Category Archives: memoir

Beautiful Memoir

Beautiful Memoir

  • ISBN-13: 9780525427209
  • ISBN-10: 0525427201
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Publish Date: March 2015
  • Page Count: 288

“I read George Hodgman’s extraordinary memoir in one seamless glorious sitting. You will want to take your time and savor your experience with this amazing family, this moving story and its timeless lessons. Bettyville is full of love, and grace, and tenderness. Unforgettable and engaging in its humor and in its heart.” –    Terrance G. Finley, President and Chief Executive Officer

Beautifully written memoir that touches the heart, tickles the funny bone and causes you to pause and reflect. George Hodgman, an unemployed, recovering addict, leaves his fast paced Manhattan world behind, returning to his childhood home in Paris, Missouri, to care for his elderly mother, Betty. The role reversal alone is very difficult, parent becoming the child and child talking on the role of parent – but there are other factors that make this situation even more trying… George can’t select an outfit or prepare a meal without enduring his mother’s criticisms. At times he’s able to hold his temper in check, while at others, the two really butt heads. But the real elephant in the room is George’s homosexuality. Although he’s been “out” with his parents for years, it’s a silent subject (one everyone is aware of, but doesn’t discuss).

George’s story is much more than that of a son returning home to care for his mother…it’s a personal journey of acceptance. He finds peace within himself and with his mother. As the novel progresses you feel a personal connection with these people – which, for me, is the defining aspect of a good book. And while there are no “ah-ha moments”, nor gold at the end of the rainbow, there’s a feeling of satisfaction that all is as it was intended.

This is a good book that I really enjoyed reading. Having taken care of my grandmother the last several years of her life, so much of George’s story was my story. The surface issues were different…but at the core it was the same. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good book.


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For The Sender, 4 Letters, 12 Songs, 1 Story

For The Sender, 4 Letters, 12 Songs, 1 Story

OverviewSometimes a letter is like a prayer; it’s more for the sender than the receiver. Singer-songwriter Alex Woodard was letting go of his best friend, a Labrador named Kona, and most of his dreams when he received a letter that would change the course of his life.  What began as a song about that letter evolved into a book and album package about real-life letters, featuring Grammy-winning artists and a live show that has sol d out every performance and inspired thousands in its first few months.

Author:  Alex Woodard
Full Length Album included

ISBN-13: 9781401941215
ISBN-10: 1401941214
Publisher: Hay House
Publish Date: September 2012
Page Count: 127 Hardcover

For the Sender is a woven mix of creativity, a memoir of sorts, but more a baring and cleansing of the soul through music and dialogue. Woodard takes the reader on a journey of healing, giving hope where once there was none, literally changing ones mind on a spiritual level. Inspiring each of us to channel our energy in a positive way, instead of concentrating on the negative. Showing us that the reason the hateful clerk becomes such a lasting and central part of our day is because their behavior was so jarring. While the kindness of others is often overlooked or missed entirely because it is conveyed in simple, often quiet ways. For the Sender challenges us to not only notice, but to become part of the positives.

The music on the CD is incredible. I put on the headphones and listened to the music while reading the book. (Which I highly recommend) I feel this gave me a real understanding of how the stories inspired the music and how music really is the backdrop of our lives. The stories remind us that as long as we are breathing it’s never too late to alter our course. This is an awesome reading/listening experience, there’s something here that everyone can relate too. It asks the reader to look inward and  realize just how amazing your life truly is. For the Sender is a short read (only 127 pages) that’s reverberations will be felt for a very long time.

Happy Reading!

**Contributors: Sara and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), Jack Tempchin (songwriter for the Eagles), Jordan Pundik (New Found Glory)

Click to watch this video

Alex Woodard, Biography

Singer-songwriter and author Alex Woodard has toured nationally behind five critically-acclaimed albums, earning prestigious industry nods and shared the stage with some of today’s most popular acts. Joining a family of prominent musicians in his small beach town home, Alex created For The Sender, a unique book, album, and concert event that features his story of release and redemption woven through songs written about real-life letters. “It started with one letter,” Woodard explains, “and evolved into something bigger than I could have imagined.” Alex was overwhelmed with the letters he received and had no idea it would later turn into a whole new songwriting life.”
Alex lives with a big dog and a bigger horse in the mountains of Idaho. When he is not writing and playing music, he can most likely be found surfing, riding his horse, and reading the incredible letters people keep sending him.


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Regina’s Closet by Diana Raab

Click Here to listen to an audio (narrated) version of this review. 

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Heart In The Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan

 Cover ImageHeart In The Right Place
Carolyn Jourdan
ISBN 10: 1-56512-487-1
ISBN 13:  978-156512-487-5
Algonquin Books a division of Workman Publishing

Family Circle Magazine’s first ever, Book of the Month and the winner of Elle Magazine’s Readers Prize, Heart In The Right Place reaches out and touches the core of the reader. An emotional journey that inspires you to evaluate what is truly important in life and your place in it.

The story opens as Carolyn, the accomplished, independently successful attorney receives a phone call from her father…her mother is being treated for an apparent heart attack in the local emergency room. She immediately packed a quick bag, jumped into her expensive Mercedes and traveled the 500 miles from D.C. to her family’s hometown in East Tennessee. Her father was a wonderful family doctor and her mom had worked by his side, officially as the receptionist, but more a Jill-of-all-trades, for as far back as she could remember. Now, Carolyn would have to fill-in for her Mom for a “few days.” Thinking she would be back in D.C. before Monday morning, Carolyn resigned herself to a couple of days of answering phones and whatever else, and then she would get back to the real world where she could make a difference. However, a few days turn to a few weeks and that quickly fades into a few months and the question that plagues the reader, was obviously wreaking havoc on Carolyn’s mind as well–will she return to D.C. or stay in East Tennessee?

At first she was completely out of her element, feeling inadequate and ineffective. She had always believed that by being an attorney she could make a difference, on the national level, which in turn would help large numbers of people. Now, after months of being immersed in this simple, country community, interacting with the patients on a personal level, she began to see her parents selfless devotion to these people in a new light.

Far from the hustle and bustle of high powered politicians and law makers, is where you find the folks who are making a difference, every day…changing the world with one selfless act of kindness at a time. Carolyn Jourdan’s memoir is an honest look into the heart of a young woman that discovers she is and has always been, her parents daughter. Chock-full of sweet southern charm, quaint characters that will have you laughing out loud one minute and reaching for a tissue the next, this is a wonderful story. Delightful, insightful and inspirational, Heart In The Right Place is a beautifully written novel that challenges us to rethink our goals, values and perceptions. Life is unpredictable and it’s human nature to search for your purpose and to want to make a difference, which is very personal and quite difficult. And yet, Carolyn Jourdan shares her intimate journey through the tough questions, self-doubt and ultimately the choice to make sweeping changes in her life. A world away from the high-powered, black-tie gatherings where wheeling and dealing is the name of the game, she found her calling in a country doctor’s small office.

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind memoir, Jourdan’s words will stay with you long after the book has been snugly tucked away on the shelf.

Happy Reading!

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