Book Review-Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig

This author is good friends with another well know author, Sue Monk Kidd writer of The Secret Life of Bees. She encouraged Terry to write this memoir, she told her that “the world needs your story”.

The authors mother, Carola Jean was given permission to marry at age 14, by 15 she had her first baby, Terry, then two years later another Vicki. By age 18 she decided to leave her husband and the girls father.

She moved her two girls and went to live with her sister Eunice and her daughter Nancy. The two sisters tried to be there for each other but Eunice would take off for a few days on drinking binges. She would come back and shower her daughter Nancy with gifts making up for her absence. In the meantime Carola Jean offered her daughter, Terry….the author to a great Aunt by marriage, she was turned down.

Carola Jean was working at a drug store and met Davy, a doodlebugger who is a seismic driller for oil. Shortly thereafter they got married in East Texas. He was a good man, a hard worker and loved Carola Jean greatly. Seventeen months later another child name Patricia came into the world. Davy had to be away for his work which is the time Carola Jean went to the bars and danced with other men and brought them home. Soon after Patricia was born Carola Jean moved Terry and Vicki back to Iowa to live with their biological father whom they didn’t really remember because they were so young.

So I am sure that you get the picture by now. This is the story of how a woman had to grow up so fast to keep her family together against the odds of her mentally unstable mother. From going to twelve schools, the many marriages of her mother and five siblings, suicide attempts and drug abuse by her mother and so many other roadblocks.

Carola Jean passed away at the age of 40. The book starts out at her funeral and ends with the author in her 50’s, finding her grave again to sit at it and read this memoir to her because she really was the subject of it. She was 25 when her mother died.

Book Review-The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah is one of my very favorite authors. I haven’t found a book that she has written that I didn’t like. I can get lost inside the story and that is my goal for a good book.

The primary setting of this book is Alaska. The father, Ernt was in the Vietnam War and was captured for 6 years. He has a wife, Cora and a daughter Leni. They lived in Oregon, and since Ernt came home from the war he was not the same person. He was angry all the time, couldn’t hold down a job, they were always moving and always fighting.

He received a letter one day from the father of his buddy that died in the war. It stated that the buddy had left him the land and cabin that he owned in Alaska.

Ernt decided that this was the new start that they needed and prepared to move to Alaska. Cora did not have a good relationship with her parents who lived fairly close but she went to visit them before they left to see if she could get some money from them, which came in very handy since there were not a lot of jobs where they were going.

This book gave a vivid view of Alaska and the people who live there and why. It was a journey through Ernts deteriorating mental health. It took us through the domestic violence that he bestowed upon Cora and then Leni. Cora could not give up on Ernt until he had turned his violence onto Leni. The people of the town where they lived banded together and helped, first as newbies who were totally unprepared for the Alaska winters and then to help Cora and Leni get away. I could feel the coldness of the winter and how hard it was to cope, along with the long nights. Very enjoyable book!

Book Review-Making Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa M.D.

This book was written nine years ago and the setting is the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. The author is the doctor in this facility.

This facility has three floors, and on each floor there are two resident cats. The third floor is the unit that cares for residents with Alzheimers. This is where Oscar lives. Oscar has the run of the third floor, his food and water is at the nurses station and he goes about his business visiting. But there are many rooms and he doesn’t stay long…..only when the patient is about to die. Then he will come into the room and sniff the air, jump up on the bed and curl up beside the patient. He will stay there until they pass on and the funeral home comes and takes the body away. Then he is off duty again. It wears him out and he sleeps the next day away, more so than what cats normally do.

The doctor was not a cat person, and really was skeptical about this. The nurses and aids would try to tell him about Oscar and how he could do this but he took it upon himself to visit families who had Oscar be with them. He wanted their take on this phenomenon. He received views on Oscar but he also became a much more empathetic person from speaking with these people. He understood better what people were going through when their loved one was dying from this disease. Since he also had a disease that may someday render his arms and legs useless it help him to not focus on himself but to live life well. This also gives the reader food for thought, that we don’t know what is ahead of us, what will it be like when after all the years we are married and then to lose your spouse, and not have them beside you anymore.

Every chapter in this book started with a cat quote, two of my favorites:

1.One cat just leads to another-Earnest Hemingway
2. A cat is always on the wrong side of the door-Anonymous
All in all this was a delightful book. I loved that they had cats at this facility, it made it seem very homelike and the reason why people chose to stay there.

Book Review-Without A Doubt by Marcia Clark

A few years ago I picked this book up at a used book store as you can see by the price tag of $3.00, and decided that this should be a good after Christmas read this year.

In 1995 I had a 4 year old and was a stay at home mom, so I had the time to watch “The Trial of the Century” each day and I was hooked and amazed when he was acquitted. I am still amazed after reading this book of the acquittal.

Marcia stepped away from trials after this one and she has never done another one. She also had young children at the time and was juggling motherhood, this trial, becoming a celebrity, illness, a divorce, and then her spouse filed for petition to get the children.
This is how I remember Marcia Clark in 1995, thin, now I think bordering on gaunt after reading the book, and I understand why. Such pressure this trial was and balancing everything else too.

After the trial she was offered this book deal for four million dollars. She was District Attorney for Los Angeles County, She needed the money it is not the same as having your own law practice. This trial changed her life so much, I am sorry that she only got four million. But it has led to other good things.

Here is Marcia Clark in 2016, 21 years later. She looks good! I had to study the picture before I was convinced that it was her. The trial ended on October 3, 1995 and the book was published in 1997. This book was hard for her to write, to go over the events, still recovering from her illnesses, trying to get her life back to some normalcy. She was mad, mad that the jury took race over evidence. For a trial that lasted from January 1995 to October 1995 it only took the jury 4 hours to come to a verdict.

An excerpt from the books Prologue. This book answered the questions that I have always wondered. I missed that this book came out, or I am sure that I would have read it. When I watched it on television it was broken up, and then the press conferences, it wasn’t a complete picture like this book.

Orenthal James Simpson killed his wife because he was a controlling, wife beating, narcissist. He planned the murder and poor 25 year old Ronald Goldman just happened to be at the wrong place and was murdered horrendously too. Race had nothing to do with it, but everything to do with the verdict.

Simpson had been dumped by his then girlfriend Paula Barbieri, through a voice message. Which by the way Barbieri didn’t tell that little important tid bit until the civil trial. Simpson had been ignored and not invited to dinner by his ex-wife after their child’s dance recital and he had been embarrassed. It all set him off and he planned the murder for that night.

Nicole was never able to totally get away from him like many battered women. He stalked her, watching her have sex after they were divorced, while staring though the window in the bushes. She would call the police after an episode of battering and nothing was every done. They found after her death, in a bank lock box, pictures of herself after she had been beaten. Information that she kept because she knew there was a good possibility that she would be killed and she wanted them to know who did it.

Marcia Clark has since written six other crime books and she has a show on A & E network called ; Marcia Clark Investigates The First 48. I will be tuning in for sure.

As for Simpson he was found liable in the civil trial by the Brown and Goldman family. Here is a good article about it from 1997.

In 2008 Simpson was convicted of an armed robbery in Las Vegas served 9 years of his sentence and was let out on parole in 2017. Here is a good article from the New York Times.

Also here is a pretty good article of where people are now and what they are doing. It does not talk about Nicole’s father though. He has since passed away from Alzheimers disease.

Orenthal James Simpson is now 70 years old, has now spent time in prison, owes more money than he can come up with and has been let out on parole. What is ahead for him?

Nicole Brown Simpson would now have been 59 years old

Ronald Goldman would now have been 49 years old

Two lives taken too soon and so brutally

I ate this book up and could not put it down until it was finished.

Book Review-Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

I received this book as a gift last year (2017) and it had just come out.  I didn’t read it until recently and it worked out because I then watched the HW funeral and also Barbara Pierce Bush had gotten married in October and saw the pictures of that.  I follow George H. and Laura on Instagram. 

This book was thoroughly enjoyable.  The stories of the girls growing up and when they lived in the Governors mansion then the White House.  Their college years and when 911 happened.  They loved Kennebunkport and all their Grandparents and spending time with them and their cousins.

The two girls have gone to different universities, found their own careers which are very different but their comfort zones are being back together.  The connection from the womb.  They look very different and hold themselves very different too, but they think very similarly.  Service is a very large part of their lives.  This was a great read!

Book Review-The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

This book was just darn cute. It was written in both Joanna’s and Chips voices, with different fonts for each. It explains how their marriage and business got started. They are very different individuals and I believe that is how it works. Joanna is quiet and subdued where Chip….well…isn’t, but very entertaining. He is a fun but irritating person, who doesn’t have much fear of trying new endeavors. They have done well and keep adding new lines to their story along with a new baby, who came after the book was finished. This book was published in 2016. My son Kevin and I always watched Fixer-Upper together. He loved the use of all the tools and the craziness of Chip. We both loved to watch the different houses and would discuss what we liked the best and were definitely disappointed when they ended the show. Chip and Joanna have now come out with a good possibility of a network and it will be fun to see what they do with it. Kevin and I look forward to it. If you are fans of Chip and Joanna, read the book, it was a fun read.

Book Review-The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

I am an Amazon Prime member and they send book suggestions. I don’t usually look at them because I know that I would buy one. This time I did and I bought one, of course. I have many  books that I need to read,but oh well….you know.

Many things caught my interest, the title, the color of the book and that is was about a man who owned a book store. I love bookstores, oh the possibilities!
When I started this book I perceived this man as quite old, a widower, living in a musty bookstore, with old titles, and was very cranky. I was very surprised that he was in his mid thirties, and had just lost his wife a couple of years before. I thought it was well written because it gave the reader the sense of just how sad A.J.Fikry was.
Many things started happening to him that started waking him up to life again. He met a new literary rep, though he was mean to her the first time. A two year old was left with a note, in his store for him to take care of, with the mother washing up on shore the next day. With those two things it grew and was fantastic to watch him join the world again. Though you will need to keep a few tissues nearby.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it took me no time to finish it. By the ratings and reviews many felt the same way. I always looked forward to picking it back up.

Book Review-Still Me by Jojo Moyes

This book is the third of a trilogy by Jojo Moyes.

1. Me Before you
2. After You
3. Still Me
These books are about Louisa Clark, who is a care taker of people. She did not start out that way in the beginning of the books, she was a waitress. Her evolution into care taking has been an interesting and emotional ride.
I have reviews on the first two and had to read the third, it did not disappoint.
The setting for this book is in New York City where she came to assist a very wealthy, younger second wife, who was not originally from the United States and married into this status of wealth. It took Louisa a while to figure out what the needs of this woman were. Louisa worked long hours, had some perks and many quirks as with the mega wealthy living the elite life in downtown Manhattan. Eventually events happened that Louisa got let go from this job and surprisingly became employed, with no pay, by the irksome woman down the hall with her dog. Louisa had been treated poorly and unfairly by the wealthy family so we are seething at that, and then started liking the irksome woman where the story takes a interesting turn.
I enjoyed this book, it is purely entertainment and liked the intertwining of the people in Louisa’s life. Will she find happiness again? When she was let go of her job, which brought her to New York from England, would she have enough money to live on? How was she going to do that? I like New York City, lost love, found love etc. I do recommend this trilogy, it is not deep, just an enjoyable easy read. Keep a few tissues nearby.

Book Review: Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser

This book has won many awards; A Pulitzer Prize, one of the 10 best books of 2017 by the New York Times, National Book Critics awards for biography’s and many others. It was not what I was expecting and I disliked it. I call it “The Bash Rose Wilder Lane” book. It is a half of interesting information about Laura Ingalls Wilder with a dash of Almanzo thrown in. Half of the unsavory, mentally unstable, strong willed and bossy Rose. Clearly the author did not like RWL by the language that she used. I don’t see this book as conveying much of the American Dream of Laura Ingalls Wilder as trying to persuade the reader of what a poor money handler and terrible daughter, political rebel Rose was. I finally got to the point that I would skip the long Rose tirades, they wore me out. The author should have just written a biography on Rose Wilder Lane and not disguise it as a book about her mother, truly disappointing.

Katherine Hepburn

In Bar Harbor Maine this summer there was a second hand book store right next to the library. I spent a little time there and discovered some really good finds. This book is one of them- Me…Stories of my Life….by Katherine Hepburn. I find I am drawn to books about real people. After finishing the book I then decided I needed to revisit some of her movies.

So I rented The Philadelphia Story, which on a scale of 1-10 I give a 7. It kept my interest and was humorous and fun. I just didn’t finish it with, Boy that was good!!

The next I watched again was On Golden Pond. In fact we even had the DVD. This is always one of my favorites. More so now since Katherine wrote about the story and characters.

The last two I had watched with my Mom a long time ago, she has been gone 20 years! Guess Who’s coming to dinner with Spencer Tracy. He passed away a few weeks after the taping.

The African Queen which was an exciting movie. The leaches still stand out in my mind. She did so many different movies. She was such a strong women and I give the book a rating of a nine. I learned a lot and it kept my interest.