Posted by Merry Mao on 22nd October 2010
Title: Let’s Take the Long Way Home
Author: Gail Caldwell
Publisher: Random House, 2010
“It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.” So begins Gail Caldwell’s devastatingly beautiful memoir about her soul-deep friendship with writer Caroline Knapp, who died from lung cancer at the age of 42. It is a true privilege to bear witness to the relationship that develops between these two women. It’s seems as though they were twins, separated at birth, twins whose lives had unknowingly taken eerily similar paths – successful writing careers, alcoholism, canine companions, a love of watersports – only to be reunited in a friendship that completes them both.
At the heart of their friendship are the dogs, Lucille and Clementine – it’s during hours-long walks through the woods with them that Gail and Caroline begin and build their relationship. It’s not hard to believe, then, that Caroline’s spirit is summoned when the woods become a dark place during a particularly terrifying event for Gail and Clementine, coming to their aid.
Whenever we open our hearts to love, we know that we’re also making ourselves vulnerable to the pain of loss. The story of this “pack of four” is an elegant reminder of why we take the plunge again and again.
If you like this try: “Drinking: A Love Story” and “Pack of Two” by Caroline Knapp
Tags: 2010 Releases, Cancer, Dogs, Friendship, Outdoors, Women
Posted in Biography & Memoir, Non-Fiction | 1 Comment »
Posted by Merry Mao on 27th April 2009
Title: Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival
Author: Norman Ollestad
Publisher: Ecco Press. May 2009
Summary: I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Granted, I am an extreme adventure reader junkie, but I was not expecting to be fascinated by the reckless yet charismatic parent of the author. The book opens with the 11-year old author “waking up” in a plane that crashed in a blizzard twenty years ago. The chapters alternate between the how the young boy manages to survive the crash and how he got there – in large part due to his father. The writing is average but the stories of his childhood adventures with his daredevil father are not.
In one passage Ollestad describes his father’s ‘madness/passion’ :
“The cranium shelf rising off his forehead bumpy and uneven, the cluster of diamonds in the blue of his eyes fragile cracked windows, and I saw someone younger and full of grand ambitions and I thought about how he had wanted to be a professional basketball player. He looked at me as if into a mirror, studying me, like I was holding something that he admired, even desired.”
I was compelled to sit down for a long afternoon and just finish the tale.
Who will like this book?: If you enjoyed Krakauer’s tales, or are intrigued by the extreme adventures of the likes of Tori Murden McClure [who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean solo (and who is appearing at the Library on Mon. May 18 at 7 pm)] you will enjoy this book.
Recommended by: Karen, Deputy Town Librarian
Tags: 2009 Releases, Adventure, California, Fatherhood, Outdoors, Sports
Posted in Biography & Memoir, Non-Fiction | No Comments »