RX for A Happy Life
Take 3 Memoirs and Read Until Morning
There's no escaping it, life is a delicate balance of ups and downs. When the wind gets knocked out of you, it's perfectly natural to feel alone, to need a cheerleader to persuade you that you'll find the right answers to regain control. Besides your own cheerleading squad of friends, family, and mentors, these three memoirs also offer valuable insights. Frank and funny, they're available 24/7 to help put your own challenges into perspective. Whether or not you find answers that work for you here, the writers' ability to provoke both laughter and tears will be cathartic.
"The inspiring story of eleven girls and the ten women they became."
The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow (Gotham Books, April 2009) just begs to be picked up, with the hand-colored snapshot on the jacket of corn-fed Midwestern girls in their 1970s shags and perms, vamping for the camera. This promise of good times to come is fulfilled in spades. There is also a counterweight of genuine pain which these lifelong friends endure and survive by the power of their intimate knowledge of each other's true characters. All of us who love our old friends like sisters will be on the phone and Facebook before finishing the first chapter of this one.
Could it happen to you?
Author Isabel Gillies could be the model in the TV commercial, pouting, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." When you read her memoir, Happens Every Day (Scribner, March 2009), she transforms from the accomplished, gorgeous blonde with the fairy-tale life into a vulnerable friend you want to protect from the pain and humiliation of her husband's and friend's affair. Isabel's a tough cookie and she can teach all of us what it means to rebuild a life shattered by betrayal, not just for herself, but for her children.
Always in the spotlight
In Always Looking Up (Hyperion; March 2009), Michael J. Fox relates his last ten years, after he retired from his leading role on "Spin City." He hasn't wasted a moment of it, stumping for stem cell research, teaching his kids that physical challenges don't define a man, and standing proud for Parkinson's patients. If you watched the ABC-TV special based on this book, you'll want more of the incurable optimism and good humor that convinces you, through anything, never to pull the covers back over your head. Meet the day head-on and show ‘em who's boss.
What do middle-American girlfriends, a college professor's ex-wife, and a Canadian TV actor have in common? Just the ability to teach us that nobody gets through life unscathed, and it's the bumps and the fellow travelers that make the journey so much more interesting.
A note from Beth Goehring: "I am so excited to write about books for CESLIE-The Women's Network™. Reading is not only a lifelong passion, but it's my job. As the editor-in-chief for a group of book clubs that includes Book-of-the-Month Club®, The Literary Guild®, Doubleday Book Club®, Mystery Guild®, and The Good Cook®, I hear the early buzz about what will soon be hot in everything from autobiography to zoology. In any week, my colleagues and I review hundreds of upcoming books to choose those that really deliver, whether it's with fascinating characters, an unforgettable story, a vicarious thrill, a wealth of useful information or compelling inspiration. Hands-down, the best thing about my job is finding that hidden gem, a novel that wasn't lavished with a huge marketing budget, not for lack of charm or quality, but because of a publisher's limited resources. When I can make a match between one of these unsung heroes and a grateful reader, then I've done my job well!"