No Regrets: Adventuring Through Life

No Regrets: Adventuring Through Life by Linda McDermott

No Regrets is the story of how one woman travels all seven continents in an effort to grow from the small, Midwestern beliefs with which she’d been raised. Linda leads the reader through an inspirational memoir including adventures that once seemed out of reach—from washing elephants in Nepal to working (twice) in Antarctica—all the while learning to trust herself.

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(A copy of this book was provided by the publicist in exchange for an honest review)

I don’t do that many sponsored posts on this blog – partially because I don’t always have time to read to a deadline and partially because if I’m going to do one, I try to pick a book I think I’ll really like.

Life’s been more than a little busy lately, but when I saw what this memoir was about, I immediately knew I wanted to read it. I’ve always wanted to travel, but it’s only now that I’m older that I feel like I have the opportunity to make that a reality. The last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to one new place each year…a practice I hope to keep up for as long as I can.

Because I totally understand the motivation behind Linda McDermott’s wanderlust and the title of the book, No Regrets. We only get this one life, something I’ve also been intentionally conscious of the last few years. This quote from Tuck Everlasting often runs through my head:

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”

I’m constantly trying to remind myself that I have choices to make about how I want to live, so that when I come to the end of my life, which will hopefully be a long, long time from now, I can look back with no regrets. That I packed a lot of life in my years and made the most of the time I was given on Earth. Which includes going out to explore said Earth.

No Regrets is a memoir of Linda McDermott’s life in travel. McDermott began traveling the mid-1980s on adventures that would take her from a road trip through the US to the Swiss Alps to Nepal to Fiji and even to Antarctica. Along the way she chronicled her adventures and experiences. I really enjoyed this book because I liked that her adventures weren’t run of the mill – there was a lot of spontaneity and a lot of off-the-beaten-path adventures. Not the typical tourist things. I also enjoyed that McDermott wasn’t a very young girl when she started and most of her travel was done as a middle-aged woman or older. In the epilogue, she tells the story of a trip to the Swiss Alps conducted in her seventies! This is not the memoir of a privileged young adult who set off to travel the world before settling down, but rather the story of a woman who worked hard and prioritized making the most of her time on Earth to have new experiences –  exactly the sort of woman I aspire to be!

This is a feel-good story filled with that sense of awe and wonder that only comes when you’ve truly opened your eyes to seeing the beauty in everything and everyone around you. This book is the perfect spring break or summer beach read – perhaps while you’re off having your own grand adventure!

I’m also pleased to share that if you review this book on Goodreads or Amazon, the publicist is offering two additional stories by the author for free. If you read and review this book, make sure you email Alyssa at Mind Buck Media to get your free stories (alyssa [@] mindbuckmedia.com)

 

2018 in Review

It should come as no surprised to anyone who’s been paying attention that this year was incredibly BUSY! If you needed a marker to go by though, I read less than half as much as I did in 2017. I made my Goodreads goal, but only after I adjust it a time or two or six. Apologies in advance for a pretty boring book year in review, but I’ve done one of these for the last seven years and now I’m not about to stop now!

Yep, my blog is seven years old!! I started it at the end of 2011 and here we are getting ready to round the corner into 2019!

Honestly though, it’s probably a miracle I managed to read anything at all this year, let alone 31 books. I pretty much credit any reading progress I did this year to the Miracle Morning. Most days those 5-15 minutes in the morning were the only time I had to read. This was also the first year I read far more non-fiction than fiction….which is basically all because of the Miracle Morning.

Definitely hoping for better in 2019, but we shall see how it goes! Missing my fiction for sure, but at the same time I feel like I got a lot smarter year from all the non-fiction reading and podcasts so it’s not all bad I guess.

HOW MANY BOOKS READ IN 2018?

–32 books

FICTION/NON-FICTION?

–  10  Fiction /    22 Non-Fiction

MALE/FEMALE AUTHORS?

–    20  Male /   7 Female

OLDEST BOOK READ?

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (2000)

NEWEST BOOK READ?

Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs by Nathalie Molina Niño (August 2018)

LONGEST BOOK READ?

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (662 Pages)

SHORTEST BOOK READ?

Yuletide Lords by Gama Ray Martinez (16 Pages)

ANY IN TRANSLATION?

Not this year!

BEST BOOK READ IN 2018?

If 2016 was the year of the good book and 2017 was a year of books that were pretty evenly divided between really good or didn’t like it, then 2018 was the year I actually gave the crown to a work on non-fiction. Educated by Tara Westover was the best book I read this year! Riveting story, stunning writing, a book you couldn’t put down – a must read!

MOST DISAPPOINTING BOOK IN 2018?

Dropping a note here to say this question will be retired after this year. See this blog post for why I’ve stopped writing reviews for books I didn’t like.

MOST BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN BOOK IN 2018?

Educated by Tara Westover

MOST SURPRISING (IN A GOOD WAY!) BOOK OF 2018?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – check out the review for the reason why!

MOST THRILLING, UNPUTDOWNABLE BOOK IN 2018?

I didn’t read too many books you’d classify as “thrilling” but here’s a few I had trouble putting down:

Educated by Tara Westover

Ghost Bully by Brian Corley

S.H.E. by Shannon Hogan Cohen

BOOK THAT HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON ME IN 2018?

Maybe an unconventional entry, but How to Break Up With Your iPhone by Catherine Price. I’ve been consciously trying to put some space between me and all my devices. Seems weird for someone who does marketing and in particular social media marketing, but it’s the truth. I changed all my notification settings around for the better and have been religiously trying to start my day with the Miracle Morning (my me time!) before I do anything.

BOOK THAT HAD A SCENE IN IT THAT HAD ME REELING?

This is kind of a fiction question and because I didn’t read too much fiction this year, I got nothing.

BOOK I MOST ANTICIPATED IN 2018?

-War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas (Currently Reading)

MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTER IN 2018?

-Jazz Bashara in Artemis

-Juliet Ashton in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

HOW MANY RE-READS IN 2018?

None

BOOK I READ IN 2018 I’D BE MOST LIKELY TO REREAD IN 2019?

Deep Work by Cal Newport, Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn, Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

BOOK I RECOMMENDED TO PEOPLE MOST IN 2018?

Tribe of Mentors, Educated

FAVORITE NEW AUTHORS I DISCOVERED IN 2018?

Tara Westover

MOST BOOKS READ BY ONE AUTHOR THIS YEAR?

2 novels by Marie Lu and 2 books by Gina Wickman

FAVORITE COVER OF A BOOK I READ IN 2018?

FAVORITE PASSAGE/QUOTE FROM A BOOK I READ IN 2018?

“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”  – Cal Newport, Deep Work (I actually liked this book a lot, I just never got around to reviewing it!)

“The entire universe is not just outside, but also within us. We have unlimited power – the power to solve any problems facing us or facing others. We get to create our realities. It’s a simple and small belief, but it can change the course of humanity. Being mini gods mean we never lack. We know we already have everything. We don’t need a million dollars. We don’t need a trillion followers. We are complete. We are full. So full that we can give without counting. The day we will all start acting like mini gods is the day there will be peace in the world.” – Jerome Jarre, Tribe of Mentors

DID I COMPLETE ANY READING CHALLENGES OR GOALS IN 2018?

Yes, but I cheated on this one. I can’t remember what my original goal was, but I kept downsizing it throughout the year.

BOOK I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAITED UNTIL 2018 TO FINALLY READ?

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell mainly because I think I’ve had it on my shelf for eight or nine years…no joke. This is why I have so many books and won’t get rid of them. I usually get around to reading them eventually!

Educated

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.

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It’s rare for me to hear about a book and then actually get to read it right away. In this case, a friend was raving about it and when I said it sounded good, she brought me the book to read right away. And then I managed to convince my book club to read it a few days later.

This book was hard to put down. I read it on my vacation to Colorado so that means I finished in just a few days…which is a miracle for me right now. But Tara’s life is so interesting and the writing so beautifully done, it was impossible to quit turning the pages.

The story is disorienting at times as Tara herself is not quite clear on all the facts. And some of those facts have been deliberately obscured over the years. But even more disorienting than Tara’s memories are the truths she recounts in Educated. The truth that some people today are living this way in the United States. That there are children out there, growing up completely shielded from the truths of the world by their parents.

I deeply admire and respect Tara’s resilience in triumphing over her circumstances. Brigham Young University is not an easy school to get into, much less stay in. I think about my own college experiences and I cannot imagine college being my first formal educational experience, showing up to lecture not knowing what the Holocaust was or what a textbook is for. I surely would have failed miserably.

But Tara didn’t. And she not only succeeded, she did well enough to earn herself the opportunity to study at Cambridge and from there, her career and her destiny really took off.

The ending of Educated was really moving and heart-wrenching. I was reading it on the flight back and I was hurrying to finish it before the plane landed, otherwise I knew I’d have to park myself somewhere in the airport to finish the last handful of pages.

Educated was a really “Wow!” read and Tara is obviously incredibly intelligent and a gifted writer…I will definitely be looking for more writing from her in the years to come!

 

S.H.E: Share Heal Empower Review and Interview With Author Shannon Hogan Cohen

S.H.E. Share Heal Empower by Shannon Hogan Cohen

S.H.E. Share Heal Empower unveils the stories of twenty-four women from around the globe and across all ages and cultures, who courageously reached within to overcome extraordinary obstacles. Author Shannon Hogan Cohen has carefully crafted each story into mini literary masterpieces and paired each with art from a female artist.

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Wow. Just wow.

That’s what I have to say about S.H.E. Share Heal Empower. For not being the type of book I typically pick up, it grabbed my attention and didn’t let me go.

Though maybe I shouldn’t say this isn’t my type of book because every single memoir I’ve ever read I’ve absolutely loved. From The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls to Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart to Playing With Dynamite by Sharon Harrigan to Educated by Tara Westover (just read, review forthcoming), I’ve found memoirs to be beautifully touching and affecting.

So rather than saying this isn’t the type of book I typically pick up, I should say that I avoid picking up these types of books unless prompted because I don’t like feeling my feelings lol. I feel enough feelings in an average day to last me a lifetime.

You could say my hang up about memoir is similar to the hang up I have about reading World War II fiction, which is well-documented on this blog. Almost always end up enjoying the book (or straight up love it and call it the best book ever), but boy do I have a certain amount of resistance about it.

S.H.E. Share Heal Empower contains twenty-four stories from real women, recounting some of the hardest and darkest troubles of their lives. Each memoir was powerfully moving and inspiring. Reading through some of these stories truly made me grateful for my own life and everything I have.

I sometimes grow fearful that my own struggles have thus far been relatively small – meaning that the hardest times of my life surely still lie in front of me. Sure, I have had some dark moments and days, but compared to what some people have gone through, it’s really nothing. So I try not to think about the fact that law of averages should dictate that there’s trouble somewhere over the horizon.

But for me, reading S.H.E. was inspiring because reading through some of these stories, of these women who have gone through the most terrible hurts and the darkest times, gives me courage that when trouble does come from me, I’ll know that I’m strong enough to withstand it.

Out of the twenty-four stories in S.H.E. I connected most with the stories of Barbara Jean, Desiree, and Sonia Marie.

Barbara Jean because hers is a story of a life lived among horses and animals. She also recounted some heartbreaking experiences that hit me like a stab in the heart and made me tear up.

Desiree because I cannot imagine what I would do if I experienced what she had experienced losing her child in such a horrific way. But her courage to continue on and fight through her grief to a place where she gives back to others is truly inspiring.

Sonia Marie because it’s clear she is a fighter. Not only did she fight through her own terrifying health crises, she fought to be a strong single mother for her two sons, one of whom has his own health problems. And not only did she fight, but she’s another woman who had taken her darkest moments and used them as seeds to inspire others.

All three of these woman (and the twenty-one others in this book) have exhibited great courage in sharing their stories with the world. I have always believed that the best way to heal is to share with others. I think of it this way: when you are burdened with a terrible pain or hurt, every time you tell the story, you break off a small piece of your pain and give it to someone else to hold onto for you. And the people around you that love you are glad to do this for you because your tiny piece of hurt does not hurt them in the same way it hurts you. So they are able to help you shoulder your burden and over time, your own pain diminishes through this process of retelling and giving away a piece of the hurt.

If you’re looking for a moving, inspiring book to read with your book club or share with all the women in your life, don’t miss S.H.E. Share Heal Empower!

I was able to interview author Shannon Hogan Cohen shortly after the release of the S.H.E. audiobook and at the time of this publication, she is giving away a free copy of the audiobook to one lucky winner. Head on over to the S.H.E. Facebook and Instagram accounts to enter. Good luck!

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What Inspired You to Create the S.H.E. Book?

Growing up, I experienced tension between my mother and father and knew my mother was silently suffering but unaware of the extent. As she slowly revealed her untold stories in my late twenties, I began to understand that this woman was not weak, which is how I always perceived her, but primarily a victim of social circumstance. She had done everything she could to conceal her struggles with my alcoholic father, his death at age thirty and her strained second marriage. My probing became healing for her. Her sharing became empowering. This book became an opportunity for other women to feel safe and do the same. I have learned, we are all wounded, we all worry and we are all weighed down by feelings of unworthiness. For me, the bedrock of love, friendship and community is vulnerability. These heartfelt exchanges provided me with connection and consolation, which is my hope for the reader.

Whose Story Did You Relate to the Most Out of the Twenty-Four Women You Interviewed?

Chapter Twenty-Four, Joni…my mother and who I dedicated the S.H.E. book to. Her rock solid resilience and unimaginable human spirit is inspiring. Nevertheless, each of the women who honored me with their profound stories gave me both a sense of courage and camaraderie that I had never known before. It has taken me years to put the jagged puzzle pieces of my life together. Life offered me clues to help solve my puzzle, but I ignore them at times. It was refreshing recognizing parts of myself in each of these women, who courageously reached within themselves to overcome extraordinary obstacles. These women and their stories together with the many others who have come into my life have created a circle of sisterhood. S.H.E. was born in the spirit of this.

How Did You Come to Include Art in the Book Alongside the Stories?

Once the chapters began to take shape it felt that a simple snapshot image of each woman was not enough. In addition to that, several of the women in the book chose not to have their actual likeness portrayed. I spoke with my sister Shelby, who is an amazing artist and she liked my idea.  In short, it felt right to invite twenty-four different women artists to create a unique portrait of each remarkable woman based on her storyline. I mindfully paired the artists who were able to read their woman’s chapter and were asked to fashion a specific stylistic piece. I continue to marvel at the insight and perception of each altruistic artist. Their representations came from all types of visual expression: pen and ink, fused glass sculpture, to traditional acrylic painting, and more. All the artists in the book are of different ages and abilities, which match the women they were interpreting.

What Was Your Writing (and Rewriting) Process Like?

I describe myself as an amateur scribbler. My writing process is very raw and rewrites only come after I have my husband read through the initial rough draft (of which he calls “homework”- but politely obliges). An author friend once told me years ago to read my pieces out loud and include inflection. This is extremely helpful during my writing and rewriting process, as I have the ability to be very verbose. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful editor, who understands my messy mind and has the ability to make my words pop off the page. Without her, these stories would not be architecturally solid.

Do You Use a Computer or Write By Hand Before Transcribing?

I am old-school; ink on paper. After each interview with a woman, I will listen to our conversation again and begin crafting the chapter in a black composition notebook. I am a tactile person. It is difficult for me to create from scratch on my computer with a blank screen staring at me. For some odd reason, a blank piece of white, lined paper is more inviting. Uni-bal Air rollerball gel pens are my preference. A cup of steamy coffee is mandatory.

What Were Your Biggest Takeaways From the Journey to Become a Self-Published Author?

The journey was extremely frustrating at times, but the end result was very rewarding. I spoke with several publishing houses, who wanted to tweak or modify my manuscript. This irritated me. I understand the need to “sell” books, but I was not willing to compromise certain women’s stories to appease them. Not knowing which direction to go at times was challenging at times, as I flailed forward not knowing if the decisions I was making were accurate. In the end, it all worked out. People came into my life at the right moments and were great mentors guiding me along the way. It feels fantastic to say, “I produced this masterpiece from start to finish.”

Will There Be a S.H.E. Volume 2?

Absolutely, in fact, I have twenty women already in my queue, who are ready to share their stories. It was prudent for me to take some time off and recharge. My goal is to begin interviewing and traveling to meet the women in late September of this year. My favorite part of the process is listening to the women share their life experiences, take those concentrated nuggets of wisdom and develop a storyline to celebrate their personal victories. I remind myself and the women I interview “We cannot choose what happens to us, but we can chose how we respond.”

S.H.E. book Volume One and the woman I am, and continue to become is the result of S.H.E. Sharing, Healing and Empowering.

 

Where Can People Find Out More About You, S.H.E, and Submit Their Own Stories?

On the S.H.E. website which is www.ShareHealEmpower.com. There is a tab called “Suggest a S.H.E.” which you can use to submit a story. And please connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube (as ShareHealEmpower) to see what we’re up to!

 

 

Playing With Dynamite

Playing With Dynamite by Sharon Harrigan

Sharon Harrigan’s father was larger than life, a brilliant but troubled man who blew off his hand with dynamite before she was born and died in a mysterious and bizarre accident when she was seven. The story of his death never made sense. How did he really die? And why was she so sure that asking would be dangerous? A series of events compel her to find the answers, collecting other people’s memories and uncovering her own. Her two-year odyssey takes her from Virginia to Detroit to Paris and finally to the wilds of northern Michigan where her father died. There, she discovers the real danger and has to confront her fear.

Playing with Dynamite is about the family secrets that can distance us from each other and the honesty that can bring us closer. It’s about a daughter who goes looking for her father but finds her mother instead. It’s about memory and truth, grieving and growing, and what it means to go home again.

(A copy of this novel was provided in exchange for an honest review)

It’s always interesting for me to read memoir because I never really know what to expect. The execution is so widely varying, it’s hard to know what kind of story you’re in for before you read it. Whenever someone recommends a work of memoir to me or gives me one to read, I’m always a little hesitant. There’s this feeling that if you didn’t like the memoir for some reason, it’s kind of like you’re invalidating someone’s life experiences. I know it’s not exactly like that, but it feels that way to me.

Playing With Dynamite is one of the lovely ones. Sharon Harrigan’s style is so engrossing, it’s hard to extricate yourself from it and put the book down. I started the book with the intention that I would at least start it so I could judge how long I would need to finish it, but before I knew it, I had read half of it and hadn’t touched either of the books for my upcoming bookclubs.

In the acknowledgements, Sharon Harrigan mentions that parts of the book were published as individual essays. I can feel that. Sections of the book hang together really, really well. Which doesn’t mean the whole thing doesn’t work together. Quite the contrary. Somehow Playing With Dynamite seems to straddle a rare line in writing. Whether you have time for just a small section, a part, or the whole book, Playing With Dynamite manages to engage and delight at every reading experience, leaving you feeling satisfied no matter where you had to leave off.

Beautifully written, engrossing, and artfully structured, it reminded me a lot of The Glass Castle. Both stories feature dysfunctional families, so if you liked The Glass Castle, you will probably enjoy Playing With Dynamite, though Harrigan’s family is a lot less dysfunctional that Walls’.

This is Harrigan’s first book and I am looking forward to her future titles!

Summer at Tiffany

Summer of Tiffany by Marjorie Hart

Do you remember the best summer of your life?

New York City, 1945. Marjorie Jacobson and her best friend, Marty Garrett, arrive fresh from the Kappa house at the University of Iowa hoping to find summer positions as shopgirls. Turned away from the top department stores, they miraculously find jobs as pages at Tiffany & Co., becoming the first women to ever work on the sales floor–a diamond-filled day job replete with Tiffany blue shirtwaist dresses from Bonwit Teller’s–and the envy of all their friends.

Hart takes us back to the magical time when she and Marty rubbed elbows with the rich and famous; pinched pennies to eat at the Automat; experienced nightlife at La Martinique; and danced away their weekends with dashing midshipmen. Between being dazzled by Judy Garland’s honeymoon visit to Tiffany, celebrating VJ Day in Times Square, and mingling with Cafe society, she fell in love, learned unforgettable lessons, made important decisions that would change her future, and created the remarkable memories she now shares with all of us.

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I first heard about this book when I went to the SDSU Writer’s Conference in January. Marjorie Hart was one of the speakers, talking about how her book was discovered at the conference. She read a little section from the book and I couldn’t wait to pick it up and read the rest. I was excited when my bookclub chose Summer at Tiffany for our April read.

This was a lovely little memoir, a window into a different era. It really does seem like it was a simpler time, full of innocence and magic. This isn’t meant to be a deep, instructive memoir like The Glass Castle.

I enjoyed that the book came with a section of Marjorie and Marty’s pictures and illustrations of New York. I also found myself googling the famous people they met and learning their stories as well. Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Wallis Simpson…names I knew, but stories I knew precious little about. And the history they witnessed! Marjorie and Marty arrive in New York at the tail end of World War II…what a time to be alive!

This is an easy read that was over much too soon! It’s sweet, it’s fun, and it would make an awesome beach or summer afternoon read!

 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

I first read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings back in my freshman year of high school. I remember that, at the time, it was a somewhat of a scandalous choice because of it’s depiction of young Maya’s molestation and rape by an older man. That maybe fourteen-year-olds weren’t mature enough for its content. A look over a handful of my blog posts will reveal my thoughts on that. tl;dr the reading of children and young adults shouldn’t be censored.

I re-read it again for my book club recently.

I remember being really impressed by this book and liking it a lot the first time I read it. I didn’t feel that as much this time, but perhaps that’s because some of the magic has worn off. Re-reading it did remind me that I wanted to read the rest of Angelou’s memoirs at some point.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a quick and engrossing read. I wish it were longer though. It covers about sixteen years of Angelou’s life in only a few hundred pages. I especially would have liked to have seen even more of the Southern town and the store where she grew up.

One thing that was different for me about this reading experience, is that I lingered more on the last passages where she questions her sexuality because she thinks she “looks” like a lesbian and a more or less has sex to prove to herself that she’s heterosexual. This is quite a crazy line of thinking, but after all, teenagers have done worse. I don’t remember that section of the book and I don’t think I paid much attention to it the first time I read it. It seems gratifying in a way that Maya, such a revered and well-known author, could admit to acting so foolish. This felt like one of the most humanizing passages in the whole book.