L.A. Makeover

51ehioopcel._sy400_.jpgThe New Old Me by Meredith Maran was in some ways, a story I was able to identify with. Unfortunately, in many ways it was not.

This memoir chronicles the author’s break-up and divorce from another woman and her subsequent return to the 9-5 working world at the age of 60 plus. After moving from a home in the Bay area, the author finds herself camping on friend’s couches and living out of suitcases while learning to navigate a new life among the “beautiful people” in Los Angeles.

Finding herself in despair and consumed with loneliness, she makes a number of interesting choices in order to find friends. Her choices which seemed based more on bending to be accepted for someone she is not rather than her authentic self, left me thinking this is one very insecure woman with a drinking problem.

I came away from the memoir disappointed, but also feeling better about my life because I recently embarked on a new life in a new town as well. My life and experiences have been monumentally different and I am grateful for it. The author’s portrayal of people in L.A. turned my stomach on several occasions. Reading about bikini waxes is about as far from interesting and as disgusting as you can get in my mind; way too much information!

As far as I am concerned, this tell-all memoir may have had merit for the author, but most certainly not for me. Some secrets are best left just that — secret.

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image001.pngWith thanks to Penguin Publishing we are pleased to announce the upcoming giveaway to Bookwinked followers in the U.S.!

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World edited by Maria Tatar.

To enter, please email your name and address to us at bookwinked at gmail.com by March 1st.  Good luck and thank you for following Bookwinked!

CONGRATULATIONS to our contest winner LAURA G

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Breaking Records

51q3z3emk2l._sy400_.jpgThe One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood is a novel I’m recommending to everyone. Am I ever grateful I brought it home from the library because I had no previous knowledge of it and it turned-out to be simply wonderful.

The story is about an eleven-year-old boy who befriends an 104 year-old woman who was born in Lithuania and raised in the U.S.  The boy, unlike others his age, encourages the elderly woman to try to get her name in the Guinness book of world records.

What follows is an incredibly touching, beautiful story.  I will say no more in order not to divulge the plot and conclusion of the novel. It is one not to be missed!

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Slight of Hand

61ghvmbz1sl.jpgThe Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister is an interesting novel about a young girl who leaves home after being mentally and physically abused by a young man who lives and works on the farm where she resides with her mother and step-father. Working her way north from Tennessee, she eventually becomes a female magician.

Some years later while being detained by a small-town policeman for questioning in a murder case, Arden’s story is made known during the lengthy interrogation.

I found some of this story interesting, but in the end, did not like the book overall. The emphasis on the policeman and his life seemed unnecessary and distracting to me. Granted, a female magician in the early 1900’s who is being stalked by a mentally disturbed man is suspenseful. However, I am sorry to say, the book as a whole didn’t work for me.

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Water, Water, Everywhere

51k2i7eu8ql._sy400_.jpgThe Johnstown Flood by David McCullough is another fine history by one of my favorite authors. It is a thoroughly researched story of a disastrous flood which occurred in Pennsylvania in the late 1800’s.  Scores of innocent people lost their lives due to a catastrophic storm and a poorly engineered dam.

In many ways, the magnitude of this tragedy so long ago reminds me of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Who is to blame when acts of God combine with man-made alterations on earth to create devastating outcomes?

This was a heartbreaking story to read, but one whose message is important today.

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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk bylillianboxfish-hc.jpg Kathleen Rooney is a poignant novel about an 85-year-old woman taking a solitary walk in New York City on New Year’s Eve in the mid-eighties.

At one time, Lillian attained the honored place of top female in the field of advertising. With those days long gone, she reflects on her life as she strolls along familiar streets taking note of places which trigger memories both happy and sad. Lillian is a keen listener who is interested in others and a model observer of life.

Rooney, who happens to teach at DePaul University, my alma mater, has created a feisty character, rich in substance who possesses  qualities of eras long forgotten. I think this is a wonderful work of fiction worth reading. It inspired me to do more walking!

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Bronson Revealed

51i8x5w-eel._sy400_.jpgMarch by Geraldine Brooks (2005) is a fabulous novel about the father of the March girls made famous in the beloved novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Mr. March is absent throughout most of Alcott’s novel and Brooks has picked-up the ball and run with it; filling-in the missing story of the absent father and his experiences prior to his marriage and through the civil war where he served as a Chaplin for the Union Army.

I think this is an incredibly well-written novel. I wonder why it never came to my attention, but how grateful I am it has.

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