From a bracing new voice comes this life-affirming memoir of a daughter making and remaking her life in her mother’s image. Sifting gingerly through memories of her late mother, brilliant newcomer Sarah McColl has penned an indelible tribute to the joy and pain of loving well. Even as her own marriage splinters, McColl drops everything when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, returning to the family farmhouse and laboring over elaborate meals in the hopes of nourishing her back to health. In a series of vibrant vignettes—lipstick applied, novels read, imperfect cakes baked—McColl reveals a woman of endless charm and infinite love for her unruly brood of children. Mining the dual losses of both her young marriage and her beloved mother, McColl confronts her identity as a woman, walking lightly in the footsteps of the woman who came before her and clinging fast to the joy she left behind. With candor reminiscent of classics like C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, Joy Enough offers a story that blooms with life.
The Inheritance of Shame is the true story of author Peter Gajdics' six years in a bizarre form of conversion therapy that attempted to -cure- him of his homosexuality. Virtually imprisoned in a cult-like therapeutic house called the Styx with other heavily medicated psychiatric patients, they were all under the total authority of a violent, dominating, rogue psychiatrist named -Dr. Alfonzo.- Their treatment devolved into intense primal scream therapy, weekly injections of Ketamine Hydrochloride (a dissociate drug most commonly used as an animal anesthetic) and constant pressure to abandon their birth parents and form unquestioning bonds with surrogate parents - Alfonzo, as -daddy, - and a woman hired to act and nurture them as a new -mommy.- They learned not to question Alfonzo, and to prove their loyalty by complete obedience and unpaid servitude. The Inheritance of Shame details Gajdics' recovery and somewhat successful attempt to seek legal recourse, juxtaposed against his parents' histories of trauma: his mother's incarceration and escape from a communist concentration camp in post-World War II Yugoslavia, and his father's upbringing as an orphan in war-torn Hungary. Though culturally and politically dissimilar, the emotional undercurrents of each of their narratives converge at key moments throughout the memoir.
The instant New York Times bestseller from “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a “relentlessly funny and surprisingly inspirational” (Forbes.com) memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to internet stardom, and embracing her weirdness to find her place in the world. When Felicia Day was a girl, all she wanted was to connect with other kids (desperately). Growing up in the Deep South, where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons,” she looked online to find her tribe. The Internet was in its infancy and she became an early adopter at every stage of its growth—finding joy and unlikely friendships in the emerging digital world. Her relative isolation meant that she could pursue passions like gaming, calculus, and 1930’s detective novels without shame. Because she had no idea how “uncool” she really was. But if it hadn’t been for her strange background—the awkwardness continued when she started college at sixteen, with Mom driving her to campus every day—she might never have had the naïve confidence to forge her own path. Like when she graduated as valedictorian with a math degree and then headed to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting despite having zero contacts. Or when she tired of being typecast as the crazy cat-lady secretary and decided to create her own web series before people in show business understood that online video could be more than just cats chasing laser pointers. Felicia’s rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Ever candid, she opens up about the rough patches along the way, recounting battles with writer’s block, a full-blown gaming addiction, severe anxiety, and depression—and how she reinvented herself when overachieving became overwhelming. Showcasing Felicia’s “engaging and often hilarious voice” (USA TODAY), You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should celebrate what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.
What does a mother do when her teenaged daughter is spinning out of control and nothing is bringing her back? Here is a searingly honest memoir of motherhood and a testament to the power of love and family. When Adair Lara’s daughter Morgan turned thirteen, she was transformed, seemingly overnight, from a sweet, loving child into an angry, secretive teenager who would neither listen nor be disciplined. The author, her youngest son, Patrick, her ex-husband, Jim, and her new husband, Bill, all stepped on a five-year roller-coaster ride in which Morgan incarnated the chaos principle in torn jeans and dyed hair. Drinking, drugging, disappearing, suspicious companions, failing and cheating at school, joy riding in a stolen car–there was no variety of adolescent acting out that she didn’t indulge in. For Adair Lara it became an endless sojourn at the end of her rope, a trial immensely complicated by the reappearance in her life of her aging father, a man who had abandoned his wife and seven children decades earlier. Inevitably, Morgan’s misbehavior revives memories of her own headstrong adolescence, while her father’s presence makes agonizingly real for her the consequences of giving up. Paradoxically, he also becomes the source of her best advice. Hold Me Close, Let Me Go is an emotionally charged, often brutally honest memoir that all parents (and anyone who was ever a teenager) will experience shocks of recognition from while reading. It imparts invaluable lessons about holding loved ones close through the roughest passages and about the power of family to overcome the most grievous obstacles. Adair Lara is a clear-eyed and eloquent witness to the complex costs and rewards of motherhood, and her book will redefine for readers their idea of what being “a good enough mother” really means. From the Hardcover edition.
Few westerners will ever be able to understand Muslim or Afghan society unless they are part of a Muslim family. Twenty years old and in love, Phyllis Chesler, a Jewish-American girl from Brooklyn, embarked on an adventure that has lasted for more than a half-century. In 1961, when she arrived in Kabul with her Afghan bridegroom, authorities took away her American passport. Chesler was now the property of her husband's family and had no rights of citizenship. Back in Afghanistan, her husband, a wealthy, westernized foreign college student with dreams of reforming his country, reverted to traditional and tribal customs. Chesler found herself unexpectedly trapped in a posh polygamous family, with no chance of escape. She fought against her seclusion and lack of freedom, her Afghan family's attempts to convert her from Judaism to Islam, and her husband's wish to permanently tie her to the country through childbirth. Drawing upon her personal diaries, Chesler recounts her ordeal, the nature of gender apartheid—and her longing to explore this beautiful, ancient, and exotic country and culture. Chesler nearly died there but she managed to get out, returned to her studies in America, and became an author and an ardent activist for women's rights throughout the world. An American Bride in Kabul is the story of how a naïve American girl learned to see the world through eastern as well as western eyes and came to appreciate Enlightenment values. This dramatic tale re-creates a time gone by, a place that is no more, and shares the way in which Chesler turned adversity into a passion for world-wide social, educational, and political reform.