Category Archives: Memoir

Duped by Abby Ellin

The author of this book fell for the lies of a narcissist and thought she was going to marry him. This got her interested in the lies people tell and other cases of people being duped by a liar. It turns out it happens a lot. Duped weaves the stories of people who have fallen for the lies of others with facts and statistics on liars, lies, and lying. The writing style is excellent and really draws you in, somehow making the facts and figures just as fascinating as the narratives. I highly recommend this book, particularly if you have ever known a narcissist.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 14
Pages Read in 2020: 3821
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Filed under Memoir, Non-Fiction, Reason: Vine Review

Identical Strangers by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein

Told in a back and forth style, Identical Strangers recounts how identical twins separated in infancy and adopted by two different families as part of a nature vs. nurture study found each other and set out to learn about the study and to discover who their biological mother was. It’s quite interesting and includes tidbits of information scattered throughout about topics ranging from twinning to what we know about twins who were separated and find each other later to mental health issues. Sometimes the narrative dragged on and got repetitive. Sometimes the women were rather insufferable and not very likable. Overall I enjoyed the book, however, and actually learned quite a bit.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 126
Pages Read in 2019: 32,107
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Drown by Junot Diaz

Drown is a collection of short stories about growing up in the Dominican Republic. They are told in a stream of consciousness sort of way with absolutely no quotation marks. Usually lack of quotation marks bugs me, but because of the conversational way the book is written, I think it worked okay not to have them. Sometimes the stories are quite crass and there’s a fair bit of bad language. I didn’t dislike this book, but I didn’t really like it either.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 116
Pages Read in 2019: 29,936
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Diary of “Helena Morley” by Helena Morley

Helena Morley, born in 1880, kept a very detailed diary from 1893 until 1895 when she was an early teen growing up in Brazil. It was originally published in Portuguese and then later translated into English. It’s an interesting glimpse into the life of a young teen. There are numerous footnotes explaining words that weren’t translated, who people and places are, and anything else to aid in understanding her diary. The translator always wrote I and Anotherperson instead of Anotherperson and I and that pretty much drove me crazy while reading it. If you are looking for a translated book to read, this is a good enough choice.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 114
Pages Read in 2019: 29,583
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Auschwitz Belongs to Us All by Marta Ascoli

Marta Ascoli was a Jew living in Italy when Hitler’s forces invaded. Auschwitz Belongs to Us All is her story. It is short and told from a kind of technical, distant view. You can tell how traumatized she still was when she wrote the book. As with all Holocaust survivor stories, hers is heartbreaking and totally worth taking the time to read.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 104
Pages Read in 2019: 26,376
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Juniper by Kelley and Tom French

Juniper French was born at just 23 weeks 6 days after a placental abruption. This book is the story of her many months in the NICU, full of triumphs and setbacks, combined with a lot of thoughts and feelings from her parents as they tell it in alternating chapters. Both of her parents were journalists and so they easily wove facts and statistics in among the terror, grief, excitement, and love they went through having such a tiny, sick baby. I enjoyed the book a lot. It was very well-written and even knowing that Juniper survived, I was completely engaged wondering what she would have to overcome next. I recommend it to anyone who likes memoirs.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 99
Pages Read in 2019: 25,373
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Covering his first two years as a vet from the time he arrived to work for an established vet until he got married, All Creatures Great and Small reads like a collection of short stories, sometimes about life in Yorkshire and sometimes about attending animals. The pace is slow, really helping to get the a feeling of life on the early mid-1900s English countryside. It’s an enjoyable book, I only wish he had been a little heavier on the veterinary part of his life. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about animals.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 97
Pages Read in 2019: 24,807
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo