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Gentle words of wisdom from a woman driven by "senseless, relentless hope.”

A wife and mother's reflections on being imperfect and loving it.

When people from her church started telling blogger and founder Melton that she and her family seemed so "perfect," she was dismayed. Rather than continue to let others believe that she led a trouble-free life, the author decided to become "a reckless truth-teller." In a memoir that is also an inspirational guide to daily living, Melton tells the story of how she learned to carry on through the inevitable trials of living "without armor and without weapons.” For two decades, she writes, "I was lost to food and booze and bad love and drugs." Her problems with alcohol and drugs led to arrests, a criminal record and difficulties getting a job. Although she was happily married, Melton's relationship with her husband had begun as a result of "confusing sex with love, and [winding] up pregnant." Then one day she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Melton credits a deep faith in God as well as strong connections with her family as being the cornerstones of her personal success. But as with everything else, learning to make those relationships work was a daily challenge. As a wife, Melton had to be willing to not only understand her husband's needs, but be honest about her own and find effective ways to communicate them. As a mother, she had to learn to forgive herself for allowing her anxieties "to pour out like gasoline on [the] raging fire" of her children's tantrums and other difficult behaviors. Only by living in a state of loving vulnerability would she be able to do what she desired most: touch others and be touched by them in return.

Gentle words of wisdom from a woman driven by "senseless, relentless hope.”

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-9724-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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