Category Archives: Memoir/Biography

An Army on the Run

Army of Worn Soles
“Army of Worn Soles”, by Scott Bury is a memoir written in a fictional style of Bury’s own father-in-law’s experience in the Russian army.  Maurice Bury, a Canadian citizen, was living in the part of Ukraine controlled by Poland when Germany invaded in 1939.  The USSR took control of the area that Maurice was living and in 1941 he was conscripted into the Russian army. Continue reading

The Maybelline Story

The Maybelline Story

“The Maybelline Story –and the Spirited Dynasty Behind It”, by Sharrie Williams is a gripping memoir of the cosmetics company and her own family.  It is vintage Hollywood, with all of the glamor, greed, passion and intrigue you would expect. Continue reading

An Emotional Tribute to a Remarkable Friend

Russell Blake’s “An Angel with Fur” tells the story of Lobo who was adopted by him when he was a mere 5 weeks old, from an animal shelter in Mexico.  Lobo had amazing spirit and instantly charmed everyone he met.  For Russell it was love at first sight and only grew from there. He shares Lobo’s journey through life and the remarkable odds he overcame with a spirit and joy that never wavered.
The biography demonstrates just want kind of an impact on our lives the unconditional love and faithful companionship our furry friends can have.  We are all richer for sharing our lives with them.
This is by far the best pet story/biography I’ve ever read.  It was heart wrenching and triumphant both.  I feel grateful to have been able to experience Lobo’s spirit through Blake’s words.  Anyone who has ever loved a pet will be able to relate to this story.

An Inspiring Memoir

“Bad Luck Cadet”, by Susie Ivy, takes us on Susie’s journey through the police academy.  At age 44 Suzie is recovering from a broken hip, overweight and coming to grips with her now empty nest.  She sees an advertisement in a window for the police academy and decides it just might be the change she is looking for.

The story describes just what torture cadets endure to come out the other side as police officers.  You’ll laugh at some of it, cringe at some and (I swear) feel the pain along with her in other parts.  What will be the most compelling is her steely determination to see it through and graduate.

She is supported by her husband and two daughters, but, ridiculed by her son.  Susie’s classmates will rise to the challenge and admire her willingness to succeed.

It’s a great story that demonstrates that it is never too late to change course and that if you have the determination you can be whoever you want to be.  A great read!

Fighting Crime

Zach Fortier’s “CurbChek” is a gritty, fictional account of actual calls that Zach was assigned to during a 28 year career as a police officer.  The novel is written in the style of a memoir and takes you into the day to day life of an officer on the streets.  They see the darker side that most of us, hopefully, never encounter.

We’re shown the precinct politics and pecking orders that make an already difficult job even more complicated.  The cases span his career and illustrate the change in mindset from a rookie cop to a veteran on the force.  There’s everything from domestic violence, drug gangs and drive-by’s to prostitution and date rape.  Zach uses common sense and compassion with the criminals to defuse situations as opposed to escalating them with hotheaded heavy handedness.

“CurbChek” definitely gives you a greater appreciation for what our police officers encounter while keeping our communities safe.  It’s a fascinating read and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning what it would be like to be on the ground fighting crime and keeping us safe.

A Tale of Love & Loss

“The Gifted Ones”, by Lisa Vaughn is a haunting coming of age memoir.  It follows Lisa as she discovers love while learning who she is and what she really wants.  At times heartrending, it is also humorous, honest and compelling.

She describes the joys and heartbreaks of a relationship that begins in secret at the tender age of 13 and somehow flourishes despite the many obstacles and struggles that it bears.  It is  Lisa and Selina against the world.  As Lisa so succinctly puts it, “How could loving someone be wrong?”.

Lisa reminds us of how our dreams, desires and ambitions change as we grow up and attain adulthood.  The loves and friends we make along the way are not necessarily growing in the same direction.  Broken hearts hurt no matter who you love and time does somehow heal the wounds.

It is brilliantly paced with teasers at the end of many chapters that kept me turning pages well past when I should have been sleeping.  Two bookmarks up from this reviewer.

A Batch of Bios

Normally I prefer to read fiction, but recently I’ve read some really great biographies.  They were fascinating and rich with detail.  All of them page-turners for the most part.

The first one was “The Maybelline Story”, by Sharrie Williams.  It detailed the history of the Maybelline dynasty from it’s beginnings in 1911 up until the current day.  The family members are all very much characters and the story reads like a soap opera.  It even had a bit of mystery to it.  Definitely two thumbs up from this reader.

Not too long after that the next bio was “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.  This is the story of how one woman’s cancerous cell biopsy lead to the first cell cultures being grown.  From there they go around the world and are involved in an incredible number of discoveries and developments in the fields of science and medicine.  It also details the lives of her children and how they felt when they discovered what had been taken from their mother and how it had been used.  Again, it was written to keep you turning those pages.  Excellent read!

The last one was “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand.  This was my favorite.  It tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who goes on to serve in the air force during World War II.  He is shot down over the Pacific and survives for 47 days on a life raft only to be ‘rescued’ by the Japanese.  The account of his time as a POW is amazing.  Laura’s handling of the story is vivid and compelling.  I highly recommend this read to one and all.