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review 2018-09-07 15:17
This is Me: A Self-Help Memoir
This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today - Chrissy Metz

As Goodreads reviewer Katrina wrote, "I can see this getting mixed reviews because it [toes] the line between memoir and self-help. The result is that it does neither very well."  I agree.  This book ends up being a self-help memoir, and I think it would have been better to choose one lane, namely the "memoir" lane.  I can appreciate the desire to help others with the tools and insights Chrissy Metz has found for herself--but perhaps she could have framed them as "here are techniques that work for me."

 

Metz had a difficult childhood, with an abusive stepfather, an absent father, and a mother struggling to raise five kids and keep things together.  She found an inner strength and forged a path to make her dreams come true.  And she is eager to help others overcome their own struggles, and that's awesome.

 

Some misgivings I have:  Metz seems to be an adherent of "The Secret"/"Laws of Attraction."  I have issues with this, as expressed in my review of The Girl Code.  I can appreciate the spirit behind that perspective, but I feel it has some unfortunate implications.  I can also appreciate reflecting on a difficult situation/experience and considering "What can I learn from this?"  But I have much more trouble with the idea that the universe conspired to create the situation/experience in order to issue a lesson.  Just no.

 

Related to that, Metz's stepfather was horrible to her.  He was both physically and emotionally abusive.  She maintains a relationship with him, having accepted a clumsy apology from him, and notes in the book that his abuse made her feel that nothing can break her.   I have some serious misgivings about this.  Although it is obviously not her intent, I have seen this type of statement used as a justification for abuse.  This reasoning has been used by abusers and has also been a reason for victims of abuse to perpetuate the cycle of abuse on their own children/wards.  "This is how I was treated, and it made me tough, so I will do the same thing to my own kids!"  Again, I am not suggesting that Metz in any way endorses this reaction, but I can't help thinking her words might be misused that way.

 

I really appreciated the story that Metz shared, as well as her conversational, sit-with-me-and-I'll-share-my-story tone.  Metz has great insights into human behavior and shares some excellent strategies for navigating conflict and prioritizing one's personal dreams.  I recommend the book for those aspects, with the caveats noted above.

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review 2018-08-27 13:45
Today I Will Fly! - Mo Willems
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A clever book about being supportive, believing in yourself, and getting help when you need it. Such a cute book. 

I love the Elephant & Piggie series and have slowly been making my way through it. I was very excited to see the first book in the series at the library. It did not disappoint. Adorable illustrations, so many important life lessons, and a great introduction to Piggie and Gerald's characters. 

Such a cute book. This is now one of my favorite Elephant & Piggie books.
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review 2018-06-15 04:03
1968: Today's Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change - Susan Campbell Bartoletti,Marc Aronson

I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. 

 

1968 was a fascinating year. This book was not. 

 

I was really looking forward to reading this book because I wanted to learn more about this pivotal year in history. So many important events happened in that year and I was hoping to find some interesting insight into them. Unfortunately, the book left much to be desired.

 

The book consists of essays from different authors. None of the essays resonated with me. I kept waiting for one to really hit me, but it never happened. Even the ones about the topics I was especially interested in (ex. Kennedy assassination and Mexico City Olympics), didn’t leave much of an impression on me. 

 

There were a few things I liked. One was that the last essay did provide a conclusion to the book. Sometimes with nonfiction books, there’s no wrap up at the end when I feel like there should be one. Luckily, this book did provide some closure.

 

I also liked the Nightly News segment at the beginning of each section. Those were one of the more interesting pieces to read. 

 

Lastly, the parallels the book made comparing 1968 to 2018 were very interesting and thought provoking.

 

Overall, the book provides a good baseline to the events of 1968, but ultimately did not manage to do it in an engaging way. 

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review 2018-06-13 01:55
Today Will Be Different
Today Will Be Different - Maria Semple,Kathleen Wilhoite

 

 

After having enjoyed Where'd You Go, Bernadette, I was excited to find another book by Maria Semple--and especially once I realized she had gotten Kathleen Wilhoite again, to narrate the audiobook.  The two books appear to exist in the same universe, as the central character's son goes to The Galen School, just as Bee does in Bernadette.  

 

Eleanor Flood used to be at the helm of an animated show called Looper Wash.  But that was years ago.  She and her hand-surgeon husband Joe Wallace had traded New York City for Seattle ten years before, based on the premise that Seattle was supposed to be the least religious city in the U.S.  They had a deal that they'd move back to NYC in ten years, switch again ten years after that, and keep alternating for the duration.  But Joe is well ensconced in his position as hand surgeon to the Seattle Sea Hawks, and the topic hasn't been broached in quite a while.

 

So, Eleanor decides that "today will be different," but her plans are interrupted when she gets a call from The Galen School letting her know that her son Timby is complaining that he doesn't feel well.  Eleanor is convinced he's faking sick because the same thing has happened a couple of other times recently, so she takes him straight to the pediatrician.  The visit reveals that the motive for being "sick" is conflict with a classmate, and the doctor prescribes "Mommy time."  An impromptu visit to Joe's office leads to the revelation that Joe had told his staff that the family was "on vacation" that week--which raises the question of what he's been doing while pretending to go to work every day.

 

So things take an odd turn as Eleanor attempts to figure out what's going on.  No, she can't just call her husband and have conversation, because then there'd be no plot!  Meanwhile, she and Timby have lunch with a former co-worker from her Looper Wash days, and he produces something she hasn't thought about in years: a hand-made illustrated book she made many years back, The Flood Girls.  What?!?!  Eleanor never told Timby she had a sister.  "I don't have a sister!"  Well, we'll see about that.

 

There were times when I found Eleanor exasperating, but she never completely lost me, and I enjoyed the payoff.  Kathleen Wilhoite again brings another dimension to the story with her narration.  I do wish someone had coached her on pronouncing "Clowes" and "Groening," though.  As in Bernadette, there is a scene where Wilhoite gets to showcase her beautiful singing voice.  In this case, she sings "Morning Has Broken."  Although I thought it was a pleasant enough song when the Cat Stevens version was popular in the 1970s, Wilhoite did something magical to it.  I almost teared up.  (Must see if library has her CD!)

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review 2018-01-26 16:00
Have you?
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids - Carol McCloud

This story is a great way to show how random acts of kindness, smiling at someone, giving compliments, or helping someone in some way can go so far! "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" paints a picture that everyone has an invisible bucket that is always with them. This bucket carries their happiness and good thoughts, but when it is empty they are sad. You can spread joy and happiness just by being kind. This book will go hand in hand with the fairly new program that most school are doing, Leader In Me and the 7 habits. Several schools have adopted this program and really pushing being a leader and being kind to one another. One term they use is called an "emotional bank account" which is exactly like the invisible bucket in this story. This book is a great example for students to picture everyone's feelings being in that bucket. I think it helps them connect the idea instead of just telling them to be kind. I would read this book to any grade level. It is a great reminder, even for adults!

 

Lexile: AD710L

 

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