Book Review: Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

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I chose this book because it appealed to my whimsical nature.  Snow White was the first Disney movie I ever saw, in the theater, for it’s re-release.  I now have my own daughter, and she loves the Disney Princesses, although her fav is Belle.  Snow White was always my favorite princess until I discovered Princess Leia.  I do have to point out that I know absolutely nothing about where these fairy tales come from.  Outside of the sanitized Disney versions, I haven’t read any literature about the origins of these stories.  Now I want to.

Despite my very eclectic tastes in reading, I am always a sucker for the “happily ever after”.  Always have, always will be.  But I understand that “happily ever after” can have different meanings.  That was one of the things that drew me to this book.

Here is the synopsis:

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?
On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
There were so many things I like about this book.  First being the writing style.  Very fitting of a book about a fairy tale, the writing is very elegant and proper without being nauseating.  For example, when describing Snow White’s throne room in comparison to the rest of the castle that is preparing for the wedding, Mr. Meredith writes:
The cavernous chamber appeared a bleak island of melancholy set adrift upon a sunny, celebratory sea.
The writing helps to transport the reader to the castle, to Snow White’s side, through the visions she sees through the mirror.  The writing also helps define the depth to her suffering:
Snow White had said she wanted to be alone, but that was not really true.  She simply was alone, whether there were any other people about to witness it or not.  now that she was by herself in the large room however, the queen was not at all sure what to do next.This of course was her regular dilemma.  It seemed difficult to do anything anymore but sit around feeling miserable and sad.
That is pretty much depression in a nutshell, whether it stems from grief or from illness.  Well done.
I love the use of the magic mirror to prompt Snow White to examine her life.  This is usually what is done in therapy, but being that therapists weren’t around in that time period and that cures for things pertaining to mental illness probably involved using leeches, I guess a magic mirror would have to do.  Here the mirror describes his role succinctly:
I simply do that which mirrors do.  You look in.  I show you a reflection of yourself- Nothing more.  Your stepmother thought herself beautiful, but I showed her the ugliness that dwelt in her heart as well.  She asked me then who there was more beautiful that she and again I showed her.  Some people are frightened of their own reflection, I’ve found.  They do not want to examine themselves too closely, for fear of what they will see – For fear of what others might discover.
Through the mirror, Snow White sees several events from her past, ranging from her stepmother’s abuse to her life with Charming.  Some of the events are terribly traumatic.  Some of them are very tender and emotional.  All of them serve a purpose as the mirror again counsels:
You know there is no forgetting, not really.  What happens, happens.  The past is the past and your past is ever a part of you!  Only by facing it can you truly leave it behind.  Otherwise, it will ever intrude upon your present..
I have found this especially true in my own personal life and my issues with domestic violence.  Leave it to a magic mirror to put it so plainly.
That noted, there are elements of abuse, especially surrounding her stepmother’s treatment of her.  It may trigger.  That was one thing I remember from all the Disney movies.  The absolute cruelty of the stepmothers featured.  I think that is why I refused to be referred to as a “stepmother” to this day.  I would rather my bonus son call me by my first name than his “stepmother”.  Thanks, fairy tales!!
This book is also not rated G.  It is not rated X either, but Snow White and Charming do get it on….in detail.  That was kind of refreshing.  For two reasons 1) it is a departure from the sanitized Disney versions of the fairy tales we have been force fed for the past 70 years. Yes, I know they are for children, but you rarely ever see the characters kiss…and in the next frame they get married?  And 2) these scenes were written by a man and they are very tender and not gratuitous.  Not something you associate with a man writing a sex scene.  Especially the one featuring the night of their wedding night.  Good job!!
It is a very short read and is well worth the $1.99 it is going for right now on amazon.
I really enjoyed this book.  Immensely.  It captured my imagination.  It spoke to that little girl in me who loved fairy tales but is now grown up and is now aware of the issues that face adults.  Excellent concept, excellent execution.  Highly recommended.

Book Review: Campbell (Book One) by C.S. Starr

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I guess this qualifies as a mash up.  Part young adult romance, part dystopian, part apocalypse. Right up my alley.

The author kindly sent me a Kindle copy in return for a review of her book.

Here is the synopsis:

It’s been ten years since a virus wiped out the entire adult population. Across the world, opportunistic kids worked to reestablish order through the creation of uneasy, fractured territories.

A decade later, the rules are changing.

Desperate to stop his western territory from coming apart at the seams, 23 year old President Connor Wilde sends his oldest confidante to Campbell, a swelling northern empire, to negotiate with its leader.

Tal Bauman isn’t expecting Lucy Campbell to be so impossible.

Or intriguing. Or beautiful.

He’s also not expecting their negotiations to leave them both fighting for survival in a part of the world neither are familiar with.

Spanning a dystopian North American landscape, Campbell is the story of two unlikely companions who find themselves reevaluating their loyalties, beliefs, and futures.

I absolutely loved this book.  It is extremely well-written, very intriguing and tender at the same time.  The author alternates between the present and about 11 years prior when all of the adults start dying off.  It is fascinating to see how it all evolved and how kids essentially rebuilt society.

The characters are so real.  You understand their motives, their wants, their desires.  You understand why they do the way they do.  They literally leap off the page.

I love Lucy Campbell.  She is a survivor.  She is an excellent and capable leader who is very stubborn but very compassionate.  Her goal is to take care of the people in her area and offer a decent and fair lifestyle to anyone willing to work for it.  She doesn’t see the need to amass material goods.  She doesn’t need to have absolute power.  She just wants kids to have a better life.  But she isn’t perfect.  I love that about this character.

Tal Bauman just followed the lead of his spoiled and exploitative friend after the collapse.  He wrestles with his conscious constantly, but never finds the way to make a real difference.  Until he meets Lucy.

This is not a young adult book.  It is an adult book about young adults forced to grow up way too fast.  There is sex, violence, drug use throughout the book.  Nothing is gratuitous and it is all necessary to develop the characters and understand their motives and actions.

The author also paints a very realistic portrait of the aftermath of years of sexual abuse.  Lucy has PTSD as a result of her experiences and her description of what happens to her with the nightmares, the flashbacks, her choice of sexual partners is entirely authentic.

The author doesn’t go into graphic details, and it wasn’t too triggering, but I need to make it known that the subject matter is present.

Despite their difficult ascendance into adulthood, they are still in their early 20s, still trying to figure out who they are, what they want in life.  That theme is found repeatedly throughout the book.  That no matter how fast someone was forced to grow up, especially without the influence of others who have gone before, they still mature at a similar pace regardless of situation.

I was (still am) very intrigued about how they built it all up again.  There is electricity, cell phones, they some more wealthier regions fly planes.  Hopefully the “how” is more forthcoming in the next book due out in February.  It is just a little bit difficult for me to understand how 12 year olds restarted the whole shebang.

Overall an amazing read.  I loved all the elements of the story.  Eagerly awaiting the next part.

Book Review: The Snitch, Houdini and Me

9870994The Snitch, Houdini and Me: Humorous Tales of Death-Defying Childhood Misadventure (2010) by Johnny Virgil (JV Enterprises, 2010)

Genre: memoir, humor

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author through BookBloggers in return for an honest review. If you would like to know more about Johnny Virgil, check out his blog, 15  Minute Lunch.

Amazon describes Virgil’s memoir…

“Go Out and Play and Don’t Come Home until it’s Dark.”

Growing up in the 70’s wasn’t easy. No internet or smartphones, video games or HDTV — nothing but time to kill and the endless potential of a summer day. Only parental threats and a newly-developed sense of right and wrong could steer Johnny Virgil and his two younger brothers away from trouble…or directly into it.
 
Join Johnny on this hilarious and irreverent romp through his childhood as he recounts the stories that made him what he is today – an unimportant cog in a vast, corporate financial services machine. But he wasn’t always this way, and this book is proof.
Booby traps, severed deer legs, runaway bulldozers, young love and fresh cow pies — all this and more, brought to life by Johnny’s sometimes twisted, sometimes touching but always hilarious tales of suburban childhood. If you have kids of your own, these are the stories you don’t want them to read.  If you like to laugh even when it’s wrong and long to return to a more innocent yet treacherous time, this book will leave you wishing Johnny’s childhood had never ended.

When I signed up to review this book, I knew it was right up my ally. I grew up with three younger brothers, two older male cousins, two additional male kids of close family friends and tons of boys at my annual summer camp, which was a big prankfest. Talk about shenanigans! I was prepared for this book…or so I thought. I was amused at the stories Virgil shared, and felt that I was an observer of those events. I highly recommend this book!

If you are a mother, especially of boys or a daughter who was a tomboy, read this book. If you’re a boy (over the age of 21 so as not to get any “bright” ideas), read this book.

If you spent your childhood days growing up pre-2000, read this book. It will bring memories flooding back…and maybe provide some pointers or ideas you never dreamed of fulfilling to scare the beejezus out of that big kid bully.

If you ever feared being “in deep shit,” read this book. Warning: the farther in you read, the more adult the language becomes.

This book is hilarious throughout, with never-ending shenanigans and covert missions, usually involving one of Johnny’s two younger brothers, The Snitch or Houdini, their neighbor Markie or best friend The Slug. Virgil shares some stories that could have been disastrously dangerous for his little band of boys. He is very keen to point out he doesn’t know how he survived childhood without killing himself, or someone else, at every opportunity. And he’s right: after reading some of the boys’ grand schemes, you will be surprised to know they usually escaped supreme and disastrous trouble usually unscathed, with only a few cuts.

Johnny and his gang didn’t have the best of everything from back in the day. They didn’t get what they wanted. They essentially had hand-me-down bikes that came home as a box of bike parts. Yeah. The kid down the street had a mouth-watering go-kart…so Johnny and the boys created their own version, and they were happy with it.

Throughout this collection of stories, readers can watch Johnny grow up from the leader of two little brothers through that awkward teenage stage, learning about girls and dating, cars, and eventually a few excursions with the bottle. Included in the beginning chapters are drawings Johnny did as a child in grade school, and one or two photos.

Virgil shares a time when being a kid was OK, but when you cross the line there are consequences from your parents. Neighborhood kids with tag-along siblings, generally left to their own devices during summertime. Friendly-fire neighborhood gangs battling over turf, sometimes just on principle. The fear of getting in trouble. It’s something that’s rarely seen today, back when a pinky swear meant something.

-CA

Books that changed my life

This was written in my 7th grade year book

As evidence of my bookwormishness, as I was digging through my closet box of books (labeled “M’s” childhood books) I found some yearbooks, and some of my treasured tomes. These books have been through 5 moves and across the country. I know I have posted before in the about and favs pages my early reading experiences.  This post is a little different.

Going through all of the old and musty paperbacks, the memories came back.  I had forgotten just how many Babysitter’s Club books that I actually have.  Maybe I’ll post on those books one of these days.

I also found books that profoundly changed my life.  Literally.

I don’t know if people who are not “book” people understand that concept completely.  For me, reading is like completely immersing yourself in another world, another place and time.  It is true escapism for me.

In addition to providing escapism, I also gained knowledge of the world.  And increased by vocabulary.

I found my future occupational calling in my early books as well.  As I have discussed before, I am a nurse.  I come from a nursing family.  In some ways it was inevitable that I would be in the medical field.  But I was never encouraged to follow in their footsteps.  In fact, they tried to discourage me.  My parents pushed me to find something that I liked to do, and find a way to do it.

I was such a bookworm as a child, I would look for anything to read.  At flea markets, libraries, people’s houses.  I devoured books quickly.  To this day, I am a quick reader.  One of the books I found was this old book, “Cherry Ames, Visiting Nurse” .

“Cherry Ames, Visiting Nurse”

I haven’t read it since I was young, but as I remember it, a young girl goes to nursing school, and then is assigned to be the nurse to a neighborhood in New York. She visits with patient’s weekly and develops relationships with the impoverished of the city. I don’t know why that appealed to me, but it did. I had this innate urge to want to help people. I wanted to do what the character in the story did. I wanted to be the one that people looked to for help and guidance.  This book has stayed with me into adulthood.

I always looked for ways to help people.  I became a lifeguard in high school.  I volunteered in a local hospital during that time as well.  Later toward graduation, I started toying with the idea of being a physician’s assistant.  I went into college with that idea in mind, but after having surgery during semester break, my mind was made up.  I was going to be a nurse.

What made up my mind?  Well, I had an excellent surgeon.  One of the best.  To this day, I am thrilled with his ability.  But the doctor and his PA only came in to change my bandages and adjust my pain pump.  The nurses were there to comfort me.  In the middle of the night, a nurse was there to haul my butt to the bathroom to make me urinate because my kidneys needed to start functioning again after anesthesia.  If my pain wasn’t adequately controlled, the nurse was the one calling the doctor to get the order changed so it was controlled.

So the combination of this book as a child, my parents stories, and my own experience, let me to my profession.  I don’t know how many people can say that they read a book as a child and it lead to a profession.

Going through the box of childhood books also brought up many other topics I look forward to blogging on.

Anyone else have their lives changed by a book?

 

Kiddie Lit

Looks exciting!!

The first book I learned to read on my own was Fox in Sox by Dr. Seuss. I haven’t read it probably since that time. I vaguely remember that the world seemed to “turn on” once I learned how to read. Suddenly, every thing around me seemed to make more sense. I don’t know how to explain it in any more detail than that. It was like going from regular TV to HD. And I haven’t let up since.

More about my early reading experiences can be found on the About section.

My daughter is now of the “learning to read” age, and they are teaching it very differently in school. I never learned “sight words”. I don’t know if it was because I was in Catholic schools, but we did strictly phonics. My daughter is in public schools, and they are doing a combo of both, “sight words” and phonics. Either way, she is doing very well.

I remember having Rainbow Brite books on tape, and reading along with tape when I was a kid. Now it seems like kids have no end of electronic pens, iPad apps, etc to help them learn to read. I don’t know if it was a combo of school or us reading to her or her patching things together on her own, but she is learning to read quite rapidly.

Makes me think about the books I loved as a kid and the ones she loves right now.

I loved the Dr. Seuss books. I loved the way the words just rolled off my tongue. I loved the way it didn’t make sense, but then it did. Hop on Pop; Red Fish, Blue Fish; The Cat in the Hat; I loved the world of Dr. Seuss as a kid. My daughter has a few of those titles, hasn’t started to read them  herself yet, but she loves it when I read it fast and then sound silly. That’s my girl.

I loved the Bernstein Bear books. And Little Critter. I don’t have any for my daughter, but the Bernstein Bears are now a cartoon series on Sprout.  Oh, and Little Golden Books.  I loved those books.  Cheap, easy to read, but don’t hold up well over time.

I love the books by Jamie Lee Curtis for my daughter. We have When I Was Little..; It’s Hard to be Five; and my fav Big Words for Little People. I like the way they are written with humor and illustrated in a way that really sinks in for her.  Who thought a teen scream queen would turn into an awesome children’s author?

My daughter’s favorite book right this second is Silverlicious by Victoria Kann. She wants this one read to her 24/7. I’m trying to get her to read some of it on her own, and she is getting there. Maybe Santa will turn into a librarian this year.

I have no idea what other book series there are out there for little kids these days.  All of my friends have younger kids, and mostly boys.  I am hoping to acquire a Kindle Fire for Christmas so I can download free books for her as well.  Not that I can’t already do that on the Kindle I have, its just that its not in color and the gray scale really won’t cut it for her.

Any suggestions on first reading series for beginning little girl readers??

Weeding the book collection

My dismantled library

In order to accommodate new (to us) furnishings, I was forced to part with my bookshelf. It was rickety and apparently IKEA furniture isn’t made to travel halfway across the continental United States.

Alas, I had to dismantle my toned down library (I have about 100+ more books in the closet), and I am conflicted as to what to do with them. As I was removing them from the shelves, several categories popped up.

My history books: namely U.S. Civil War, WWII, some Revolutionary War. Would I ever read them again? Possibly. Some I am definitely never parting with, i.e. Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPhereson, The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, all of my Stephen Ambrose. Could I at least part with some? The ones with intriguing titles like “The Things your History Teacher Never Taught You About the Civil War”? Maybe. Holocaust books? Never.

My spirituality books: there are some I actually haven’t read yet. Some my mom or friends have passed on to me that I haven’t had the chance or the interest to read recently. I have a ton of John Edward books, that I’m keeping (despite the fact that my husband hates him), plenty of books on reincarnation, dreams, etc. I could get rid of the more wackier ones.  Ones that are staying?  Journey of Souls/Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton, Many Lives, Many Masters by Michael Weiss and anything by those two men.

The classics: between my husband and myself, we have a nice collection of truly classic books. Some of them are in very nice hardback editions. I have saved some of the books I loved from my childhood. I have a beautiful copy of “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My husband has “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, and an absolutely incredible, gold gilded copy of “The Inferno” by Dante Aleghieri (with illustrations). These are staying put.

However, I can’t find my copy of “Now We Are Six” by A. A. Milne. He is the wonderful man behind “Winnie the Pooh”. I received it as a gift from a friend on my sixth birthday, and as my daughter is rapidly approaching that magical age, I wanted to give her my copy. I have moved several times in the past few years and I hope that I can find my copy. Or I hope I can order a new one.

Crime/thriller: a lot of James Patterson, some books we picked up here and there over the years. I am not parting with some of my books by Cyril Wecht M.D. I know its morbid, but he has a series of books about the cases he has consulted on over the years. He used to be the corner of Pittsburgh, PA, and he is just amazing with explaining pathology. That stays. The others I can part with.

Stephen King: I can never part with these. But I will make sure they are out of reach of my daughter so she doesn’t start reading “the master” at a young age like I did. I am permanently afraid of clowns. FOREVER.

Self-help:  I have a small collection of these types of books, “Toxic Parents” and “Toxic In-Laws” by Susan Forward among them.  I will keep those.  I think I am writing a post on these types of books soon.  I have some uncategorizable books that are in this vein that I could part with, but they are wonderful all the same “Why Do I Love These People?” by Po Bronson, and “Are You Wearing That?” by Deborah Tannen.  “Reviving Ophelia” by Mary Pipher I will keep, as I will have an adolescent girl in 7 years.

I guess this is self help, I bought “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker when I was really young.  I should have listened to every word printed in that book.  It has taken me until a few years ago to start using those cues and rely on my own intuition.  I will never part with that book, in fact I reread it from time to time so I can remind myself that I’m not paranoid, there is legitimate reasons that I was creeped out by that guy in the parking lot.

Political:  Wow.  I do have a copy of Ayn Rand “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead” but they are still in plastic.  I live in Texas, this state is painted red and I received some of my books as gifts.  My ideals have changed a bit politically in the last five years or so, since the right became so nutty and angry and more radical.  I do have some right wing books such as Glenn Beck(signed too) and Ann Coulter.  Those can go.  I’ll keep Stephen Colbert.  He’s dreamy 🙂

Comics/humor:  I found such gems as 3 different editions of Calvin and Hobbs.  Yay!! Definitely a keeper.  I found some Far Side collections. Came across the “Tasteless Jokes” book again.  This one will  be hiding on top of the fridge until my child is 18.  Why not just get rid of it?  It’s an integral part of my husband’s childhood, see my post here.

Professional:  I am a nurse, my husband has a degree in chemistry.  We have textbooks, manuals, dictionaries, books with titles such as “How We Die”. Kind of freaks people out.  But our friends who call with medical questions or to tutor their children in chemistry (or physics or math) are grateful for the information.  I think the medical and chem stuff with stay.  That shit is expensive!

Oddities:  I found my second grade yearbook.  I only posted the cover on FB and have already had pleas to not post the pics.  I will comply as I look like a chipmunk who was recently electrocuted and dressed  by the wardrobe department of “Little House on the Prairie”.

I found my husband’s freshman and sophomore yearbooks.  He went to an all boys Catholic school.  He looked like a bobble-head until his body caught up with the rest of him, sometime in college.

I found my daughter’s baby book.  I hate having to answer questions to her like “who is that strange man holding me?” “Honey, that is your biological father”.

And, finally, my awesome collection of the Babysitter’s Club books.  To keep or not to keep.  I loved them.  I can’t be sure my daughter would be so enthralled about a group of 13 year old girls who babysit in Connecticut in the 80s.

I’ll spend the next week sifting.  And just imagine.  I have 200+ books on the kindle.  If they were in print form, I’d be swimming in books!

Any thoughts on what to keep or take to the half priced book store?  What have you done with ever growing book collections?

 

The Real World: Memoir

The first true events or memoir type book I read was The Diary of  a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  That book shook me to the core.  In school, you learn bits and pieces about WWII and the Holocaust.  I read about Anne Frank when I was in middle school, and I couldn’t believe what had happened to her.  Later in high school as a junior, part of a semester was devoted to Holocaust literature (Primo Levi, Eli Weisel) and culminated in a trip to the National Holocaust Museum in D.C..  That was an education.

I don’t have any particular type of memoir that I look for when I’m browsing, if it catches my eye, I’ll bite.  Assuming that the writer is being completely honest, they are putting themselves out there for examination, and you have to admire that.  Seldom are memoirs published about regular, everyday people who have everyday lives and are doing the right thing.  Most memoirs are written by people who have screwed up a bit, even if they aren’t in the public eye.  Accepting responsibility for those actions, in print, and in a location where everyone in your family, town, and the world can read is pretty ballsy.

Famous people memoirs:

Other than Anne Frank (who became famous as a result of her diary), I have read a few famous people memoirs.  What is the appeal?  I don’t particularly like the paparazzi and the TMZ crap, but my husband is a rock n roll encyclopedia.  He argues that he was born in the wrong decade.  I, on the other hand, came into this relationship without such an education.  I know the music if I hear it, but only recently have I begun to tell the difference between the wailing of Robert Plant and Steven Tyler.  Or the guitar expertise of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan (blasphemy coming from a Texan).  And it doesn’t help that Stevie covered Jimi.  And that Jimi often covered Bob Dylan.

Music is a very important part of my relationship with my husband, has always been since we were teenagers, and when the older gents started writing down their memories (while they are mostly intact), I decided reading them might help me out a little.

I have read Keith Richard’s  (and James Fox)”Life”.  It is well written and it does read like you are having a conversation with “Keef”.  I am not a huge Stones fan, I never really listened to them before seriously being with my husband, but I enjoyed reading this book.  I enjoyed reading how he came up with some of the signature sounds on particular songs, how he had the idea for lyrics and parts of songs.  I can’t do it (songwriting or instrument playing), so it is fascinating to me.  And the anecdotes about his legal issues, drug use, and affairs were amusing as well.  Keith owns up to his drug use, relationship issues, etc.  I admire that.

I have also read Steven Tyler’s “Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?”:  A Rock and Roll Memoir.  It is not credited with another person as a writer.  As much as I enjoyed the same things I enjoyed while reading about Keith Richards, it was like Steven was holding things back, or glossing over parts.  I knew considerably more about Aerosmith as they enjoyed a comeback during the 90s on MTV and I am a part of that generation.  I just expected a bit more…honesty?

Non-famous people (yet) memoirs:

Browsing through the Kindle books one day I came across this gem:  Dying for Triplicate: A True Story of Addiction, Survival and Recovery by Todd Zalkins.  It intrigued me because as a nurse, I come across addiction, particularly prescription pill addiction, all the time.  I once worked in a pain clinic and my daily duties included looking out for patients that were diverting or who were abusing their medication.  This memoir is about a young man who had severe addiction issues.  He starts in childhood and with his early memories of drugs and alcohol.  He describes how the addiction started: he had an injury, they gave him a powerful pain killer.  He got addicted.  He tried rehab several times, but again relapsed.  He describes exactly what happens when a person is addicted to these powerful substances, that are intended to be prescribed to cancer patients, but are being prescribed for back pain.  His descriptions of the behavior he engaged in, the methods he used and why he did it, how he recovered has actually helped me in my practice as a nurse to understand the addiction process.

In the same category of drug books, Closet Full of Coke: A Diary of a Teenage Drug Queen by Indra Sena, piqued my interest.  I also posted my thoughts about this book on my post about books that haunt me.  As I was a child through the entire 80s, I know nothing about the “War on Drugs”, other than they had a bunch of assemblies at school and we got stickers that said “Say NO to drugs”.  Right.  This memoir had me completely hooked.  Written as a type of journal or diary, it is sad and did make me cry a few times.  I could not believe that this girl, at her age, could do what she did and no one really cared.  At 15, she is basically abandoned by her parents and is forced to find her own income.  As she had been selling “uppers” at school for a few years already, she meets a dark and handsome man at her regular dealer’s house who promises her that he has a new product that can make her rich.  Cocaine.  And so begins a whirlwind of dealing, dancing, spending, trips to Florida, evading the police.  Totally had me mesmerized from start to finish.

Not a sad memoir! I picked this one up via bookbloggers.net.  The Snitch, Houdini and Me: Humorous Tales of Death-defying Childhood Misadventures by Johnny Virgil.  I often look for books that will make me laugh or smile instead of war, zombies, and the apocalypse.  This was exactly what I was looking for.  Even though the author is much older, I did find similarities that I guess are universal when you grow up in suburbia.  I will come out right now and identify myself as a Snitch, or in my family, Squealer.  To this day, I don’t know how it happens, but I still Squeal.  My brother is Houdini and the author mixed into one.  I loved all of the stories provided by the author, especially the ones about snooping for Christmas presents, his death defying feats (that is my brother), and war on the teenagers.  They really could have killed someone.  I’m not sure if I would have said that last sentence if 1) I wasn’t a nurse and 2) I wasn’t a mother. Overall, extremely funny and made me nostalgic for my childhood.

I decided to exclude any historical memoirs because then this post would be much, much longer than it already has become.  Another post for another day.

And don’t get me started on the non-fiction.

I read all 🙂

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