, the definition of family, unconditional love, loss, and grief.

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: Finding Chika #nonficnov

 November 19, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraphs

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

First Paragraph

As part of Nonfiction November, I’m pleased to share the first paragraphs of Finding Chika by well-loved author, Mitch Albom. If you are a Mitch Albom fan, you know this will be a heartfelt and somewhat magical read.

From Amazon:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Tuesdays With Morrie comes Mitch Albom’s most personal story to date: an intimate and heartwarming memoir about what it means to be a family and the young Haitian orphan whose short life would forever change his heart.

Told in hindsight, and through illuminating conversations with Chika herself, this is Albom at his most poignant and vulnerable. Finding Chika is a celebration of a girl, her adoptive guardians, and the incredible bond they formed—a devastatingly beautiful portrait of what it means to be a family, regardless of how it is made.”


Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

Finding chika

Genre/Categories: Memoir, Inspirational, Family

1st Line/1st Paragraphs From Chapter One:

“Why aren’t you writing, Mister Mitch?”
Chika is lying on the carpet in my office. She flips onto her back. She plays with her fingers.
She comes here in the early morning, when the light is still thin at the window. Sometimes she has a doll or a set of Magic Markers. Other times, it’s just her. She wears her blue pajamas, with the My Little Pony cartoon on the top and pastel stars on the bottoms. In the past, Chika loved to choose her clothes each morning after brushing her teeth, matching the colors of the socks and the shirts.
She doesn’t do that anymore.
Chika died last spring, when the trees in our yard were beginning to bud, as they are budding now, as it is spring again. Her absence left us without breath, or sleep, or appetite, and my wife and I stared straight ahead for long stretches until someone spoke to snap us out of it.
Then one morning, Chika reappeared.
“Why aren’t you writing?” she says again.
My arms are crossed. I stare at the empty screen.
About what?
“About me.”
I will.
“When?”
Soon.

Well….it appears that this might be an emotional read! I trust Mitch Albom completely, and I’m eager to dive in and learn more about love, found family, and grief.



QOTD:

Are you a Mitch Albom fan? What is your favorite Mitch Albom?

Do you enjoy memoirs?

Is Finding Chika on your TBR?
(I noticed that proceeds from this book will go to support the Have Faith Orphanage in Haiti that Mitch Albom operates.)

Here’s my review of another Mitch Albom favorite: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto



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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

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