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
I think it took me a long time to give myself permission to be me. But, I'm in my 30s now and ... 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
A good hair day makes me feel like I can accomplish anything for some reason. If I could have a ... 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
I'm realizing that we've never discussed this! We have a little one so I'm sure this will ... 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 feel like I'm a member of so many different communities. I have my online group, my moms ... 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
My brother was a vampire one year for Halloween. My mom couldn't find any black pants that fit ... 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 love hearing What a Wonderful World, which is a happy song anyway, but also the song that my ... 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
Maybe a dramedy? There's plenty of drama and lots of laughs, but nothing that can't be resolved ... 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
Ooh. My mom's pork chops with green olives, curried chicken salad, stuffed potatoes and ... 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
This is a SUPER interesting question. These days, with Facebook and the like, I don't think we ... more

Who Do You Want To Be?

When we first met Lissy Ryder in Jen Lancaster's novel Here I Go Again, she didn't know who she wanted to be. She was still focused on who she had been. Her high school days has been her glory days, so why should she want to be any different than she was in her teens? During the course of the novel she learns that if you stay who you were, you'll never become who you are supposed to be....more
When I was in high school, I wanted to be important. I wanted people to know my name and I ... more