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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Patty Pick for May 25 is "Britt-Marie Was Here" by Fredrik Backman




"Britt-Marie Was Here" is another thought-provoking book by Frederik Backman. A follow-up novel featuring a polarizing character, Britt-Marie, from his book "My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She's Sorry." Britt- Marie is off into the world on her own for the first time. As we look back with her on her former life, we find out how she came to be the person she is today. As the book goes forward we see her dig a little deeper into the reasons for her awkwardness. She is not sure she is ready to venture out into the world on her own, but she is going forward anyway.  

Britt-Marie needs to work now that she is divorced and she is determined to have a job and find a purpose for her life. She and her husband, Kent, 
have gone their separate ways after the revelation that he has cheated on her for years. She knew in her heart, but in her other life she was a good wife. She tried to do everything by the rules. As she deals with her OCD, she finds ways to make things work for her and she asks a lot of questions. 

She ends up in Berg, a small town in the middle of nowhere, on the way to nowhere. Somehow she is "stuck" there as Someone and her crew try to teach Britt-Marie how to be their soccer coach. Britt-Marie has always lived her husband's dreams and his life and not her own. Now she is living for herself finally. Along with the sweet children, the residents struggling to survive, and the quirky situation, this Fredrik Backman novel reads along with surprising quickness. She even has a love interest in the local policeman.

As she unravels her life and tries to put it back together, we find our how and why Britt-Marie came to be the annoying, rules-following person in Fredrik Backman's "My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She's Sorry." Being in the same car accident side-by-side with her sister who was killed, changed her whole life. She is just learning to deal with it. In Berg, she comes into her skin and learns she can make a difference in her life and others. Cheer along with her as we watch and read this hilarious story of Britt-Marie finding herself. A solid 4 Star read.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Patty's Pick for May 18th is "When We Were Sisters" by Emilie Richards

Cecelia and Robin are sisters, clear and simple. Even though they met in foster care when they were children, they have adopted each other and their relationship has grown into something special. Cecelia made sure that Robin was taken care of to the best of her abilities as a teenager. Now Cecelia is a mega pop star and Robin is a stay-at-home mom with a lawyer husband and two children. When Robin cheats death in a car accident in which her good friend and next door neighbor is killed, everything changes for her after that. Robin re-evaluates her life and what she wants to do with the rest of it that she realizes she could have lost. She misses her former career as a photographer. With her husband, Kris, never home, their marriage is drifting apart.

Cecelia rushes to be by Robin's side when she hears the news and offers Robin a unique opportunity - an opportunity to be part of a documentary on Cecelia's life which will be filmed by a renowned director. Robin would be taking photographs throughout the journey as the group films. The director and Cecelia hope to use the film to shine a light on the good and bad of the foster care system. Cecelia and Robin have both seen and experienced the good and the bad side together and apart. But as Cecelia goes back in time while exploring her childhood and the places she lived, she struggles to deal with what happened to her. She has hidden some of the experiences from herself and finds that facing them now is threatening her mental health.

Robin's marriage is holding on by a thin thread and now Kris is thrown into full time care of his kids. The choices he must make between his career and his family's needs become harder and harder for him. As he works through the day-to-day events with his children,
he realizes the truth of what he wants, he and Robin must decide what will happen with their marriage together.

This is a story of two sisters that saved each other in the foster care system. We also watch as Robin's marriage struggles to survive and the impact of that between Robin and Kris. At the same time, Cecelia is working through the repressed details of her traumatic childhood and how it has affected her for her entire life. Will she let it continue to do so?

I wanted to read this book in one sitting but my own life got in the way. I did read it as quickly as I could, so I could see what was going to happen to these sisters and those around them. You will want to read it quickly too! A solid 4.5 stars!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

If you had known me during my late teens, you would never have believed that I wanted to be a Mother, nor should I probably have been a Mother. I didn't really enjoy being around small children or babysitting for neighbors like my sister. But after I married, I realized that I desperately wanted to be a Mother. We wanted a little mini me running around. Of course, everything happens in it's right time and after much hard work and fertility specialists, we were blessed with our daughter. There is nothing to prepare you for motherhood. It is constant and total joy. You will never love anyone like you to do your child or children. You will never not be a Mother again, not matter how old they get. And you will never be as happy, worried, sad or blessed again, sometimes all at the same time. 

It's hard to believe that my Mom will be gone for 15 years in October. To have a Mom with you for much of your life is so special. Those that are lucky enough to have that should cherish every minute. There were so many questions and problems that I did not get to ask my Mom. So many things I wanted to share with her or ask her opinion about, but she 
was not here. I don't think you ever truly get over the loss of a parent, but it is a part of life and you have to carry on. 

We are dealing with Alzheimer's with my mother-in-law. And while she may not remember we were there the next day, she enjoys the time we have together thoroughly. She can not do everything she once could, but she is still a human and deserves to be treated as one. She deserves the best care we can give her. We can just enjoy what time we have with her and keep our good memories in our heart.  

 O
ne thing I do remember about my Mother is her ability to enjoy life. She had a great sense of humor and would break out this "cross-eyed, tongue-out" face for no reason at all. It always made us laugh. There are way too many pictures with versions of that face in them in my photo collection. She also loved being outside and had one of the greenest thumbs I've ever seen. Our yard, our garden, and inside of our house was always covered in green and abundantly healthy plant life. The plants thrived vigorously under Mom's care. In the few attempts that I've tried to copy her gardening skills, I've failed miserably. Usually I would end up with dead plants and a multitude of insect bites. One of those moments came when I had a "come-to-Jesus" moment with an angry group of fire ants while planting pansies in our Florida yard. Let's just say I turned my yard over to the professionals after that. 


But it's not the gardening tips or the funny faces or the special way she made me feel over my successes or failures, that I miss the most from my Mom. I miss being able to have my Mom to call during those joyful times to celebrate, to see her during the Holidays, or just to call for encouragement during stressful times when I need "Mom" advice and comfort. The saying, "No one knows you like your Mother" is so true. 

So even as I cherish my memories of the time I did have with my Mom, I miss her. I miss her sage advice, the joy of her pride in our family, the love for her granddaughter and son-in-law, and the never-ending love only a Mother can provide. If you still have your Mom alive, please cherish her, the time together is too short. Wishing you all the best Mother's Day you can have!