IN A HEARTBEAT

THE MIRACLE OF A FAMILY THAT WAS MEANT TO BE

A moving but uneven adoption account.

A mother celebrates the wonder of how her family was formed, including the adoption of her son, in this debut memoir.

In the opening of her book, Shepard declares her deep belief in the “law of attraction.” She asserts that her autobiography provides “absolute proof” that the law “works” and that “biological ties” are not essential in the creation of a “real family.” Her first experience of this was at age 12 when her mother, who was divorced from the author’s biological father, married again. Shepard saw the new man as a threat to “mom and me as a team concept,” but after having coffee with William, she found she had a “dad for life.” The work moves rapidly forward to discuss how the author and her husband, Carl, came to adopt their son, CJ. Shepard describes how CJs birth mother, then unbeknown to her, was caught in a traffic jam outside a hotel in which the author was staying in Dallas: “Is this what they mean about ships passing in the night? Was CJ trying to communicate? Was it all coincidence?” For those entering the adoption process, Shepard’s story is a positive and inspirational one as it describes a supportive and respectful relationship between birth and adoptive mothers. But the author adopts a conversational writing style that lacks poise and finesse: “I just couldn’t believe that in a few minutes the dream I had for so long and, to be honest, had resigned myself to the fact that it would never happen would now be a reality. I was really going to be a mommy.” Shepard also tends to employ exclamation points unnecessarily, on occasion using two or more on one page of text: “He likes to tell people we have different names because we had different fathers!” This may reflect her palpable delight in becoming a parent, but quickly becomes irritating. The memoir is a touching statement of maternal love. But the story of how Shepard’s family was formed may appear less remarkable to a wider readership, particularly those who are skeptical about the law of attraction.

A moving but uneven adoption account.

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64544-732-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Categories:

NUTCRACKER

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

Categories:

TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

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

Categories:
Close Quickview