52 Books in 52 Weeks of 2010

Week 22: One More Theory About Happiness – Paul Guest

Paul Guest is just 12 years old when a biking accident indelibly changes his life forever. Now 27, ONE MORE THEORY ABOUT HAPPINESS is Guest’s account of the events that resulted in his broken neck and adjustment to life as a quadriplegic. In a word, this memoir is stunning. In a few more words, it’s more than I expected–even in its mere 208 pages–and one that I think everyone should read.

It’s easy to tell in the first few pages of ONE MORE THEORY ABOUT HAPPINESS that Guest is a bright, mindful and considerate person. Wrapping up his sixth grade year at a barbeque hosted by his teacher, Guest and his best friend take off on a pair of old bikes while the food is still being prepared. The bikes are dilapidated at best and leave Guest wondering if a ride is the best thing to do; but once the tires are filled with air, the two take to the hilly streets of the neighborhood. Guest couldn’t have anticipated that the bike’s brakes were out of commission, nor could he have seen the drainage ditch lying in hiding under overgrown foliage. But when his speed picked up and he hit the ditch, he “was thrown from the bike, over the handlebars, catapulted, tossed like a human dart into the earth.”

What follows, in beautiful and lyrical prose, is Guest’s journey to find himself in this new body and to connect with others in real and meaningful ways. Understandably, he struggled with the forced intimacy that must be shared with a caregiver that sees you at your most vulnerable, when in need of help with basic life skills like eating, bathing and using the bathroom. And yet, I wonder if this exposure helped him create such an intimate account of his life, one that I felt fully welcomed to enter.


Despite what may seem like a grim story, Guest’s eloquence, insightfulness and humor convey a life that is not to be pitied. In fact, I found his story to be a reminder that, while life is fragile, we are all so very capable of greatness… whatever greatness is for us. Guest most certainly could have become embittered and resigned, yet he always worked through his therapies and sought his passion and is now not only a memoirist, but an award-winnng poet. I kind of wonder if he would have become a writer were it not for his accident. We may never know.


What I do know is that he has immense gifts and significant talent. I know that the words I write here don’t do any justice to the words he placed on the page for us all to experience. I know, or was reminded, that happiness is a choice no matter what your circumstances. I also know that I wanted just a little bit more from this otherwise perfect book. He is still so young with such a promising career that is just beginning to unfold.

Rating: 4 stars
Pages: 208
Genre: Memoir

Week 21: Where You Once Belonged – Kent Haruf

I think I have an author crush. My first experience with Kent Haruf was a number of years ago when I picked up PLAINSONG, a simple and graceful story of discordant lives colliding and intersecting in the small prairie town of Holt, Colorado. He drew me in with his carefully crafted prose and did it in such a way that made beautiful writing seem effortless.

You should know that when I have a literary crush and a penchant for buying books, it’s all I can do to not scoop up all of the works I can by the object of my affection. Such was the case after reading PLAINSONG. I actually got to meet Mr. Haruf at a local book fair sometime back and picked up his two other novels and got all of them signed, PLAINSONG included. Yes, I was hearts all a flutter.

And while I am loyal to the end in my real life, in my literary world, I kinda play the field. Yeah, I get around. I get all enamored with so many different ones and they all just swirl around and come in and out of my life while so many are relegated to patiently wait in the wings and on the shelves, waiting for a chance with me. For what it’s worth, in my heart of hearts I know I will come back for them.

And this week I did just that with Haruf’s WHERE YOU ONCE BELONGED. Let me say, after years of being away, he did not disappoint. Let me also say I am a sucker for a story of art imitating life that seems so real you feel like you are sitting just on the fringes of the action watching the events unfold in front of you.

WHERE YOU ONCE BELONGED centers on Jack Burdette, an arrogant, impetuous hometown hero whose frequent missteps are brushed aside. But as he grows up under the microscope of small-town living, his life takes turns with effects that are both far-reaching and impossible to imagine. The book opens with Burdette returning to Holt (the same setting as PLAINSONG) after an eight-year absence. The Holt community is angry, resentful and wanting revenge. As a childhood friend and foil narrates the story, the events that take place after Burdette’s unexpected arrival result in a climax that was both shocking and frustrating… and totally believable.

I don’t want to tell too much of the story or give away any more details than just enough that would encourage someone to pick it up. WHERE YOU ONCE BELONGED is very different from PLAINSONG and just as engaging. I loved this somber story and all its mess and complication, much the way real life can be. And I also liked that in the end, it was just a story. One that I could safely tuck back on the shelves, or better yet, pass on to another book lover that can appreciate a perfectly constructed, hauntingly told story.

Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 176

Week 20: When You Are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris

So y’all know that I am not big on picking up a book again once I have read it. I am, however, a fan of certain authors and if I love them, I want to read all of their work. Yep. If you’ve wowed me once, I want to be wowed again; and such is the case with David Sedaris. I have read just about everything he’s written and was shocked and awed when I saw him earlier this month and realized that I didn’t have his latest effort, WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES. So, I grabbed a soft cover, got it signed, and tucked it away for a week I wanted to be engulfed in laughter.

WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES is a solid collection of essays, 22 in fact, that cover a wide range of adult-themed topics, with the most pervasive theme being death. (Note: That’s the only parental advisory warning I will provide; any future reading and laughing is done at your own risk). For those familiar with Sedaris, there are the definite moments where it’s crucial you set your beverage down while reading or the liquid will spew from your lips (and maybe your nose), but there are more moments of humility, sensitivity and reflection than I have seen in his other works… and it actually works.


I laughed out loud during “What I Learned” when he recounted the story of going to Princeton and studying literature only to have his father say,
[blockquote]You’re going to study literature and get a job doing what? Literaturizing?[/blockquote]

“Solution to Saturday’s Puzzle” is a hilarious account of a plane ride in which he found himself next to Becky, a woman who becomes engulfed in anger when he won’t trade seats so that her husband can sit by her. Mind you, it’s a 90-minute flight and the hubs is sitting in the bulkhead. When Becky’s beloved quietly mouths “How come? [he won’t change seats]” Becky yells across the plane, “Cause he’s an asshole, that’s why.” At that moment the game is on and, Sedaris takes on his nemesis through the Saturday Times’ crossword puzzle:

[blockquote] An elderly woman in aisle A turned to look at me, and I pulled a Times crossword puzzle from the bag beneath my seat. That always makes you look reasonable, especially on a Saturday, when the words are long and the clues are exceptionally tough. The problem is that you have to concentrate, and all I could think of was this Becky person.
Seventeen across: a fifteen letter word for enlightenment: “I am not an asshole,” I wrote, and it fit.
Five down: six letter Indian tribe: “You are.”
Look at that smart man, breezing through the puzzle, I imagined everyone thinking. He must be a genius. That’s why he wouldn’t swap seats for that poor married woman. He knows something we don’t.[/blockquote]
There were cringe-worthy moments, like when he was repeatedly (and rudely) propositioned by a surly truck driver that offered him a ride in “Road Trip” and the realization that his friendship with a neighboring man would have to change when that man was proven to be a child molester, in “The Man in the Hut”.

But there were also moments of humility and maturity, such as when reflecting on his mother’s death and father’s mortality, as well as his own efforts to break a decades long smoking habit, that suited Sedaris’ writing style just fine. For those brand new to Sedaris, I would recommend my all-time favorite, NAKED followed by everyone else’s favorite, ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY, and then hit the holidays with either THE SANTALAND DIARIES or HOLIDAYS ON ICE. But for those looking for a balance of the rollicking good humor and little kinder, softer Sedaris WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES is the perfect fit.

Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Essays
Pages: 336

Week 19: Hand Wash Cold – Karen Maezen Miller

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a trend developing. I don’t get much allow myself to get enough reading done during the week. So I end up saving all 200+, 300+ or even some 400+ page books to devour all day every Saturday (and sometimes into Sunday). Now, this is not a problem if:

a) The book is totally awesome.
b) I can get through it quickly (especially if I am not digging the book).
c) I want to make plans to do something other than reading.

This occurrence of the weekend reading slam-and-cram has, as you can probably imagine, left me feeling a little off-balance, a little chained to the project and a little bit cranky about it. And I haven’t even hit the halfway mark. What’s an over-committed-but soon-to-be-committed-reader-if-I-don’t-make-some-changes-and-fast to do? Chill out and pick up another book that can remind me of the simpler things and how to get in control of myself. Duh.

The book I chose to revolutionize my life–or at least provide some perspective–was Karen Maezen Miller’s HAND WASH COLD: CARE INSTRUCTIONS FOR AN ORDINARY LIFE. I came across this book when I was actually searching for another of Miller’s books, Momma Zen, that I found through a blogger I follow, Kerenika. Part memoir, part self-help guide on Miller’s path to finding balance and appreciating life, HAND WASH COLD seemed to fit the bill I needed to pay.

I don’t want to get too much into comparisons (as Miller says that’s one of our biggest problems worrying too much about how others do things, live or navigate the world), but her account had sprinkles of similarity to Elizabeth Gilbert’s wildly successful Eat Pray Love. I say that because, I don’t think this quiet little book has the backing or support of Gilbert’s, but I found it as nugget-worthy about living in the now and living our life’s purpose, whether that’s eating your way through Italy, praying through India or possibly finding love in Indonesia (no spoilers here, but really hasn’t everyone read Eat Pray Love?) as Gilbert did, or becoming a Zen priest as Miller did.

Miller is restless, hyper-critical of herself and unfulfilled. It’s only through the demise of her first marriage and losing everything that she takes time to reflect and take care of herself through focusing on her spiritual health that she finds her way and the real ease that exists in just living life and focusing on the here and now.

Miller is bright and clearly a solid writer. Those factors may have contributed to the book feeling little more literary than conversational, and that’s my only real complaint. I am not knocking a smartly written book. It just created, for me, a bit more distance from her than I would expect when reading such a personal story. Despite this, it did inspire me. I am going to work to make one hour of reading a daily priority. I am going to focus on one thing at a time. I am going to put my phone not just down but away when it’s mommy-kiddo time. I am also going to return to these (among the many other) gems Miller offered up:

On time:

Time doesn’t even exist. You are what exists. Time is what you are doing at the time you are doing it. There is no other time than this, so stop searching for the perfect metaphor for time and pick up the rake already. It’s time to rake, it’s time to cook, it’s time to clean, it’s time to write, it’s time to drive, it’s time to rest, it’s time to pay attention to how we use our time.

On seeking perfection:

We must go farther and completely forget ourselves to see that there is no need to perfect the life that appears before us. It is already perfect as it is.


On balance:

When I grow weary of what’s undone or anxious about what’s to come, I remind myself that I am not the maker or the order-taker in this life. I am this life, and it is unfinished. Even when it is finished it will be unfinished. And so I take my sweet time. Time is savored when you take it by the hand.

Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Memior/Spirituality
Pages: 200

Week 18: The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

So, I have another confession to make: I don’t ever read books again. Well, not ever. But aside from rereading all of Judy Blume’s coming of age novels right after college (which I actually loved just as I did the first time), I typically think it’s too big of a risk to return to something you love for fear that the initial magic will be lost. That’s why I have really only returned–and on just two occasions–to books that I haven’t loved. That’s right. When there’s so much out there to explore, I chose to reread books that I didn’t love.

In my defense, both of the books were critically lauded or at least highly praised and I just didn’t see what the big deal was. Maybe I missed something that everyone else caught. For some reason, I decided they warranted a second look. Well, after revisiting I can tell you that I had misjudged The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank and was absolutely right about Zadie Smith’s White Teeth being a waste of time, at least for me.

I mean, what do book reviewers know anyway? Aren’t we just readers with big mouths? And lots of opinions? And of the mind that people should care about what we think?

Well, this reviewer does know that sometimes there is a book that just knocks your socks off, takes your breath away and requires you to tell everyone about it. It might even change any previously conceived notions you may have held about rereading books. Yep, that’s right (part two). When there’s so much out there to explore, I have found a book worth returning to again, and even possibly again: THE SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Ruis Zafón.

I am actually not quite sure one can absorb in one reading everything that is this multi-layered, expertly cast work that is part thriller, love story, fairytale, drama, historical fiction, and modern-day classic. Zafón has written a complex, yet highly readable story centering on Daniel Sempere and a single book he chooses one fateful day during the summer of 1945. Daniel’s bookstore owner father has taken them to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, secretly hidden within the streets of Barcelona, and tells his son to select a book, any book, amongst the thousands housed there. According to the older Sempere, in adopting a book from the cemetery, this once forgotten book will gain new life and live on forever.

Daniel takes the charge seriously and spends a great deal of time walking through the maze of books. He settles on a book titled The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax, a gothic mystery. Having loved the book, Daniel goes on a quest to read all of Carax’s works only to find that the novelist is no longer living. Not only that, the few books he’s written have all but disappeared. Daniel begins digging for answers and learns that he isn’t the only one interested in Carax. His own curiosity sends Daniel on a thrilling yet dangerous journey to uncover the mystery of this Julián Carax, while learning much more along the way.

At the end, and at its heart, THE SHADOW OF THE WIND is a book about books. Our love of books, the importance of books, and the value of the story. There’s nothing like a book that can take you in, transport you to another place and stay with you long after you have returned it to the shelves. In the opening pages of this gem, Daniel himself describes the feelings we experience when we have found a perfect book:

“I lay in the bluish half-light with the book on my chest and listened to the murmur of the sleeping city. My eyes began to close, but I resisted. I did not want to lose the story’s spell or bid farewell to its characters yet.”

Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 487

Week 17: Rough Country – John Sandford

Week 17 marks a first for Lara’s Reading Room: I was asked to review a book! Well, actually, Allan of Pop Culture World News was sent the book from the publisher and he passed it to me! Happily, I obliged.

ROUGH COUNTRY is the third in a mystery series (and my first) featuring Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers. Written by John Sandford, this installment has Flowers pulled from a fishing trip to investigate the murder of Erica McDill. Rich, powerful, well-known but not well-liked, McDill was on vacation at the all-female Eagle Nest resort, resting up before taking ownership interest in her firm and slashing positions, two openly known facts. Also openly known were McDill’s steady relationship with agency partner Ruth Davies, several sexual entanglements she had at the resort and her interest in promoting a band with a questionable history. Throw in years’ old murder that may be connected, a recent murder attempt that may not, a cast of characters with valid motives and a man’s-man-ladies’-man investigator, and you’ve got the makings of a good mystery.

And good mystery it is. Not great, but certainly good.

In 400 pages, Sandford has laid out a well-developed cast of interesting characters and punchy dialogue that moves the story on at a reasonble clip. ROUGH COUNTRY lacked a bit of action, and could have benefited from a few more twists and turns throughout the middle of the story that would have kept me more fully engaged and turning the pages a bit faster. I was also disappointed that the majority of female characters (who were mostly lesbians) seemed to fall into stereotypical behaviors and dialogue, while the commentary from the men about or directed to the women was, at times, cliched. These faults weren’t enough to turn me off of the book, but were worth noting. I thoroughly enjoyed the end, which I thought Sandford wrapped up creatively in certainly with a fourth book in mind.

ROUGH COUNTRY is a perfect book for a lazy weekend or when you are lounging on the sand. As breezy and juicy as that umbrella drink you reach for between the chapters.


Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 400

Week 16: Stink: The Incredibly Shrinking Kid – Megan McDonald

It’s Kiddie-lit this week in the Reading Room! At just 102 pages–and that’s with pictures, too!–I just know some of you are thinking:

“Are you for real?”

“Hey, that sounds like an easy out!”

“That can’t count! C’mon now!”

Okay, so perhaps those are really questions I was thinking as I actually attempted a grown up book and got bogged down with too many other things this week. But as I rationalized not finishing the other book, I took comfort in reminding myself that this project will be as successful as I am flexible. And, truth be told, I committed myself to including one of the many books I read to my kiddo in this project.

So, let’s get to it!

STINK: THE INCREDIBLY SHRINKING KID is a delightful book by Megan McDonald, the creator of the ever popular (although never read by me) JUDY MOODY books. James Moody (aka Stink) is Judy’s younger and much shorter brother, who desires what many young boys want: to be bigger. It’s the only thing on his mind until he’s selected by his teacher to care for the class pet, a Newt aptly named Newton.

Hilarity and unexpected outcomes occur at the Moody house when Newton comes home and McDonald has created an enjoyable story that kept both me and my six year old engaged. She realistically conveys the feelings of a young boy growing up in the shadow of an older sister and does so with overall positive messaging. I really appreciated that there wasn’t a heavy focus on potty humor that seems rampant in youth series targeted at young boys.

I should also note that McDonald also scored points with me when she made Stink a lover of homework. I could only hope that’s a key message my guy took from the book.

But when I asked him his favorite part? “When the newt shed his skin.”

Oh, a mother can dare to dream.

Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Children’s
Pages: 102

Week 15: Why I’m Like This – Cynthia Kaplan

It was going to be a bit of a crazy week; and I knew this going into week 15. So, I took some time to find what I hoped would be a perfect book to serve as a welcome distraction to all the Have-to, Must-do, Can-you-also, and We-really-need-you-to responsibilities of the week. When I saw USA Today’s “Knee-slapping hilarious.” on the back of WHY I’M LIKE THIS: TRUE STORIES by Cynthia Kaplan, I was sold.

WHY I’M LIKE THIS chronicles milestone moments in Kaplan’s life that have shaped her into the woman she is today: her loss of virginity and the succession of Mr. Wrongs who followed until she met her husband, the relationships she shared with her grandparents and the impact their deaths had on her, and her struggle with infertility. I felt a connection with Kaplan in the opening stories. Her love of the arts, the admiration she felt for her grandparents, and challenges with dating felt familiar. I mean, I almost felt a sisterly bond with her when I read:


“I gave the guy a second chance but it ended anyway when I came to the realization that his grammatical errors would eventually drive me out of my gourd.”

A perfect match, right?




For whatever reason, Kaplan couldn’t sustain my interest. Perhaps it had something to do with the busy week I mentioned above. The reality is, WHY I’M LIKE THIS was easier to put down than it was to pick up. I really believe that timing–just like with meeting the right guy, landing the perfect job, or even nabbing the perfect parking spot (a shout out to Tepper!)–can be crucial with how we take to the books we pick. Where we are and what’s going on in our own worlds can certainly impact our impressions. But I also know that a really good book will keep you turning the pages, no matter what’s going on.


So, while I liked a few passages and loved the title of these stories, at the end of the day WHY I’M LIKE THIS was just okay.


Rating: 2 stars

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 240

Week 14: Official Book Club Selection – A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin


If you don’t like Kathy Griffin, you aren’t going to like this book. It doesn’t matter how many stars I give it or what I say about it, although, how flattering if it would! If you are reading this and don’t know who she is, I will just say she’s hysterically crass (that’s Rated-R) and most celebrities fear her. Or should.

I saw Kathy Griffin perform on tour this past January and her show, a 2-hour rant against celebrities and their crazy antics, had the audience roaring from start to finish. My sides were actually hurting so much that I counted the outing as my ab workout for the day. I definitely had a blast at her show; yet I am not a big celebrity memoir person. I did not rush out to buy the book that Kathy herself said she named OFFICIAL BOOK CLUB SELECTION in hopes that consumers would think Oprah had chosen it. Imagine my delight, however, when my gal pal Cynthia loaned me her copy and said, “You will cruise through this. I bet you can knock it out in four hours.” Confession time: I don’t read as fast as Cynthia thinks I do, but it was definitely a cruiser and I cleared it within the week.

OFFICIAL BOOK CLUB SELECTION chronicles Griffin’s upbringing as the youngest of four children to John and Mary Griffin of Oak Park, Illinois. A self-proclaimed “… kid who needed to talk. All the time.”, Griffin loved television and storytelling more than anything else (maybe not as much as cake, but they surely ran a close second). After high school she decided to take her gift of gab and love of Hollywood to the City of Angels with dreams of breaking into the biz.

Griffin does a great job detailing the road to stardom – it’s full of hard work, paying dues (unless you are John Corbett or Heidi Montag, one of whom she loves and the other she loathes), lots of rejection and definite double standards. She maintains a highly conversational tone and I felt as if I was following her around to auditions and growing up with her as she struggled to find her niche. As a member of the Groundlings (picture LA’s version of Second City) she worked day in and day out attempting to perfect her craft but had her share of failures, like when she blew the audition with Lorne Michaels to secure a spot on Saturday Night Live (Groundlings member Julia Sweeney nabbed it).

While the book is certainly funny, Griffin does a good job covering the not so funny stuff: a brother with many secrets, her volatile friendship with Andy Dick, and her failed marriage. I admit that prior to reading OFFICIAL BOOK CLUB SELECTION, I thought anyone was fair game for her, yet she does have boundaries. Also revelatory, she hasn’t pissed off everyone in Hollywood (and there’s even a key group of folks with whom she strives to stay in the best of graces). I thought she handled the serious sections well and they exposed a side of Kathy Griffin outside of the brash and off-color that most don’t ever get to see.

But let’s face it. Griffin’s job is to find the funny and make people laugh at almost anyone’s expense. And, laugh I did. The most, in fact, during the last two pages of the book. It was her hilariously written Reading Group Guide Questions that had me bump my final rating up a star. Yes, the questions are that funny.

Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 357

Week 13: The Help – Kathryn Stockett

It’s a milestone week! By completing this book, I have officially read more in the first three months of this year than I did all of last year. That’s a bit crazy to me and yet, I am feeling really good after the first quarter of this project to read a book a week for an entire year. I still have momentary flashes of my bookshelves caving in on me or having the super ability to read multiple books at once, the words flashing through my eyes like all the images scrolling across an iPad. But I consider these minor psychological casualties and onward I press.

THE HELP came to me courtesy of my book club and was mandated by one of our original members–and my bestie–Claudia. Claudia has wanted to read THE HELP for the past six months and was eagerly anticipating her month to host. And, why not? The book has been quite the talk of the town: A Today Show “10 Must Read Books for Spring”, it currently sits at number 2 on the New York Times Hardcover Best Seller list and in the number 14 spot on amazon.com’s Top 100. And, a gazillion people have given it rave reviews.

All of this, of course, is good news; but it’s also kind of bad. It reeks of hype and overselling and all that, “You have to read this great book–you’ll love it! Everyone loves it! My sister and her friend and her friend and her friend, well, I mean just everyone’s reading it but you, so just read it, okay? You’ll love it; I just know you will. I mean, have you read it already? MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?”

Ugh. So, I cracked open my Kindle version of the book and started reading, hoping it hadn’t been ruined by, well, everyone.

I am here to officially report that nobody ruined it. Kathryn Stockett’s novel lives up to the hype machine and she’s delivered a knockout the first time out.

Set in Jacksonville, Mississippi in the early ’60s, THE HELP concerns Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a college graduate returning home in hopes of embarking on a career in journalism; but she’s not quite sure where to start. Unbeknownst to her, there’s a wealth of story brewing right under her very own nose. Skeeter grew up, as did her privileged white friends, with hired help. The maids were brought in and entrusted with a woman’s children, but not the family silver. The racial, socioeconomic and hierarchical lines were strong and clear and become more strained when Skeeter’s best friend spearheads a community effort encouraging white families to build separate, external bathrooms for their help.

Outraged by the notion and sensitive to stepping outside her social boundaries, Skeeter goes underground and slowly gains the trust of maids Aibileen and her best friend Minny to share their stories of what it’s really like to work for a white family. This is extremely tricky and risky, with a number of implications if any are found out. As Skeeter gains the trust of Aibileen, a multi-layered story unfolds. A story that had me cringing and outright disgusted with the actions and attitudes of Skeeter’s friends, and enlightened by the relationship between a family and their help, which is a complicated one, fraught with many different emotions.

Stockett tells her story from the perspectives of its three main characters, using a first person narrative that alternates across the chapters. She is able to capture Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny’s different voices and, because it’s done so effectively, she keeps the story progressing at a rate that I didn’t want to put it down. I actually read the book in just two marathon sittings! I was most impressed with how well developed all of the characters were. Stockett brings their lives to life, showing them as individuals with hopes, dreams and desires, but also with talents and abilities well outside of what others–or they themselves–may expect.

Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 464