book review

In Which I Look to the Future…too much

Pearls of the Spirit

I’m back at work after having a week (that’s 11 days including weekends and Thanksgiving!) free of the madness. No travel, just lots of rest, chilling out, regrouping and snuggling with the furbabies. A week free of stress helps me to love them again and not resent the daily round of feeding and scooping. But now that I’m back, it didn’t take long for me to succumb to the stress and anxiety. Vacation? What vacation? It’s all just a distant memory now and another one in the future to look forward to. And that really bugs me.

Loverboy (early 80’s rock band) sang the song “Working for the Weekend” about looking forward to the weekend romance that might occur.

One of my favorite shows was on the tube last week – Hoarding: Buried Alive – and it was focused on an older woman whose hoard was the usual ceiling-high mix…

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book review

Key Lime Pie

I needed something relaxing to read to get me through the four day weekend.

Sadie Hoffmiller, a 56 year old widow is, by her own admission, a busybody. When she follows a potential boyfriend from her home in Colorado to Florida it really is with the best of intentions. Yes, Sadie is kidnapped. Several times. And held at gunpoint. Several times. Sadie brazens her way into homes and hospitals, and along the way makes time to sample delicious foods for which she kindly provides recipes.

Key Lime Pie fit the bill of fare for a light repast, offsetting the fairly dense menu I ate on Thanksgiving day. While a little slow at the beginning, the pace did pick up and as I came to know Sadie a little better, I came to appreciate her quick thinking, ability to sidestep danger, and sassy way of asking for recipes. Particularly notable are the Southern recipes for BBQ Chicken, Cajun Coleslaw, and- you guessed it- Key Lime Pie.

Josie Kilpack

book review

Relax and Sit a Spell

storied life

Need to just relax and read something about real life, interesting characters, and a bittersweet ending? Grab a copy of this book by Gabrielle Zevin.

I have always fantasized about owning my own bookstore. Imagine being surrounded by books 24/7.  Reading about them, ordering them, stocking them, displaying them, talking about them, selling them.

In The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry we have a glimpse into the life of a bookseller, albeit a cranky, disillusioned one.  Despondent from the death of his wife, A.J. Fikry leads a life of narrow reading choices (thereby very specific book selections in his store), gruff associations with his neighbors, and general dissatisfaction while running his book store in a small island town.

His grim life takes a turn when he meets a young hip book distributor who has taken over the route of a former colleague.  Then he finds two-year old Maya sitting in the corner of the children’s area, with her Elmo doll.  Maya teaches him how to open his heart again to receive joy, to feel love, and be a friend.

Full of references and suggestions for further reading, this novel includes a running essay collection fronting each chapter wherein A.J. discusses great short stories with Maya, as she grows into adulthood.

I wouldn’t have read this book initially. The title is wordy and the action slow to start, but I am glad I did read it. The book is sweet and the characters worth knowing. I would recommend The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry to any book club.

book review

Big Little Lies


My guilty pleasure read recently was Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Based in Australia, Moriarty has a gift for women’s fiction.  I first discovered this author when I read, The Perfect Husband.  In many of her books Moriarty explores those the relationships we hold dear.  She opens the closed doors behind which our most private moments are hidden. Moriarty’s books allow us to experience both the humor and tragedy of her characters while helping us have more empathy and compassion in our own relationships.

In Big Little Lies we visit a lovely coastal town where most of the people who live there are well off, and the mothers of the Perouee Preschool have plenty of time to focus on getting the best schooling for their little ones even if it means excluding those mothers and children they feel are inferior.  The story focuses on three mothers: beautiful and feisty Madeline whose wit and temper make her a formidable opponent when the ‘blond bobs’ begin to harass her new friend Jane and her small son Ziggy.  Jane is the youngest of the mothers at the preschool. She is a loner struggling with her own self-worth and is surprised when she is taken under Madeline’s wing.  Finally there is Madeline’s best friend Celeste, with breathtakingly stunning good looks, a handsome, successful husband and the mother of two identical twin sons. Celeste holds a secret so terrible she would rather die than admit it, even to Madeline.

Big Little Lies steps apart from a ‘typical’ chick lit book by also being, at its’ heart, a mystery.  As the story opens we find that a shocking death has occurred: murder or accident? It’s anyone’s guess. Nothing is revealed until the conclusion: you won’t know exactly what happened, who was involved, or even who died.  Each chapter begins with a Greek chorus of sorts:  various witnesses, interviewed by the police, gossiping their way through the book.  The book was fun to read, and gives us a peek into mob mentality in its worst form. And yes, it happened in a preschool.

I loved Big Little Lies and look forward to the HBO special coming out in 2017.  Nicole Kidman optioned this book and will star as Madeline, along with Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley.


4 daisy rating

Reviewed by Leigh


book review, family, Memoir, mental illness, Nonfiction Review, psychology, self-help

Codependent No More


I will never stop reading this book. Codependent No More reminds me to nurture the person I am and not feel guilty about that. To take care of myself. To remember I cannot control others no matter how much I may think I know what’s best for them.

I know. It’s ridiculous. I sound like I’m nuts. But sometimes my family makes me nuts.  Codependent No More – How to Stop Controlling Others And Start Caring For Yourself was originally written from the prospective of a former alcoholic married to an alcoholic.  Melody Beattie is very frank about her background and knows where of she speaks.

However, this book for any one who is in a relationship that seems out of control. Is your teen acting out or your adult child abusing drugs? Are you are overeating, overexercising, overspending while you seethe and obsess about ways to solve the problem or what advice you want to give?   Is your spouse taking advantage of your good nature and you are doing all you can to keep the peace while inside you feel resentful and used?

It’s natural for us to want to help. The problem is sometimes things have to run their course. Sometimes we really Can. Not. Help. Still we feel compelled to try. And nothing happens. Or the person we tried to help doesn’t appreciate us. Or they don’t want our help. We feel frustrated. Angry. Hurt. Victimized.

Being codependent isn’t always about alcoholics, drug users, or someone living an extreme lifestyle, though it can be, and if that is your life then this book is for you.  But it is also about people-pleasers like me, who care too much when it is actually ourselves for whom we should be caring.

Read Melody’s book. She will make you feel good about yourself, help you embrace the strong wonderful person you are, and in the long run, help you develop healthy relationships with all your loved ones.


Reviewed by Leigh



Melody Beattie