A pleasant, candid collection of autobiographical stories and anecdotes aimed at family-oriented women.
In her second book, Capone (The Little Girl Within, 1992) recounts the major and minor moments of her life in more than 60 brief, nonlinear, and conversational “messays.” Some are serious and heartfelt in tone, while others are silly and comical. Topics range from Capone’s struggles with insomnia, her adoption as a child, her volunteer work with young girls in Guatemala, her maintenance of a stealth chocolate stash, and her occasional small humiliations when auditioning for acting roles. Along the way, she gives readers a sense of the ups and downs of her daily life in Southern California, the challenges and rewards of self-publishing, and her evolving family dynamics. Standout pieces include “The Day the Bread Went Awry,” in which a botched attempt at baking leads to an unexpected kinship with an employee at a local store, and “Parlez-vous Français?,” a cringe- and chuckleworthy episode focusing on the hazards of audition jitters. Messages of faith sprinkled throughout will appeal to readers with connections to the Christian tradition, but they’re handled with subtlety, so readers of other persuasions can still enjoy the work. In “Even Babies!,” for example, she expresses her concern about being “a deterrent to someone coming to faith….I don’t want to clobber anyone.” A handful of stories seem somewhat underdeveloped, hinting at larger lessons or themes that never quite emerge, as in “City of Gold Lamé and Angels,” a tale of a trip through Los Angeles. On the whole, though, Capone’s gregarious, approachable voice allows her to deftly handle a broad variety of subjects. Rather than dwelling on misery and mishaps, the collection calls attention to the glimmers of hope and humor that lie in life’s challenging moments.
An upbeat, honest celebration of imperfection that makes a compelling case for the power of accepting oneself, warts and all.