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Non-Fiction Reviews: (View All)

  • Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding
  • Author: Lynn Darling
  • User Rating: 4
  • Review: TCL Call #: BIO Darling L

    Cindy's Rating: 4 stars
    This is one of a few books I've read lately exploring the theme of women who have experienced some upheaval in their well designed life...through a death, divorce, empty nest syndrome....and go on to recreate something entirely different in their second half.
    Out of the Woods was the best of those books. When her daughter leaves for college, Lynn Darling, a widow, finds herself alone in New York and totally lost. She has no idea what she wants or even who she has become. Searching for clarity she leaves New York and buys a house in the Vermont woods, a house she has only seen in a newspaper real estate advertisement, and embarks on a life she knows nothing about. Now totally adrift, she begins to put herself back together.
    One of the inspiring things about this book, reminiscent of "Eat, Pray, Love", was how hard the author wants to succeed on her own despite all the setbacks that occur. And she maintains a sense of humor which made the book fun to read. She continues to get lost, not only metaphorically but actually lost on her own property, and takes a Wilderness Survival class where she learns to use a compass and topo map. She wonders why everyone comments about how brave she is, when a new Vermont friend tells her "Brave is polite for crazy.".
    It was an inspiring realistic memoir about relying on yourself when navigating the twists and turns of life.
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Fiction Reviews:(View All)

  • Still Life with Breadcrumbs
  • Author: ANNA QUINDLIN
  • User Rating: 3
  • Review: TCL Call #: F Quindlen A

    Cindy's Rating: 3 stars
    This is the story of Rebecca Winter. She was once a famous photographer, but when the glow (and the royalties) of her former success have faded, her high profile though difficult marriage is now over, and her day to day responsibilities of being someone's mother have ended she is not sure who she has become. When her son refers to her as "the artist formerly known as Rebecca Winter" she decides change is needed.
    So, Rebecca rents her Manhatten apartment and moves to a cottage in upstate New York searching for regeneration and new inspiration for her career.
    Of course, nothing goes as planned, which leaves her at times wishing to be back wandering Central Park instead of the ramshackle woods that now belong to her.
    But unexpected good things happen too...her roof collapses, but the relationship she develops with Jim the roofer enhances her life more than all the years of Manhattan dinner parties ever did.
    In between there is a mystery to be solved. Rebecca, stumbling upon a series of memorial crosses in the woods behind her house thinks these may be the inspiration for her next professional success...but at what price.
    This is a perfectly predictable love story about embracing second chances, reminiscent of Jodi Picoult I thought. Anna Quindlen's observations about what women are really thinking are always worth reading.
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  • Someone
  • Author: Alice McDermott
  • User Rating: 4
  • Review: TCL Call #: F McDermott A

    Cindy's Rating: 4 stars
    I look forward to a new book by the author Alice McDermott almost as much as new works by Alice Munro or Anna Quindlen...but I would have chosen this book simply because of its cover design. A simple serene illustration of a Brooklyn neighborhood where a thousand "someones" live is depicted.
    This book is a portrait of the life of Marie Commeford. We first meet her when she is 7 years old, waiting for her father to return from work to greet her on the steps of their brownstone in an Irish Catholic neighborhood.
    Over the next 200 pages we read about the major and minor events of her life...marriage, births, deaths and throughout, her relationship with her brother Gabe. And perhaps, nothing more distinguishes her life from yours or mine, but it is in the subtle observations of those events and the beautiful writing that makes this book shine. It made me think of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith.
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