Category Memoir

Back in the Game

Product DetailsBack in the Game: My Year of Dating Dangerously
By Kelly Green
Lioncrest Publishing
Price: $14.99

Book Description:  When your marriage fails, you have a choice. You can curl up on the couch with a tub of ice-cream and wallow in self-pity…or you can pick yourself up and search for a better life with a better man. Kelly Green was faced with this choice. She was the quintessential American wife and working mother of four small children. She had it all and did it all; her hobbies were interior decorating, Pilates, school fundraisers, and book clubs – basically, all the stuff women think they’re “supposed” to do. Then her “perfect” world was rocked by betrayal and divorce…and Kelly threw out her ice cream, put on a sexy dress, and spent a year re-discovering what it was really like to live. She partied with and dated Hollywood’s A-list, powerful Wall Street traders, elite art collectors, Argentinian polo players and chart-topping indie rock stars. Her road to recovering her self-esteem was paved with late nights, wild flings and rare company. Through it all, Kelly questioned everything she thought she knew about marriage, love and settling for the quiet routines of suburban motherhood. Told with unflinching honesty, her debut memoir is the bare-all story of a headstrong woman in search of a better inner life – with or without a better man.

Review

This book was  a bit riské for my taste and I often found myself thinking, “But what about the children…”  Even though I didn’t live my life this way even as a young divorced woman with small children, I still found this book well written and entertaining.  And even though I don’t agree with her philosophy of life, I did find she made some valid points, was completely honest about her journey, and that I did pick up on several life lessons that I could apply to my own life, even now.  So  I do give it five stars because it was a very good read.

~Reviewed by Sally M.

    The Opposite of Comfortable

    Product DetailsThe Opposite of Comfortable
    By Sharon Nir
    Viki Press
    Retail Price: $13.95

    Book Description: 

    Sharon Nir, a young mother and successful businesswoman, is faced with the most difficult decision of her life; should she abandon her career and her place of birth, Tel Aviv, to follow her husband, who has been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity – a surgical fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City?In this heart-breaking and riveting memoir, Sharon shares her difficult but extraordinary journey of discovery: from her move to New York City, where she experiences loneliness and the shock of not having a career and the traumatic events of 9/11, to her return to Israel, the difficult relocation to Jerusalem and the discovery of a challenge her son has to face, through the baffling and grueling process of legal immigration in the United States, a journey that will force Sharon to question every certitude. What does it mean to lead a full life for a woman in the 21st century? The Opposite of Comfortable seeks to answer this difficult question while celebrating the strength and resilience of the female spirit.

    Review

    This was a very interesting memoir by a modern day woman who had to make some life altering choices for both her and her family.  Nir was strong and brave and best of all she is very REAL.  We don’t often get a glimpse into the heart and mind of another person, the author not only tears down the walls, but opens the front door inviting us into her experiences.  I thought this was a thought provoking, worthwhile  read.

     

     

      Growing up Duggar

      Growing up Duggar
      By Jill, Jinger, Jessa and J Duggar
      Howard
      Retail Price $21.99
      Amazon Price: $14.76

      Book Description: 

      In this delightful and very personal book, the four oldest Duggar girls share their hearts and their core beliefs, explaining that it’s all about relationships!

      • Relationship with self: The girls share their own personal journeys to self-acceptance and navi­gating the difficult stage of adolescence.

      • Relationship with parents: You’ll find revelations about how Jim Bob and Michelle keep the lines of communication open with their children.

      • Relationships with siblings: Here, you’ll get a peek into the Buddy system, how the siblings handle conflict, and how the loss of little Jubilee (their sister) affected their relationships with each other.

      • Relationships with friends: You’ll find principles on how the Duggar kids deal with peer pressure and how they interact with friends outside their family.

      • Relationships with boys: You’ll learn the Duggar view of dating and courtship, and these four sisters will address the often-asked question of when one of them will get married.

      Review

      I’m a big fan of the Duggars show so I thought I would like their book and I was right. I don’t have much time to read with 3 kids under 3 to take care of but I’ve managed to finish the book within a week, which is fast for me. This particular book is written by the four oldest daughters, and it really helps you to look at their family life through their eyes.  They give a lot of insight into the workings of the family and how they deal with their parents and each other.  The book was easy to read, interesting, and insightful.  I highly recommend it.

      ~Reviewed by Barb B.

        Prison Baby

        Prison Baby: A MemoirPrison Baby
        By Deborah Jiang Stein
        Beacon Press
        Retail Price $14.00
        Amazon Price: $10.42

        Book Description:

        Even at twelve years old Deborah Jiang Stein, the adopted daughter of a progressive Jewish couple in Seattle, felt like an outsider. Her multiracial features set her apart from her well-intentioned white parents, who evaded questions about her past. But when Deborah discovered a letter revealing the truth–that she was born in prison to a heroin-addicted mother and spent the first year of her life there–she spiraled into emotional lockdown. For years she turned to drugs, violence, and crime as a way to cope with her grief. Ultimately, Deborah overcame the stigma, shame, and secrecy of her birth and found peace by helping others–proving that redemption and acceptance is possible, even from the darkest corners

         

        Review

        This was a very touching book that had my emotions running the gamut throughout.  It really makes you think about how much dna has to do with who you are and who you become, no matter how you are raised.  When the author found at at the age of 12 that she her birth mother was a heroin addict that she was actually born in a prison, it sent the young girl into a tailspin that sent her into a life of rebellion.  The good thing is that it also details the authors redemption and her journey back to her adoptive parents and life she was really meant to lead. This is an amazing story of love, hope, forgiveness.  It is also a call to action to use your life experiences – good and bad – too help others.  This was an excellent read.

        ~Reviewed by Shirley B.

          Found

          Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday PrayerFound
          By Micha Boyett
          Worthy
          Retail Price $14.99
          Amazon Price: $11.01

          Book Description: 

          “My first year of motherhood I lost prayer…”

          I lost early mornings of quiet, mornings in my pajamas with a Bible in my lap, mornings when I spoke my mind’s chaos into God’s ear and let the chaos come back ordered, holy sealed. I lost peace. I lost clarity and certitude. My faith was never perfect before my son was born, but somewhere in that first year, somewhere in my distraction and exhaustion, I lost the Spirit-life I had known. I blamed myself.

          Review

          I have read Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God and have enjoyed it, but it never really hit home the way this book did!  California-based mom-blogger Boyett explains that she “lost prayer” when her first child was born and she went looking to get it back by taking a sabbatical at a Benedictine monastery where she quickly sees the similarities in lifestyle and a way to bring balance to her own life. She found her way back to God and a balanced life by studying the  Benedictine Rule, and in this book she shares the insights she has gleaned from her journey.  It is an enlightening, insightful read and I found much to apply to my own life.

          ~Reviewed by Allie B.

            Raw Faith

            Raw Faith: What Happens When God Picks a FightRaw Faith
            By Kasey Van Norman

            Tyndale
            Retail Price $14.99
            Amazon Price: $11.09

            Book Description: 

            As a respected Bible teacher, Kasey Van Norman had dedicated her life to sharing God’s Word and encouraging women to trust in God during times of crisis. Then, just as her ministry was poised to explode, Kasey was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that shattered her spirit and rocked her faith to its core. Sick, frightened, and in pain, Kasey suddenly found herself facing the greatest challenge of her life—believing her own message.

            In Raw Faith, Kasey chronicles her courageous battle with cancer, taking readers on a candid and poignant journey of faith and discovery, from the depths of despair through triumphant victory.

            Drawing on a variety of Bible stories and characters, Kasey discovers and distills the singular truth that has existed since time began: while change and uncertainty are inevitable, God is always unchanging, and He is always faithful—even when our circumstances might tempt us to think otherwise.

            Review

            Faith is something that is easy to talk about, tell others they should have, and strongly promote to others.  But when life hits you hard, faith is often hard to come by….or it is a process that you have to work through before your faith is made strong.  Author Kasey Van Norman understands this and as a cancer survivor, she shares her story and her faith journey in this book.  As she share her story, you can almost hear her speaking, like she was sitting across from you over a cup of coffee.  Everyone has something in their life that they are battling or have battled and this book helps you work through it and serves as a reminder that we are all a work in progress and that God loves us right where we are.  The book was emotional, that’s for sure and it had a big impact on me.  I highly recommend it.

            ~Reviewed by Allie B.

              Surprised by Motherhood

              Surprised by Motherhood
              By Lisa-Jo Baker
              Tyndale
              Retail Price $15.99
              Amazon Price: $10.11

              Book Description:

              A lawyer with a well-stamped passport and a passion for human rights, Lisa-Jo Baker never wanted to be a mom. And then she had kids. Having lost her own mother to cancer as a teenager, Lisa-Jo felt lost on her journey to womanhood and wholly unprepared to raise children.

              Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.

              Set partly in South Africa and partly in the US (with a slight detour to Ukraine along the way), Surprised by Motherhood is a poignant memoir of one woman’s dawning realization that being a mom isn’t about being perfect—it’s about being present.

              Review

               

              In this book the author shares her own journey through motherhood. You may think that everything has been said about motherhood, but the delightful thing is that the author is one-of-a-kind and gives a perspective that is uniquely her own. So many times we define motherhood by the sleepless nights, mounds of laundry and numbers of diapers changed for the day. Giglio will help you focus on the pure joy that motherhood brings in spite of the mundane, hard things and will change your perspective on motherhood.  A great read for all moms and moms-to-be.

              ~Reviewed by Beth L.

                My Best Friends Funeral

                My Best Friends Funeral
                by Rodger W. Thompson
                Thomas Nelson
                Retail Price $16.99
                Amazon Price: $12.50

                Book Description: 

                There’s a certain kind of lost a boy feels in this world without a father. Tim felt it. I felt it. And we realized our only way out would be together.In an openhearted memoir of faith on the fringe, Roger Thompson meditates on the life and premature death of his best friend and business partner, Tim Garrety, cofounder of Skate Street Ventura. Roger and Tim’s twenty-year friendship was forged in the surf and on the streets of 1980s California. Together they hazarded countless waves and every rite of passage—from guitars to girls to God—and influenced the lives of thousands of skateboarders, musicians, surfers, and otherwise disconnected youth in the process.With unrestrained honesty and a punk-rock soundtrack, My Best Friend’s Funeral is a memoir of friendship, doubt, surfing, and the complex relationships between fathers and sons. If life has ever left you feeling abandoned—or if you simply prefer a rock show to a sermon—My Best Friend’s Funeral is a memoir you won’t want to miss, and a confirmation that you are never alone.

                Review

                 

                This is a touching memoir and tribute to a childhood friend.  The author shares his heart and his journey through grief as he tries to make sense of what appears to him as a senseless death of one his nearest and dearest.  He shares many life lessons on both death and living life to its fullest.  My emotions ran the gamut as I went through it.  I laughed and I cried, and in the end I am a better person for having read it.

                ~Reviewed by Dave H.

                  I Have Seen God

                  I Have Seen God
                  by Klaus-Dieter John
                  Monarch Books
                  Retail Price $16.99
                  Amazon Price: $13.19

                  Book Description: 

                  The miraculous founding of a top class hospital for some of the world’s poorest people.  Klaus-Dieter and Martina John–both brilliant, talented, and highly qualified doctors–turned their backs on lucrative careers to follow their dream to open a first-rate medical facility for the Indians of the Peruvian Andes, some of the world’s poorest people. The Peruvian Andes natives suffer appallingly from the diseases of poverty and, although they make up approximately 40 percent of Peru’s population, are ignored by the authorities.Having studied at the universities of Harvard, Yale, and Johannesburg during his training as a surgeon, Dr. Klaus-Dieter John together with his wife, Dr. Martina John, a pediatrician, developed a concept for a modern hospital in the Peruvian Highlands.Turning down other offers, including a professorship, they set themselves the task of raising the millions of dollars needed. God opened the hearts and consciences of individuals and companies to create not just a health center, but a fully equipped hospital. Their story and vision has captured attention around the world and today they have the backing of 180 corporations and 50,000 private supporters.

                  The hospital’s name, Diospi Suyana, means “we trust in God” in Quechua, the native language of the people it serves. It is a testament to their experience that with God the impossible can happen. The incredible conviction and profound faith of the Johns will refresh your heart and stir your spirit.

                  Review

                  I love true stories of God working in amazing ways in the lives of His people.  I’ve read several biographies of George Muller and my heart races when I read about how God met the needs for his projects over and over again.  This book  recounts a modern day story of God’s miraculous provision at just the right time in lives of the Doctors John and the hospital they built in the Andes Mountains.  We get a lot of the back story on what brought them to the point of giving up their lucrative medical careers to meet the needs of the poorest of the poor.  Though their story is inspiring, the author does not sugar coat the work and gives us a glimpse at the setbacks and trials they faced as they persevered until their dream came true.  I Have Seen God is must reading for anyone with a desire to know more of the reality and power of a Living God.

                  ~Reviewed by Dave H.

                    Backpacking with the Saints

                    Backpacking with the Saints
                    By Belden C. Lane
                    Oxford
                    Retail Price $24.95
                    Amazon Price: $19.05

                    Book Description:

                    Carrying only basic camping equipment and a collection of the world’s great spiritual writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary spiritual treks through the Ozarks and across the American Southwest. For companions, he has only such teachers as Rumi, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the natural wonders he encounters–Bell Mountain Wilderness with Søren Kierkegaard, Moonshine Hollow with Thich Nhat Hanh–demonstrating how being alone in the wild opens a rare view onto one’s interior landscape, and how the saints’ writings reveal the divine in nature.

                    The discipline of backpacking, Lane shows, is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Just as the wilderness offered revelations to the early Desert Christians, backpacking hones crucial spiritual skills: paying attention, traveling light, practicing silence, and exercising wonder. Lane engages the practice not only with a wide range of spiritual writings–Celtic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi Muslim–but with the fascination of other lovers of the backcountry, from John Muir and Ed Abbey to Bill Plotkin and Cheryl Strayed. In this intimate and down-to-earth narrative, backpacking is shown to be a spiritual practice that allows the discovery of God amidst the beauty and unexpected terrors of nature. Adoration, Lane suggests, is the most appropriate human response to what we cannot explain, but have nonetheless learned to love.

                    An enchanting narrative for Christians of all denominations, Backpacking with the Saints is an inspiring exploration of how solitude, simplicity, and mindfulness are illuminated and encouraged by the discipline of backcountry wandering, and of how the wilderness itself becomes a way of knowing-an ecology of the soul.

                    Review

                    I am rather new to reading the works of Belden Lane, but honestly, I find them intriguing.  The way he relates spirituality to the physical world is quite thought provoking.  As he treks through the wilderness, he shares his spiritual journey with us, encouraging each reader to seek his own quiet place to hear God’s voice.  He does a wonderful job giving insight to the classic works of the faith as he relates them to his journey.  It makes me want to throw a few selected titles in my own backpack and head out to my favorites spots to contemplate life and my place in it.  Very inspiring.

                    ~Reviewed by Mike B.