Monthly Archives: April 2016

Writing My Wrongs

I have been on a serious non-fiction kick of late. A lot of what I have been reading has been about jails and people who were or are incarcerated. This book, Writings My Wrongs, by Shaka Senghor, is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is a memoir about a lost boy who grows up in crack-infested Detroit and ends up in prison for killing someone.

The book shifts back and forth in time, from his prison cell to the streets he grew up on and back again. When Mr. Sneghor was young, he ended up on the streets selling crack after his parents’ marriage crumbled. He observes that his parents understood that he needed love and attention, he may not have ended where he did. But he is also astute enough to take responsibility for his own actions.

He is finally able to forgive himself, his family and release the anger that threatens to eat him alive. It is that point in the book that he really shines. He tells a story of trying to maintain a nonviolent posture in a world (prison) surrounded by violence. He tells a vivid story of his confinement and especially his four and a half years in solitary confinement for assaulting a correctional officer. He manages to make you feel the paranoia, fear, corruption, violence, noise of the prison. His words will stay with me for a very long time.

He meets a woman in prison through the HOPE project, with whom he falls in love. They are still together. He writes about the importance of being and having a father. The importance of family support, including his dad attended all his parole hearings. And his realization that his crimes affected so many more than just him and his victim. It affected his parents, his children, the victim’s family. When he finally is able to forgive himself, amazing things happen.

I think that it’s easy to ignore the ravages of drugs and poverty in this country because so many of us live so far away from it. But it’s destruction of a generation of African-American men and women is undeniable. This book brings that home. From a little boy who wanted to be a doctor to a man incarcerated for taking another life, to someone redeemed. It is quite the journey. I highly recommend this book.

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The Travelers

Boy was I excited to get this book. I read Chris Pavone’s ¬†first two books, The Expats and The Accident and really liked them. Then I read in GQ that his new one, The Travelers, is like binge watching Alias – one of my all-time favorite shows.

The Travelers follows Will Rhodes, travel writer for the magazine, The Travelers. His wife, Chloe, used to work there but left because they decided to try to have kids. The editor at the magazine, Malcolm Summers, is the leader. While constantly broke and living in a run-down, inherited house in Brooklyn, Will and Chloe seem to be your typical young to middle-aged couple. They have busy, cosmopolitan lives. Maybe they feel a little disconnected from each other. They feel emotionally distant when Will leaves for France.

In France, Will meets and is enchanted with, Elle, a fledgling travel writer from Australia. While he manages to avoid a romantic entanglement, the plot begins to thicken. And it doesn’t stop until the end. I do not want to say much more about the plot because I definitely do not want to spoil anything for those who will read this book.

It’s a roller coaster ride of an action thriller that is well-written and well-plotted. If you like thrillers and you like like plot twists and action, you will love this book.

I received this book from Blogging for Books and received no other compensation for this review. The opinions contained herein are mine and mine alone.

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Dial Down The Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter

This book couldn’t have come along at a better time. I have been having a miserable time dealing with my 13 year old daughter the last few months. She has been moody, disrespectful, and rude to both me and her father. I was really at my wit’s end as to how to deal with her. She also has special needs so that adds to the frustration and anger on both sides.

Dial Down The Drama offers real solutions. And they start with you – the parent. We live in a world today that is exceptionally stressful. Jobs, families all pulling in different directions. The book reminded me that a lot of the problem between me and my daughter arose from my bad reactions to her because I am loaded with stress. My reactions to her are different when there aren’t external stressors in my life.

Chapter 9 regarding discipline was especially enlightening and has made me think about discipline and its uses in an entirely different light. I have been putting Ms. O’Grady’s advice to use and have noticed a difference in the way she and I interact.

I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with their relationship with their daughter. It provides insight and exercises and it provides you with reassurance that you can survive the teenage years.

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and received no other compensation. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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