Showing posts with label Memoir book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memoir book review. Show all posts

March 30, 2014

Follow the Joy: A Memoir by Jason Scott Kurtz

Unhappy with his job and life in the States, Jason makes the decision to buy a one-way ticket to India in hopes to find himself and find spirituality.
He doesn’t have a travel plan, and comes as prepared as he can be. But, even with all the advice and preparation, nothing can help him with what he encounters.

Harassed by beggars and over-priced cab rides, Jason makes his way to different parts of India. It is a beautiful place, but it is filled with things unimaginable by people who have never been there.
During his trip, he decides to take a course in meditation. Going for days without talking ends up being difficult, but he comes out the other side hoping to become a new person.

Meeting the locals helps him along. His visit to Nasik opens his eyes to what the Indian spiritual culture is really about. He learns more than he could just traveling around by himself.

After Nasik, Jason makes his may to Calcutta where one could argue is where his journey REALLY begins.
He learns more about himself here than he has anywhere else throughout India. Holding the hand of a dying man, cleaning people who cannot help themselves, and learning that just a simple touch or massage can make a lonely person happier than anything.

His time in Calcutta was probably my favorite section of the book to read. The others kind of had similar themes with them trying to fight off the beggars and trying not to make the cab drivers too mad.
The Calcutta trip was just so real and very emotional in a way. It is fitting that it is the last part of the book. It really ends on a high note. It was what his trip was all about.

If you like travel or spiritual memoirs, this is one to pick up. It has a nice balance of both, and Jason gives you a good amount of details about everything that he is encountering. It is easy to imagine that you are there experiencing it with him.

Jason’s writing style is easy to follow and fun to read. It is filled with both narrative and dialogue so it stays interesting the whole way through.

4/5 stars

March 28, 2014

Daddy Was a Punk Rocker by Adam Sharp

This memoir was extremely emotional: Happy, sad, and everything in between.

Adam was not born into an easy family. His parents were heroin addicts and often seemed to be interested in everything except being around to raise him.

Growing up always trying to get his parents’ attention was hard on Adam and lead to a lot of inner conflict.

Crying when his dad didn’t show up for their scheduled meetings, dealing with his mother’s physical and verbal abuse growing up, Adam did not have it easy, but he still loved his parents.

The one common theme in this book was music. It was sort of all centered around his father’s love for music and how they did not share the same music tastes. Adam felt if he could just listen to the same music as his father, they would have a closer connection, and maybe he would want Adam to stay with him.

As his life progresses and he tries to find himself, he ends up in a bunch of different places with a lot of different people, but it always comes back to his parents. Whether he has talked to them recently or if something reminds him of them while he is away.

This is a memoir of self-discovery. Even if the road to it is difficult, it can be achieved.

Adam's writing style in this memoir is very visual. You can almost feel as though you are in every scene. It adds a nice depth to the story and makes it all the more real as well. 
His descriptions are well done and never drag on for longer than they have to. They are long enough so that you do not feel as though you are missing anything, but they aren't so long that they bore the reader. 
Aside from the actual story itself, that was my favorite part of this one. 

It was really well written, I felt that it flowed nicely together with the use of narrative and dialogue.
I found it hard to put it down at time. It was such an intriguing story that I just wanted to know what was happening next.

Even if you cannot relate to Adam's story, you will be pulled into it, and it is hard to stop reading once you start. 

4/5 stars

Memorable Quotes: 
"I was born healthy and strong. I shouldn’t have been. I’d shared my mother’s poisonous blood for nine months and I was supposed to be born addicted to heroin. I should have spent my first few weeks fighting for my life, suffering from vomiting, shaking, and sweating as I was weaned off my drug dependence with morphine or methadone."

"More important than the adulation was the lesson I’d learnt. I had learnt what could be achieved with the power of the mind, and more specifically, with the power of dreams."

"But sometimes the best way to grow is to stand still for a while. I needed to stop running, to stop trying to become someone new, to stop escaping painful memories and uncomfortable thoughts. It was time I stayed and faced them, worked out who I really was, who I wanted to be. No more pretending."

March 27, 2014

The Face of A Miracle by Jodi Sampson

The Face of A Miracle tells a touching story of finding faith through adversity.

Growing up, Jodi always wanted to have a family. She always wanted to be a mother, but this didn’t come easy for her.

Faced with the reality that she might not be able to have children after a few miscarriages, being able to birth her first child was a true godsend.

She went onto have two more children, but it never got easy.

With her youngest child, they had to face the hurtful truth of his cancer diagnosis.

He had a tumor in his head, and he was too young to have radiation treatment without serious damage to his brain.

This memoir follows their family’s struggles with basically living in the hospital, and how they kept their faith the whole way that he would be alright.

Jodi knew that God was on their side, and through the good times and the bad, she didn’t let her faith waver. She kept her spirits high, and it seemed to keep her family going.

This was a very sweet memoir with a touch of emotion as well. I felt myself getting very connected to this family and just rooting for them the whole way through. I’m not sure if that was because of how it was written, or just because of what kind of people they are (or maybe it is because hockey was involved a little bit…. Just kidding ;] )

I really liked the pictures that were inserted in the middle of the book. It added an even more personal touch to an already emotional memoir.

4.5/5 Stars. Highly recommended for people who like memoirs or books about finding your faith.

March 22, 2014

13 Years in America by Melanie Steele

13 Years in America is a very real memoir about chasing happiness and stability in life. I also got out of it how love can conquer hardships.

After moving from Canada to America and getting married, Melanie and her husband chase after the American Dream.

But it isn’t always as great as it sounds.

Never happy settling in one place, they move from town-to-town and state-to-state trying to find a place that suits their lives and opportunities for financial stability.

Along the way, Melanie decides to go back to school to finish her degree. It takes up most of her time because she is dedicated to being the best. She loves doing the research and writing out her thoughts into fantastic academic papers, and even gets one published.

This doesn’t help to solve the financial situation, though.

When she decides to go to grad school, she and her husband decide it is a great time for them to start their new life as a young family. That way, he can stay home with their child while she is in school since she will be making a little bit of money. He will not have to worry about finding a job and being unhappy, and their child will never have to be taken care of by anyone except a parent. It seems like a fool-proof plan.

As time passes, the finances never become ideal, but they get along. They are happy as a family, and sometimes that is what needs to be focused on in order to get by. There are tough times along the way, but they endure it with love and positive thinking.

This book is very well written. It all flows nicely together, which makes it very easy and entertaining to read. The dialogue fit well with the rest of the story. It didn’t seem forced or out of place.

The story is very enjoyable as well. Not everything in life can be easy, but you can get through it if you have hope and are surrounded by people that love you.

I really liked reading Melanie’s story. Anyone who enjoys memoirs will enjoy it too I believe.

4/5 stars.

Memorable quotes: “I look out at the two different countries that make up this beautiful, serene landscape, and I’m struck for some reason that the two sides look exactly the same. Two different countries, but water just flows into water, and one island looks exactly the same as the other.”

“I try to push the memories from my mind. I need to look forward instead of back, I remind myself. I take two deep breaths, and that helps. I feel better with each passing moment.”

January 29, 2014

Letters To Young Chong by Melanie Jo Moore

Letters to Young Chong is a memoir written by Melanie Jo Moore that is built on her friendship (well… sometimes friends, sometimes cousins…. Sometimes sisters) with Melissa Moore (no actual relation).

It has a very good flow to it by working in chronological order. Some memoirs can try to get too much information into one book and jump all over the place while losing the reader in the process. I did not find this to be the case here, although maybe the incredibly crazy stories had some hand in that haha.

This book takes you through the beginning of Melanie and Melissa’s friendship that began during their early school years when they would constantly be confused for one another due to their similar names. Melanie held quite a grudge over Melissa for this, and wasn’t very fond of her for a long time.

I guess that could be how all great friendships began.. or maybe they are just a very unique pairing. I will go with a mixture of both.

They grew up in a rural area and did not have much to do. So, obviously, this translates to them causing havoc everywhere they went.

Then the book jumps a little to when they are older.

You thought there was a lot of alcohol, boys, and trouble when they were in high school.. just wait until you continue reading.

This book is pretty long, but the length is also a bit deceiving. It has a very quick pace to it, so the length is actually pretty irrelevant. I read over half of it in one sitting.

Although this memoir is packed with crazy and hilarious stories, it also follows some rough topics as well including bad relationships and losing people close to you.

The writing is very good. It flows nicely, and the way Melanie writes interactions and descriptions of the people in the book, you can really visualize them and feel as if you know them a little bit.

Overall, it is actually pretty addicting once you pick it up. It is hard to stop reading while you are in the middle of it.

I am excited for the sequel!

4.5/5 stars