Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Story of Resilience - Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals the Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor

Image result for stir by jessicaOne of the things I like best in a book is resilience.  It is in abundance in Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals the Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor.    Fechtor poignantly describes her recovery from a burst brain aneurysm.  She dwells not on the bad days or difficulties, but on taking each day as it comes and forging ahead.  Life is filled with roadblocks and difficulties for all of us.  The quality of our lives depends on how we respond to these occurrences and how do or do not let them define us. 

Fechtor lets the aneurysm and subsequent surgeries (and problems) define her only in terms of how she can recover and how she can make the best of it.  This leads her back to the kitchen where she felt most at home and where she begins to write about her experiences.   Each chapter ends with a recipe relevant to the subject or person contained therein.  After I finished to book, I felt like I was one of her friends and was invited to her place for dinner.  This is one of the best books I've ever read.  Highly recommended.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner

I first read reviews of this book last spring and I knew immediately that I wanted to read it.  It sounded like a fun, quick read and I thought maybe I'd learn a little Bridge lingo in the process. The book did not disappoint and the further I got into the book, the more the book became a multi-layered personal reveal of mother/daughter dynamics - without being heavy or burdensome.

What begins as a memoir of her mother's weekly bridge group grows into a reflective memoir on mothers and daughters, families, family secrets and friendship.  The big winners here are friendship and the author's acceptance of her mother as she is.  The mother/daughter journey can be difficult to navigate, but Betsy Lerner is like an explorer. She never gives up, whether asking questions about her mom or learning bridge. 

There are some difficult subjects, but Lerner's empathy and honesty will help others who have faced similar losses.  Her sense of humor is quirky and helps keep the tone light.  Readers will admire her tenacity and will love getting to know the Bridge Ladies.  This is a delightful book to read.  Highly recommended.

To learn more about The Bridge Ladies, check out this YouTube clip: