Review: Cascade

Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What I enjoyed most about Cascade is that it is more than one kind of book: It is a sweeping historical love story but, it’s also about art and broad social movements and gender roles and self determination in one’s own life at what cost? How do you carve out a life of your own choosing? How to change paths if circumstances have swept you along and you’ve made a mistake? Must you accept the choices you’ve made and stick with them? How do you move on with the least amount of hurt to those around you, who’ve done you no wrong? O’Hara does a great job of getting the reader to care about how all this is going to turn out. There were times when I was terrified that Dez was going to make just one bad choice after another. She had my heart leaping and my stomach sinking. I’m glad I finished this in time — O’Hara will be speaking November 19th in Springfield.

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Review: Younger Next Year for Women

Younger Next Year for Women
Younger Next Year for Women by Chris Crowley
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A doctor recommended I read this so I guess I’d better!

The introduction goes on for-eeeeeeeveeeeeer. They keep alluding to the science, but not sharing it.

The writing is so bad. I couldn’t finish.

Basically, eat vegetables, eat less than you used to, exercise daily, vigorously, no excuses, and be in a positive partnership. Also, be engaged in your community; find a way to contribute.

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Review: If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You
If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You by Kelly Cutrone
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I don’t typically read self-help, but I LOVE this title.


I thought maybe this was going to be a powerful feminist primer on women in the business world. (Maybe I should have read a review.)

Here’s what this book is about: Everyone in the world is lame (and stupid!), except for Kelly Cutrone, who is VERY special. She has some great points about needing to have your own dreams and aspirations, not letting naysayers get you down, and about mentoring those who come after you once you make it, BUT when she started listing her profound 12 steps for inventing your own religion, I wanted to puke. Precious is the word for his whole thing. Here is one girl who did surely drink the Kool-Aid. Skip it unless you’re a huge fan.

(Around page 150, I decided not to stomach any more.)

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Review: The Returned

The Returned
The Returned by Jason Mott
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

There’s a weird trend going on here — so many stories about life after death for this girl who believes not in the afterlife: Love Minus Eighty, the World of the End, the 4400, and now, the Returned.

Not sure how many stars. This is a quiet, southern, small town story. People, long dead, are suddenly alive. They are not zombies. Some re-appear near where they lived. Some appear where they died. Some show up on the other side of the world, in countries where they cannot speak the language.

At first, the world’s governments help to bring them to their former homes. Some people embrace their returned loved ones, some shun them as unnatural or, even, of the devil. Eventually, they become the targets of terrified and xenophobic violence. In the United States, they are rounded up into holding prisons, very much like the Japanese-American internment camps of the 1940s.

Mott’s writing focuses on one specific small town, on one specific couple & their returned son, dead fifty years. The beginning is fascinating — Is he really their boy? Is he a copy, a shadow? Does it matter? What will it do to their marriage and their faith to return this boy to their daily lives?

The personal, religious, and political questions are raised, but not developed. Mott’s afterword speaks beautifully about remembering the freshness of grief and about self-forgiveness. The overwhelming message of the actual story in the book is that humans are crud — We imprison what we don’t understand. We murder the strangers among us because we do not want them near, though they are near because we force them to be. We turn against our lifelong neighbors, with violence, because they hold beliefs different from our own.

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Review: Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets

Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets
Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets by Dick Cavett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m a little disappointed that this is a compilation of Cavett’s newspaper essays & not a memoir of his tv show, but boy! is he ever snarky and funny and smart.

I enjoyed it, but nothing about it felt pressing. This is the kind of book you’d be happy to find in your room when you are someone’s house guest; you can dip in, read an anecdote or two to help you fall asleep in unfamiliar surroundings, and it won’t haunt you if you don’t finish before your stay is over.

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