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review 2018-05-17 22:09
Tears of the Silenced
Tears of the Silenced: A true crime and an American tragedy; severe child abuse and leaving the Amish - Misty Elaine Griffin

Okay, I am giving this 2 stars because I can't decide if it's true or not and I don't want to be made a fool. Several people have said Misty gives contradictory stories about happened in her life. And a couple of people who are former Amish have said that her description of Amish ways are not accurate, right down to how deacons are put into place. There is also the fact that this book is just so much bad, one event after another; while that isn't, in itself, unrealistic, it's coupled with wildly miraculous events, and that is where it gets hard to really believe. Everyone outside of the Amish is always telling Misty how amazing she is and how smart she is etc. She passes her GED on her first attempt even though she only has a 2nd grade education and never even saw algebra until a couple of months before the test. I don't know.

 

Then there's the sheer volume of grammatical errors, spelling errors and missing punctuation in this book. There could not have been an editor. The speech was stilted, the conversations were terribly unrealistic and nobody is that dang CHEERFUL. Especially given how bad her life has been. She keeps saying how optimistic she is, while having panic attacks and crying in corners. She clearly defines cheerful differently than I do. Oh, and this book was ridiculously long. Like, mind-numbingly long.

 

I suppose we won't ever know if she's telling the truth since Amish folks probably don't even know this book exists. But I am heavily skeptical. 

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review 2018-05-16 04:01
Beyond Belief
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape - Jenna Miscavige Hill,Sandy Rustin,Lisa Pulitzer

A few things I believe about Scientology:

 

1. L. Ron Hubbard was a con man and this was the ultimate con. He laughed all the way to the bank.

 

2. Dave Miscavige is an egomaniac and he beats his employees. 

 

3. Dave's wife has been missing for over a decade, only heard from through a lawyer, and I'm pretty sure she's dead.

 

4. I feel really bad for people that actually believe in this "religion". And that's coming from someone who believes in the invisible sky daddy. 

 

Jenna's story was so awful that at times it was hard to believe. But then you look up stories of people that escaped this cult and you learn it's an all-too-common tale. From working like a mule her whole childhood to having no true education to the constant paranoia that is the self-policing of Scientology, it was one huge nightmare. I mean, just saying you wanted to call the police was enough to get you a High Crime. A High Crime! They could beat you senseless (which they have done before) and if you say you are calling the authorities, you become the enemy.

 

I'm glad Jenna escaped. I was disappointed her husband wasn't so easy to convince to leave, but I am happy he did eventually go with her. I think books like this need to be shared so that others do not fall prey to cults. As Jenna herself said, Scientology may say to think for yourself, but it encourages the opposite. Brainwashing at its finest.

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review 2018-05-13 03:57
This is just my face
This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare - Gabourey Sidibe

I apparently have a lot in common with Gabourey. I, too, have crippling anxiety, depression, had bariatric surgery, recovered from an eating disorder, and went through my parents' divorce. I'm also too funny for my own good and tend to offend others with my humor.

 

Read this book. She's THE BOMB, to quote Obama.

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review 2018-02-01 19:59
Fire and Fury: A review with feathers
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff

Here we are, at the end of a long, challenging read. There were moments I wasn't sure I could make it, but I persisted, as is a woman's way. And what have I learned from this 300 page clusterfuck?

 

Our president is a bird brain.

 

Don't believe me? I brought the receipts. 

 

 

I want to introduce you to Snow. 

 

 

Snow is an only child, quite happy with his lot in life, and by all intents and purposes the President of the United Cage of Cockatiels. Stay with me here.

 

Snow, who was the runt of the clutch, was the only baby we kept out of four little cockatiels. He has been pampered, spoiled and allowed to run the show. He thinks he has all the chirps, the best chirps. He can be loud when ignored, and petulant when angry.

 

He literally will chew the perch out from under himself if it means it will take down one of his flock mates he's in a spat with.

 

 

He is, in short, a little shit.

 

But according to everything I have read, he is completely qualified to be our elustrious leader. They are so frighteningly similar it gives me pause. Is Donald Trump a bird? Nah, just a bird brain. Let's explore this further with quotes from the book. This is the first time I have ever highlighted in a book I purchased because I just didn't want to miss anything.

 

1. Cockatiels have notorious short attention spans.

 

Early in the campaign, in a "Producers"-worthy scene, Sam Nunberg was sent to explain the Constitution to the candidate: "I got as far as the Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head."

 

This was one of numerous times Trump had no patience for anything not to do with him. More than once it was noted he would simply get up from a meeting with a world leader and leave because he was bored. This was also why he couldn't seem to hire people: they ran on numbers and he ran on drama. He would likely not hire the proper person simply because they used data.

 

Cockatiels are trained in 10 minute intervals, by the way. Birds just don't do well with extended periods of learning.

 

2. Cockatiels love to preen, strut and be the center of attention. Even if it makes no sense.

 

...he lied about his height to keep from having a body mass index that would label him as obese.

 

Some seducers are preternaturally sensitive to the signals of those they try to seduce; others indiscriminately attempt to seduce, and, by law if averages, often succed  (the latter group might be regarded as harrassers). That was Trump's approach to women- pleased when he scored, unconcerned when he didn't  (and, often, despite the evidence, believing he had). And so it was with Director Comey.

 

Here is another peculiar Trump attribute: an inability to see his actions the way most others saw them. Or to fully appreciate how people expected him to behave.

 

One of Trump's deficiencies- a constant in the campaign and, so far, in the presidency- was his uncertain grasp of cause and effect.

 

The virtue of Donald Trump- the virtue, anyway, of Donald Trump to Steve Bannon- was that cosmopolitan elite was never going to accept him. He was, after all, Donald Trump, however much you shined him up.

 

Snow spends his day trying to woo his own mom. When that fails, he sits and crows at the top of his lungs for any attention the others might lavish on him. They mostly ignore him because they have grown tired of his obnoxious squawling. He is the cleanest of the four birds in the cage, but will poop in his own food dish. He makes little sense to his cage mates. But to himself he is an amazing, vocal superstar.

 

3. Cockatiels aren't known for their strategy.

 

As for the President, it was quite clear that deciding between contradictory policy approaches was not his style of leadership. He simply hoped that difficult decisions would make themselves.

 

...Steve Bannon was running the Steve Bannon White House, Jared Kushner was running the Michael Bloomberg White House, and Reince Priebus was running the Paul Ryan White House. It was a 1970s video game, the white ball pinging back and forth in the black triangle.

 

My tiels are notorious for getting themselves into messes. Like crashing into things then laying helplessly and waiting for me to come pick them up. They are like kamikaze pilots. I see very much of the White House in their motions. At least no lives but their own hang in the balance when Snow convinces his cage mates to blow that taco stand and fly head first into the mantel.

 

4. And finally, as much as I love them, sometimes cockatiels just aren't all that bright.

 

Trump didn't read. He didn't really skim...Some believed for all practical purposes he was no more than semiliterate. 

 

Not only didn't he read, he didn't listen...And he trusted his own expertise- no matter how paltry or irrelevant- more than anyone else's.

 

Here was a key Trump White House rationale: expertse, that liberal virtue, was overrated. After all, so often people who worked hard to know what they knew made the wrong decisions. So maybe the gut was as good, or maybe better, at getting to the heart of the matter than wonkish and data-driven inability to see the forest for the trees that often seemed to plague U.S. policy making. Maybe. Hopefully.

Of course, nobody really believed that, except the President himself.

 

Snow literally bites the hand that feeds him. And he poops on his food. Plus, might I refer you back to the picture of the chewed rope perch? 

 

 

So, in conclusion:

 

The book was frightening in its honesty. Trump isn't in charge so much as he is being led around by whoever gives him to most compliments. He's easily frustrated, he hardly works, he has turned our democratic process into a oligarchy/monarchy, and he has absolutely no grasp of why people hate him. He is a narcissist who expects everyone to love him or bow to him. He has the mistaken idea that a president is a king. And he has zero idea about policy. The sad thing is he said a few things in this book that sort of showed a real human being, but then it was completely crushed by his fragile ego. 

 

Fire and Fury confirmed he never wanted to be president. He did this to martyr himself and raise his brand, but when he won he became power hungry. He has no business in DC.

 

As for the book itself, it was well written, needed some more editing and had a couple of grammatical errors. I haven't ever read a political book before so I got a crash course in realpolitik language. But man, after this, I need a stiff drink. How about...Trump vodka?

 

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review 2017-11-14 22:08
All At Sea
All at Sea: A Memoir - Decca Aitkenhead

This book is a step-by-step in how not to behave like an adult. This woman did nothing a rational grown up would, and so I had no ability to connect with her. She left her marriage, which is fine, but she left it for a coke dealing crack smoker. And then she wants you to believe that being a dealer is boring and not all that dangerous. They play house, have 2 children and never marry (because marriage is only a piece of paper). And then it turns out he's still married to another woman. When he dies, she seems genuinely shocked she has a nightmare of logistics on her hands. Yes, honey, that's what happens when you don't marry a man but instead just intertwine your lives. His will left everything to his legal wife.

 

Plus, most of this book was just circling the drain of her constant sorrow. With pretty words. Lots and lots of pretty words. Over 200 pages, and there wasn't much substance. Just "my love died and my life is over and my kids are out of control". She had a down-her-nose view of anyone of faith, she wouldn't let the kids call her Mum, and she epitomized the idea you can be educated and still be dumb.

 

I'm proud of myself for finishing this.

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