Monday, June 29, 2009
Not long ago, Lisa posted her review of A Midwife's Story by Penny Armstrong and I took her up on the offer to read the book.
It's a pretty quick and interesting read, so even I was able to complete it in a decent amount of time.
I'm glad that I don't live within driving distance of Amish country right now because I'd probably start stalking them or something after reading this book. I love learning about other cultures. A few years ago, while I was on a week-long training for work, I stayed in Lancaster and even went on a buggy tour of an Amish community, including an actual home. Penny's description of her life birthing Amish babies and becoming friends with many in the community was fascinating to me and sparked my interest all over again.
This book also struck a chord because I've been interested in learning about more natural approaches to giving birth. I don't know what I'll do if I ever give birth again, but I do like being informed and hearing different perspectives.
I believe Megan would like to read this next. If so, email me and I'll get it right to you.
If Megan would like to pass at this time, it can go to the next interested party.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I was so excited about them that I wanted to post them here now even though I haven't read them yet:
The Camel Bookmobile, Masha Hamilton
A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah (this is the one not appropriate for high-schoolers...too graphic)
The Bite of the Mango, Mariatu Kamara
Let me know what you think about them if you get to them before I do!
Up for grabs!! First come, first served. :-)
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
The non-fiction stuff is ok, but the fiction? Much better and easier to read. It doesn't feel so much like work.
Previously, I offered these books on my blog, but I think I like this here idea of Lisa's so that we can keep it all in one place. So, from time to time, I'll offer books and reviews. Some related to Ds, or maybe not. Time will tell.
First up is Jewel.
Jewel reminded me a lot of The Grapes of Wrath, which I read back in high school. Perhaps it was the similarity of a working class family looking for a better life. Both took place in right around the same time period as well.
The book is named for the main character, Jewel Hilburn. This book basically tells the story of her life, including her relationships with her husband, Leston, and their six children. The youngest of the six is Brenda Kay, who was born with Ds.
What a time to be born with a disability! The language is that of the time and place that the book describes (think early 20th century Mississippi, mostly), so that takes some getting used to, but it's a good story, regardless.
What I took away from this book was just how far we've come in how we raise our children with disabilities. Brenda Kay was an exception in that her mother was a pioneer of sorts and fought to have her not only stay at home with the family, but also be educated.
If this sounds like something in which you'd be interested, leave a comment and it'll be on the way.
Waldman, however, seems to quickly disintegrate into the defensive posture that she so eloquently railed against. She spends many chapters, seemingly, defending herself as a parent, be it the way she chooses to introduce sex education to her children or the way she schools them in politics (note: I don't necessarily disagree with the way she's chosen to parent - heck - I totally fly by the seat of my pants, however, I found the way she wrote about it to be defensive). Some may say this vein is simple honesty and while it is honest, it is clearly contrary to the premise that we mothers should be less self degradading.
The hardest chapter for me to swallow and, if I'm being totally honest, the point at which I felt Waldman was being the most self indulgent, was the chapter about Rocketship ~ her unborn child who she chooses to terminate based upon genetic testing done via amnio. Let me say, loud and clear, I am PRO-CHOICE.
Perhaps I, too, have fallen into the judgemental nature of motherhood and am looking to brand Waldman as a bad mother for terminating her pregnancy. Granted, my opinion on this is based upon the fact that my daughter, also, has a trisomy. It's also based upon my opinion on prenatal testing and unreliability of the test results. This is not to say that I think one should not have testing done, rather that I think it's a shame that the medical profession presents the results as cold, hard fact when, in reality, false positives are quite common. *I* could never terminate a pregnancy based upon prenatal testing as I would always wonder if the results were accurate and am not willing to risk terminating a fetus that could be totally healthy (and when I say "healthy", I include trisomies, heart defects, intestinal issues, etc.). Whereas Waldman seems to have the opposite view. It seems as though her stance is that if the test results are accurate then she is "unlucky" enough to have a child who is "less than perfect" and she's unwilling to risk that the positive could, in fact, be wrong. I find it interesting that Waldman refers to her termination and "genetic abortion", as if specifying that it's for genetic reasons makes it, some how, more acceptable given that she had genetic testing (and likely medical professionals) backing up her decision to end the life of her unborn child.
I found it ironic that the very lesson those of us blessed to have a child similar to the one she terminated was the very lesson Waldman learned when one of her children was diagnosed with a learning disability. It's a shame that she did not see the irony in the fact that what she was so afraid of (developmental delay, learning difficulties) was something that was already present within her family, even though it didn't show up prenatally.
All in all, this book was a good read. It was honest. It was thought provoking. It was interesting.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson: This is the fictional story of a drug addicted porn star who is in a terrible car accident which leaves him severely burned over most of his body. While he is in the hospital for several months following his accident, a mysterious woman begins visiting him and telling him wild stories from medieval times. Intertwined in these stories is the supposed story of their past life together as lovers. Highly implausible, but an excellent read nonetheless; I really enjoyed this book. The narrator (the burn victim/ex-porn star) is likeable in spite of himself; he starts out as a cynical, selfish, shallow person (whom you still can't help but like), and grows into a deeper, more accepting person through the book.
This is a hardcover and is up for grabs. First come, first served.