There are many amazing stories of valor, courage and endurance during World War II. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand tells one of the most amazing I have ever read! Louie Zamperini and the crew of the bomber he is on crashes into the Pacific Ocean and there starts a story of the amazing will-to-live ever retold.
Louie has lead a pretty amazing life up to this point, even running in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He has channeled his unbelievable energy in some positive and some negative ways in his life.
With the war, he has grown up but still trains when he can. The war requires Louie to concentrate on his job aboard the rickety planes on which he flys.
The day the plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean will obviously change his life forever but just surviving will be a daily challenge. Through starvation, sharks and storms, Louie finds a way to survive. He encounters cruelty beyond imagination and kindness hidden behind the faces of Japanese people he meets. The prisoner-of-war camps are so vividly described you can all most feel and smell them. Portions of this part of Louie's life, are very hard to read.
When Louie is finally rescued and returns home, new challenges await. No longer able to compete and angry from his experience, he struggles. After attending a Billy Graham revival, Louie finds a way to turn his life around.
This is a rich full story of one man's unbending resilience in the face of unbelievable odds. The end is still to be told as Louie continues to race life at the wonderful age of 96. Don't miss this book.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
This book is basically a love story, but it turns into much more. Lynnie and Homan are in a bad mental institution where people used to dump their physically or mentally challenged relatives. Sadly there were some of these places at that time. Their lives intersect with Martha on one eventful night and they are all changed forever. The power of one teacher and the lives she touched open up a path for Martha with a network of caring people to help her. She ends up with many places and helpers as she leaves her home to protect Lynnie and Homan's baby girl. All three characters have their "angels" along their individual journeys. Lynnie has a caregiver named Kate and Homan has a wheelchair-bound friend, "Sam". While Martha is taken in by many of her former students.
Good teachers make this kind of impact and the North Carolina Legislature and all state governments should take note of the power of good teachers on all of society. Where would they be today without the influence of their own teachers?
As Lynnie & Homan and their child, go thru life separately we watch society change for the better in their assimilation and treatment of mentally and physically challenged people. The character's lives change in a positive way. The ending is magical and yes, you will probably cry. I don't want to put a spoiler in this pick, so you will need to read this one for yourself!
Monday, September 16, 2013
Friday, September 13, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
You have to love Deborah Knott, the lead character in this wonderful series by Margaret Maron. She is as believable as your best friend or neighbor, she struggles with decisions and insecurities just like us, and she is SOUTHERN!! Her family members are like mine, even down to the ex-bootlegging part. Granted that was several generations ago for me but all most everyone who grew up in the South knew someone who made their own moonshine or could get you some. You pull for Deborah to succeed in her career and find her soulmate. She is smart but vulnerable.
The family scenes sets us up for more family drama in later books in this series. The female characters along with Deborah are strong but still Southern in upbringing. This regional is gentle but strong at the same time. We like our mysteries and our crazy relatives. You get plenty in this series. You will know why Margaret Maron won multiple awards for this book and you will gain a new friend that you will want to visit again and again. That's a good thing since there are 18 books full of Deborah Knott!
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
My pick this week is a book that will challenge your preconceived notions on people with low IQ's! Of course, if you could ask the main character, Perry Crandall, he would say he is not retarded. He is slow and thoughtful. His IQ is 76 and you have to be 75 or lower to be retarded.
Lottery challenges us to not climb into this book and defend Perry from his abusive and thougtless family members who start crawling out of the woodwork. Perry's Gran lends a steady and feisty voice to Perry's side. You see a loving relationship that will bring out the Kleenex a few times while you are reading this book! Gran is no nonsense and teaches Perry how to take care of himself. His true friends come out after he wins the lottery. This book has a full cast of characters. The characters are full and believable. Save some Kleenex for the unexpected ending.