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review 2018-02-03 23:40
Wherein Ella Progressively Loses Her $hit
We are Never Meeting in Real Life. - Samantha Irby

Samantha Irby starts this one with a bang. Last night I was forced into the world to go grab another keyboard (even though I'd already ordered one that would arrive sometime this morning.) I was in my PJs, settling in for a night of reheated pizza, catching up on my book reviews, reading and early sleep, when I realized I could no longer type spaces. So I threw on some black work boots, grabbed the audio-sync for this one and ran out the door. I was only going one place: keyboard & home! Except it took me twice as long as it should have because of Samantha Irby's first chapter, "My Bachelorette Application."


I should stop here to tell you I've never been to Samantha Irby's blog, never heard of her before a crazed cat started showing up in my recommendations everywhere, never read anything from her before last night. But I have now seen the light. Read on.


Lord, she had me rolling in the car. I was laughing so hard tears streamed down my face and I started to choke. I sat in the car howling like a loon outside of the store in 10 degree (or some godforsaken) weather. I don't know how anyone could find that chapter in particular not funny. I devised a new movement to push Chicago closer to Baltimore so Irby and I could be neighbors and neither of us have to get dressed or leave our apartments.


Since I was creating new maps, I also devised a "need" to stop at both Starbucks and Walgreens, with driving between the two, so I could listen more, and I sat outside of Starbucks ordering a coffee from my phone so I wouldn't miss anything.


She's SO right about, well, everything in that chapter. She's honest but not bogged down with ego issues that make her pretend to be anything less than a fiercely smart woman. As we would have said when I was a kid, "there's no shame in her game," and man, I needed to laugh like that. I don't want to quote because I'd end up quoting half the book. But do yourself a favor and if you can, listen to at least that first chapter.


She wants "someone who will leave her alone for extended periods of time" in a relationship. I concur. She "pretends to be interested" in lots of things, like "world issues" and "social justice" but really she just wants to watch TV and stay inside. She also has a perspective on why The Bachelorette is basically a radical feminist show (my words, not hers - she's funny.) She convinced me. I've never watched it, but I may need to. Especially since once Chicago moves closer, she apparently will watch Shark Tank with me!


I may be predisposed to love this book because I, too, am a wild child who was not raised by my parents or wolves. I too prefer saying inside. I too “shot a rod” through the engine of my car once because I had no idea oil changes were “a thing.” I too have bad credit because I thought it would be smart to simply ignore checking accounts once they ran out of money. I too think marriage and parenting are hard, expensive and notice that all my friends/family who have done that look irritated and exhausted all the time. I too am pretty sure I’d kill any PTA mom if forced to deal with her and her nut allergies these days. I, too, have given up on pleasing others and I’m increasingly happy with that decision. I have always said that if I’d ever had kids, I would have left them somewhere with my keys long ago anyway.


I did question some things about the book. I don't believe Fred (Chapter 2) really had curtains. That's just unrealistic to a point where, unless he's gay and a decorator, I don't buy it. I'm a 50-something woman and *I* don't have curtains. (Blinds rock, and you don't have to wash them.) That's really the only thing that sounded too outlandish for me to believe in this whole adventure through Sam Irby's head. (I can call her Sam. We're practically sisters now. I might be stalking her on Goodreads, or not.)


OK, so seriously, it’s not all fun and games. There’s a tonal shift that doesn’t really work once she gets further into the book. She contradicts herself. She chastises people for their attitudes toward their own pets, then she does something pretty unthinkable. And this is where the tone doesn’t work. I couldn’t decide if she was being honest or just sticking to the heartless bitch character study when she isn’t crushed by putting her old sick cat “Helen Keller” down. I’ve had to put my “feline-children” down before, and the idea of walking out really turns me off. I’m as misanthropic as this writer, but this was her “cat-child” (her words this time) not a person, and I just don’t get it. I honestly don’t know if she’s doing comedy here or being honest. Once I started thinking about that, I wondered about the rest of the book and my review, but I gave up trying to figure it out. I’m just typing on my new keyboard...


Leaving that aside, it would be nigh impossible to stay as hilarious as the beginning without killing your readers, and it has some low points or things that just didn't work for me.


I would guess that the further you get from city-dwelling, worldly, different-from-the-majority, and skeptical curmudgeon or the closer you get to being worried about matching or what other people think, the less you will enjoy this. If you have a problem with cursing in any form by anyone, this is not the book for you. It's not gratuitous. There is a time and place for FUCK, but if one is even slightly uptight about those words, then the non-cursing parts might throw you for a huge loop.


One final but very serious thing: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK if you are easily grossed out or again, if you have a hard time with explicit clarity about bodies and words. I’m serious. I am going to blog hard about Amazon “reviews” someday, but before I do, I just need to note the undercurrent of racism in the Amazon “review” universe. Most of the people who hated this book didn’t like her use of “the English language” or found her subject matter objectionable or don’t like the cursing. Did they bother to read the blurb or ANY of the reviews? And how do you leave a nasty review about a book you didn’t read more than a few pages of?


This one really just takes the cake: I’m quoting from an Amazon 1-star review:


When I hear "funny book" I think David Sedaris, Adam Carolla, Augustan [sic] Burroughs. No. This was just sad, angry, low-rent and pointless. She says she hates men, hates to learn, dislikes society in general, and automatically assumes all republicans or suburbanites are racist jerks who hate gays, blacks, the poor, etc. (she's afraid of moving to the suburbs because she knows she'll be called the "n-word." Really???

She says sexual things that are less shocking than they are gross and creepy. (Example: She has no guilt that her white girlfriend must deal with her hairy, yeasty, crotch; it's payback for Obama not getting blacks reparations for slavery. Yeah. It's there. Page 135.)


OK, first of all, it’s “Augusten Burroughs,” bitch. Second, I’d bet my white and black parts on this reviewer being a white woman. Third, [she] names three white men -- all of whom I’ve enjoyed greatly through the years -- as her benchmark, then acts shocked by the tastelessness she finds in Irby’s book? Those three white males have written some of the most raunchy pages in my memory, including straight scatology. Is it because she’s a woman that she is somehow expected not to have bodily functions? Is it her black “urban” self that is unacceptable? Carolla in particular is just pure misogynist at times, Burroughs writes explicitly of sex acts -- homosexual sex at that. I really cannot get my head around this one. I’ve never jerked off into a sock, but I don’t judge those guys for their normal human behavior simply because my experience is different. I would never have trashed a book because I find that sort of gross. Of course I do -- I’ve got lady parts! Maybe a woman should try writing a jerk-off book and see how that plays?


This is a woman who has lived and continues to do so. She's not doing it anybody's way except her own, and she really couldn’t give a shit if you approve. God bless the chile for figuring it out earlier than I did. Though this had high and low points, I’ll be reading more from her in the future.


A Few Great Chapter titles:


  • You Don’t Have to be Grateful for Sex
  • A Case for Remaining Indoors
  • Fuck It, Bitch. Stay Fat.
  • I’m in Love and It’s Boring.
  • The Real Housewife of Kalamazoo
  • Thirteen Questions to Ask before Getting Married
  • Feelings Are A Mistake
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review 2018-01-23 20:06
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web - Garth Williams,E.B. White,Kate DiCamillo

This is the story about how a pig escapes death, more than once, and makes a bunch of friends. This story is about being rescued, having long lasting friendships, and losing loved ones. There are moments of happiness, anger, and sadness all throughout. This book is easily enjoyable for readers of all ages. I would use this book in my classroom to work on constructing time lines, discussing main events and plot themes, and sequencing of events. I would also consider having students write a summary of the story with an alternate ending. 

Accelerated Reader Level: 4.4

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review 2018-01-23 19:59
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie,Ellen Forney

Accelerated Reader Level: 4.0


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review 2018-01-10 02:05
Evita: The Real Life of Eva Peron
Evita: The Real Life of Eva Peron - Nicholas Fraser,Marysa Navarro

Having only lived 33 years and been in the public spotlight for the last six, one woman has become in the 60+ years since her death the most iconic and polarizing woman in her country without even holding political office.  Nicholas Fraser in his work, Evita: The Real Life of Eva Peron, navigates between the fantastical versions of her life to find the real woman and put her into the context of the Argentina of her time before during and after her life.


Given the multitude of circumstances that Fraser faced to get an accurate portrait of Eva Peron, including her attempts to cover up her family’s illegitimacy, the fact that he was able to give a full account of her is noteworthy.  Because of her short lifespan, the book was never going to be long but Fraser also had to contend with explaining the political atmosphere through Eva’s life especially after she became the First Lady of Argentina.  Along with all of that, Fraser had to contend with the legendary versions of Eva’s life from both pro- and anti-Peronist sources.  Yet the last 30 pages of the book are some of the most fascinating because it details the myth-creating journey that her corpse endured for almost 20 years through several governmental changes before finally being securely laid to rest in Buenos Aires.


Although the sensational accounts of Eva Peron’s life make for the ideal basis for musicals and films, the truth is just as fascinating.  Nicholas Fraser’s biography of the most iconic Argentine political figure of the 20th-century is as close to the truth of her life as one is going to get and still understand the political atmosphere without getting bogged down in minutiae that would have enlarged the book and drifted away from the subject of the book.

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review 2017-08-22 04:58
Hearts of Purpose: Real Life Stories from Ordinary Women
Hearts of Purpose: Real life stories from ordinary women doing extraordinary things for the glory of God. (The Call) - Gail G Nordskog

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Title: Hearts of Purpose: Real Life Stories from Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things for the Glory of God.
Author: Gail G. Nordskog
Publisher: Nordskog Publishing
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five

"Hearts of Purpose: Real Life Stories from Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things for the Glory of God" by Gail G. Nordskog

My Thoughts......from this wonderful read...where each author brings their story alive.

These were beautifully written stories about ten women on their remarkable journeys that made a 'great impression' on Gail Grace Nordfskog as well as to its readers.

I will introduce each other and offer up a discussion question. Now, you will have to pick up this good read to see for yourself and be able to answer the questions that are offered up at the end of each ones section of their story.

First we have Chapter one with Mary Ann Ambroselli whose main focus was on 'Counseling on Keeping PreBorn Babies Alive.
Discussion Question: This one caught my eye...Mary Ann suffered many losses in her family. Have you ever wondered where God is when tragedy strikes?

Second Chapter we visit with Cindy Reynolds whose main forcus was 'Ministry to Orphans in Linjiang.
Discussion Question:What does this mean "If you depend upon Jesus, your enemy will become your Friend? I found this quite interesting!

Chapter Three...Audrey Forster whose focus was 'Worldwide Adoptions and Aid to Orphans.
Discussion Question: When you reflect on your talents and gifts, what do they include?

Chapter Four: Patricia Blanco Steele focus on: Transforming the Lives of Abused Women and Children
Discussion Question: In reading Trisha's thoughts on "Love," which items impact you the most?

Chapter Five: Julie Dawson Focus: To Bring Healing to the Nations through the Multiplication of Medical Ships and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To Disciple Nations through Evangelism and the Multiplication of Leadership Schools for the South Pacific ad Asia
Discussion Question: Do you believe that "all things work together for good: Romans 8:28

Chapter Six: Lisa Shidler focus: Helping and Training Special Needs Orphans
Discussion Question: In reading about special needs children, what stands out in your mind about them?

Chapter Seven: Marilyn Pulis Minister, Ordained by the Assemblies of God Pulis Ministries
Focus on: Spreading the Gospel
Discussion Question: When was the first time you felt the presence of the Lord?

Chapter Eight: Lili Vaehr: CFO, MovieGuide & Good News Communications Inc.
Focus on: Biblical Guide to Movies and Entertainment
Discussion Question: Instead of a question here I would like to just add Lil's Five Don'ts to Help You Succeed in Parenting, Marriage and Life..

Don't Create Your Walls
Don't Wait
Don't Compartmentalize
Don't Be Afraid
Don't Quit

Chapter Nine: Nita Hanson Director, God's Hidden Treasures
Focus on: Bringing Hope to the Forgotten
Discussion Question: Have you ever felt that you are a "mistake?"

Chapter Ten: Sharon Daly President, The Mossy Foot Project, Ethiopia
Focus on: Providing Mossy Foot Patients with Support through Education, Prevention, Medical Treatment, Vocational Training and a Message of Hope
Discussion Question: I loved this one coming from the read....

"I have been in every moment of your past,
My hand formed you
I am with your now.
I will be with you in the future.
All tomorrows are in My hands.
Trust Me daily.
Trust Me moment by moment.
I am your life and your portion.
Trust me for everything.
I will never leave you or let you down?"

All that is left to say after reading and absorbing it all from these wonderful well written stories is to thank this author for presenting such a good reads to the readers. I didn't know when I picked this read that I was about to receive so much from each one of the stories that will truly stay with me forever. I even tried to pick a favorite one but couldn't because each one of the reads touched me in different ways.

I loved the 'Two Pertinent Devotions in Closing from New Every Morning from the author of this book: Gail Grace Nordskog.... A Daily Devotional Glorify the Lord....Oh, magnify the Lord, with me, and let us exalt His name together. [Psalms 34:3] and If God Be For Us...When then shall we say to these things? If god is for us, who can be against us? [Romans 8:31]

Thank you to the author and WNL for sending me your novel for me to give my honest opinion of its read. These were truly "Real-life stories about ten ordinary women doing extraordinary things for the Glory of God."


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