Permission To Be You

The road to self-acceptance can be a rocky one with lots of twists and turns. When I think back to some of the paths I attempted as a teen I kind of cringe. In her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson got some help on that path thanks to her father, a turkey named Jenkins, and an incident in the public school library....more
It comes and goes, really.  Just like you said, Karen, some people or situations seem to just ... more

What is Your Confidence Wig?

There are days when we all need a little help -- a confidence boost. When we are in a situation that makes us nervous or anxious a little thing can make big difference. Jenny Lawson has found things that help deal with her anxiety disorder. She documents many of these in her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, and one of my favorites is something that we can all do in our own way -- confidence wigs. ...more
I have a few outfits that I just feel good and confident in when I put them on.  There's one ... more

Bowls Versus Trash Cans

When you begin sharing your life with someone, you discover differences in family traditions. Sometimes they are foreseeable and other times they take you by surprise. Jenny Lawson recounts many of these in her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, including the time she discovered she had been sitting on couches wrong....more
We had a bucket-type thing that had been a free promotion from a bank back in the day.  It had a ... more

Considering What Unites Us

While I read Alex George's A Good American I thought a lot about what it means to belong -- to a church, a town, a country, a family. Frederick didn't belong to Jette's social strata, so they had to leave their homeland in order to be together. When they reach America, they do not end up in the town they intended to settle in, but they put down roots there....more
I'm one of those with a lot of different communities.  I have my librarian community, different ... more

The Redemptive Power of Song

We've discussed how music plays a big role in Alex George's A Good American when we talked about how he described Jette's life as an opera. It's more than that the family just liked music, it was woven into the fabric of their lives. It was what they used to learn about themselves and about life. ...more
I used to listen to music constantly, but now I just find it too distracting.  I might throw on ... more

What's Your Favorite Funny Childhood Memory?

In between laughing at Jenny Lawson's recounting of her childhood memories in her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, I found myself comparing it to my own childhood. We didn't have raccoons in the bathtub, but my uncle totally had a raccoon for awhile. Alas, no one thought to make it jams. It did make me remember a few other childhood memories, particularly those involving wild animals....more
We had an elderly babysitter who took care of us most of the summer, and one week her grandkids ... more

Is Your Life an Opera?

In Alex George's A Good American music is important to the lives of the characters and is integral to the plot. Jette and Frederick meet when he serenades her in a park. They find help in New Orleans from someone that Frederick met through music. This same man will come back into their lives and greatly impact their future. Frederick and Jette's sons and grandsons are all singers....more
My life would be a novel--a meandering novel that probably needs a lot of editing but is ... more

Do We Ever Really Leave High School?

Lissy Ryder, the main character in Jen Lancaster's new novel, Here I Go Again, never really left high school. She hit her peak during those four years and stopped growing and reaching. When she discovered there is life after high school it was a complete and total shock. While we may not all be like Lissy, I still see references every week online to things being just like high school....more
I feel like I left High School, but I really wonder how I'll feel if I go to my own reunion this ... more

Gastronomic Mosaics & Culinary Road Maps

Food quickly becomes important to the story in Alex George's A Good American. Before the Meisenheimers ever open the restaurant, Jette finds herself homesick. She turns to the meals she ate in her homeland for comfort. She didn't have recipes passed down from her mother or even a cookbook to turn to. Through a process of trial and error, she made her way through the food in memories until they existed on her table. ...more
Growing up in the Midwest, we ate a lot of Scandinavian-inspired food, and what I miss the most ... more

Do We Ever Really Leave High School?

Lissy Ryder, the main character in Jen Lancaster's new novel, Here I Go Again, never really left high school. She hit her peak during those four years and stopped growing and reaching. When she discovered there is life after high school it was a complete and total shock. While we may not all be like Lissy, I still see references every week online to things being just like high school....more
I think it really depends on the person.  Certainly high school helps shape you into who you ... more