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An emotionally compelling and ultimately optimistic remembrance.

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Registered nurse and life coach Odgers’ debut memoir depicts her struggle and determination to move forward after multiple devastating tragedies.

While living in San Diego in the late 1970s, the author met her future husband, Bruce, a U.S. Navy pilot. They were married in 1979, and he later became a pilot for Delta Airlines. The couple moved to Plano, Texas, where their three sons were born. In 1992, they moved to Ramona, California, where they had “9.3 acres” overlooking the Santa Maria Valley. Bruce designed every aspect of their custom-built house as meticulously as he approached his career as a pilot. But 15 years later, in 2007, Santa Ana winds attacked with a vengeance, and a wildfire swept through town. Odgers’ beautiful home and all of its contents were destroyed—and this was only the first in a series of tragic events. The author writes in her introduction that just one year later, “in a span of eight weeks, I lost my husband, my father, and my youngest son” in “traumatic ways.” In separate chapters, Odgers writes movingly about each of her deceased family members, describing in detail her evolving and unique relationships with each one over the course of their lives. She also effectively defines the particular contours of her grief in each instance, which range from crushing pain to sad acceptance. The book is essentially several short, separate vignettes that, taken together, paint a heartbreaking portrait of love and loss. The final two chapters are infused with joy, however, detailing how she found the resilience to rebuild her life and find a new love. Now, she says, she’s ready to share her story in order to offer encouragement to others who may be navigating grief: “Don’t stay in the fertile rut of victimhood,” she writes. A satisfying complement of family photos helps fill in the narrative.

An emotionally compelling and ultimately optimistic remembrance.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73409-390-2

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Kings Park Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2020

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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