Friday, April 22, 2022

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Lenni is seventeen years old and Margot is 83.  Together, they are 100.  They meet in a hospital where Lenni is on the terminal ward and Margot is a heart patient.  Lenni tells most of the story as first she meets Father Arthur, who she befriends and tortures with her many irreverent questions and observations. When she asks him why she is dying and he tells her that only God can answer that question, Lenni replies "That's the biggest pile of crap I have ever heard.  I'm dying here!  And I have come to one of God's designated spokespeople with a really important question, and you refer me back to him?  I tried him already, but I didn't get an answer."  Lenni's wisdom includes statemens like "Dying isn't brave,... it's accidental.  I'm not brave, I'm just not dead yet."  After meeting Margot, Lenni befriends her and together they begin an art project - to make one hundred paintings in the hospital art class - one for each year of their lives.  So Margot shares her story with Lenni and we learn about her life in bits and pieces as she shares the stories of her paintings with Lenni. The story is funny and heartbreaking and I highly recommend it.  And finally, in the words of Lenni, "putting a church inside a hospital is like looking at an oil painting to see what the weather will be like." 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome by Ariel Henley

In this touching memoir, Ariel details the horrors of growing up with "Crouzon syndrome -- a rare condition where the bones in the head fuse prematurely. " She tells about the trauma and PTSD from having to have multiple surgeries throughout her life along with her twin sister, who has the same syndrome.  Along with the physical trauma they suffered the psychological trauma of being called monsters, looked upon as having lower intelligence, and of looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger after surgeries that were necessary to keep them alive and to try to make them look more "normal".  The story is well written and I highly recommend it.

Enchanting Sarah Greenberg by Jennifer Inglis

In this enchanting and very funny story, 39 year old Sarah Greenberg suddenly discovers that she can do magic.  Her family informs her that it is Magyck and that her family, on her father's side is made up of Magycians.  Combining magic and Jewish mythology, and food, the story revolves around Sarah and her Magyckal family and friends trying to save the family's magic shop from an evil woman named Zondra who wants to take over the store and it's magyckal resources.  The story is a fun, lighthearted read and I enjoyed it very much. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

In a Day's Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung


Sadly, in the US, immigrant workers are mistreated and taken advantage of daily.  Women, especially who work picking crops and in service industries as maids and in home health care, are often sexually assaulted as well.  This book details the abuses that immigrant women suffer and the movement to bring attention to and end that abuse.  The book is eye opening and rather horrifying.  In one study, it was found that "one third of the men interviewed said that they would probably force a woman into sex acts if they knew they wouldn't get caught."  A latter study showed that "male attraction to sexual violence is more common than most people had previously realized."  It was also found that this male sexual violence can be turned aside if other men speak out about it rather than joining in or ignoring it. 
Because many brave women have spoken out, there are now education and support groups to help stop sexual violence in the workplace and laws that punish companies who don't fire the men who are rapists and sexually abusive.  
This book is an excellent resource and is quite eye opening.  I highly recommend it.  

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki

This is a magnificent book about a magnificent woman!  I knew absolutely nothing about Marjorie Post before reading this book, but I have now learned a great deal about this fascinating woman whose father, C.W. Post started a cereal company that became General Foods.  Born in 1887, before women could vote or even think about running a business, Marjorie defied the odds and used her inherited and self-earned fortune to help others throughout her long and very full life.  The story details her four marriages along with her entrepreneurship, political and social life, family life and her charitable contributions to the country.  The book brings Marjorie to life and showcases her many accomplishments.