Adult Book Reviews by Genre: Biography/Memoir

Lancaster, Jen
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Borderline 1 star. Jen Lancaster really annoys me. It could be because she writes super clever banter between herself and everyone else. Puhleeze. It's like she has a big sign on her back that says, 'Gee, aren't I witty? Don't you wish you were friends with me?'. Not really. Oh God, and the footnotes! Lame way to try to be clever. She just tries too hard. But I did finish it, but no more Jen Lancaster for me.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Halpern, Justin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is very clever, funny, and sweet. The author talks about his misadventures with girls in a very self-deprecating manner. His father even makes a showing in the book, to hilarious effect. Thumbs up!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Hainey, Michael
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I heard about this book from my cousin who read it in her book club. It is one of the best books I read all year. I wish I was a faster reader but I managed to finish it all the way to the end. You know exactly what the author is thinking. Its a great book!

Reviewer's Name: Karen
Lansing, Alfred
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

An incredible true story that details the leadership, skills and experience of Ernest Shackleton and his crew as they survive daunting odds and extreme misery while attempting to cross Antarctica. While the book starts a bit slowly, a few chapters in it is near impossible to set down. It reminds us of the endless capability of man to survive in situations where death seems to be the only option available.

Reviewer's Name: Greg
Black, Lewis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A very funny book. I kinda was expecting an atheist viewpoint, but the author was a bit more nebulous about the existence of God. But more importantly, this was a very funny book.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Millard, Candice
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Great for the reader interested in history, science, and adventure. A wonderful insight into Theodore Roosevelt's lifelong love for nature.

Reviewer's Name: Abby
Grogan, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

John and Jenny were young and in love. They brought Marley home and oh my goodness ! Marley was very mischevious, such as chewing through sheetrock, stole womans undergarments. Obediance school did no good as he was expelled.

Reviewer's Name: Mike
Janzen, Rhoda
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I really loved this book and highly recommend it. I listened to it on CD, but Rhoda Janzen's writing style is just fantastic. She made me laugh and she gave me lots to think about. Even a Mennonite History Primer was funny, but I did learn a few facts about the Mennonites while laughing. I really loved the stories that involved her mom. Even though lots of the book was funny, it was also tough at times to hear how badly her ex-husband had treated her. Rhoda was very lucky she had her family to rely upon. The best line from the book is "I suddenly had the feeling you get when, after a long sea swim, you touch bottom and draw a breath of relief: you made it, land ho, sharks from this point on extremely unlikely." It made me think of some of my hard journeys in life and feeling that same sense of relief.

Reviewer's Name: Melissa
Woodruff, Lee
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book chronicles the traumatic brain injury of Bob Woodruff, an ABC News Anchor, suffered from an I.E.D. when on patrol with our soldiers in Iraq in 2006. Lee describes the many surgeries and therapies her husband endured resulting in an amazing recovery! I feel this book offers much hope to families with loved ones who have a traumatic brain injury.

Reviewer's Name: Delores O.
DiLorenzo, Thomas J.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

For people wanting to learn more about teh 16th president, this is an eye opening book. Mr. DiLorenzo uses original sources to show the truth about Mr. Lincoln's worldview and agenda. Many people will be scratching their heads, wondering why the history of Lincoln has been so misrepresented.

The book is very readable, and engaging, causing the reader to want to see the whole extent of Lincoln's atrocities, from the suspension of habeus corpus to the destruction of newspapers critical of him and his war to prevent southern independence.

I highly recommend this book, especially for the defenders of Lincoln, as it will show them the truth about Abraham Lincoln.

Reviewer's Name: John
Hubalek, Linda K.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

It was an interesting look into the life of a woman who moved with her husband to the Kansas prairie to homestead land. The difficulties and hardships put a new perspective on life of a homesteader. When she first came she didn't even speak the language. Her and her husband lived in a dirt cave for the first year or so and eventually built a home. The story was written like a diary. Her great granddaughter wrote the book and included pictures of her great grandmother and other relatives. The writer actually grew up in the homestead.

Reviewer's Name: Pat
Echols, Damien
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Do you believe that in America it would be impossible for you to legally be put to death for a crime you did not commit? Read this shocking book.
Damien Echols, the author of "Life After Death" was falsely accused and convicted at the age of 18 (along with 2 of his friends) of murdering three 8 year old boys in Arkansas in 1993.
After watching the 3 documentaries about this crime, "Paradise Lost", which the library does own, I wanted to know more about this murder case and shocking miscarriage of justice.
Damien Echols was imprisoned on death row for 18 years of his life and in his book shares with his readers his life story. From his early years of extreme poverty in the south to the abuse he suffered from prison guards and wardens, he tells of the spirituality and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated.
Does it have a happy ending? You'll have to read it to find out.

Reviewer's Name: Linda
Egan, Timothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I recently read Timothy Egan's latest book, "Short Nights of the Shadowcathcher," a biography of Edward S. Curtis, famous for his photos of Native Americans at the turn of the century. Although I was familiar with his photos, I didn't realize he also recorded languages on wax cylinders and filmed disappearing Native American ceremonies, which tribes later used to recreate their languages and cultures. With partial funding from JP Morgan, and the moral support of Teddy Roosevelt, he published 20 volumes on the North American Indian, a task that consumed his life. I also did not realize that in 1914, he produced a motion picture using members of the Kwakiutls tribe on Vancouver Island. After positive reviews, the film was tied up in litigation with the distributor and disappeared into storage. The last remaining copy was found in 1972 and carefully restored. On a whim, I looked for the film in the library and, to my amazement, learned that Pikes Peak Library District has a copy on DVD. Amazing what you can find at our libraries!!!!

Reviewer's Name: Terri
Strayed, Cheryl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I recently read the book "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. The book lended itself to a glimpse into a young womans' adventure as she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. The beginning chapters showed how inexperienced and innocent she was and as I continued reading other chapters, she had become quite the seasoned hiker with physical scars to prove it. Her marriage had ended and her mom had died, so as we hiked along with her, she came to grips with her life journey. Very entertaining and a page turner to boot!

Reviewer's Name: Sue
Kehert, Peg
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Peg Kehert told you in her own words what it was like to be a child with polio. She writes how deadly and dangerous polio was in 1949. It was heartfelt and she made friends along her hard journey. I think that kids and adults should read this book.

Reviewer's Name: Manjula
Dos, Margarete
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I loved this memoir of a young girl growing up in Berlin in World War II. It is told in a way that makes you feel that you were there, running for the shelters during raids, watching the city you loved decimated by bombs, working in the hospitals and seeing the advance of the Russians. She even spent time in a Russian gulag for reasons unknown, she and her mother were just trying to get to safety. It is a different perspective from many World War II-era books that I've read, and it was an interesting insight into what the German citizens were thinking and feeling.

I appreciated the way that the story was told - it felt like I was sitting next to someone and having them just tell me their life history. The author did a wonderful job transcribing her mother's story, adding little footnotes when necessary and pictures throughout.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Egan, Timothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Many readers may have seen Edward Curtis's turn-of-the-last-century sepia photographs of Native Americans--the photograph of Chief Joseph or that of a line of Indians on horseback, small in comparison with the monumental rock formations of the southwest, traversing Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.
Born in 1868, Edward Curtis devoted his life to documenting in photographs and text the life of the North American Indian--in the end, producing a twenty-volume collection of books. Egan's fascinating and informative book narrates the story of Curtis's life and life work, time spent with Indians of the southwest, the northern plains, the northwest coast, and Alaska. Egan relates Curtis's association with, among other well-known Americans, Teddy Roosevelt and J. P. Morgan. Readers interested in the history of photography, in the history of the United States, and in the history of Native Americans would enjoy this book.

Reviewer's Name: Bill
Millard, Candice
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Explore an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River with President Theodore Roosevelt in The River of Doubt by Candice Millard. The adventure encompasses United States history, South American politics, native populations along the Amazon, and the relationship that President Roosevelt had with his son. Learn about the animals and plants along the dangerous Amazon and the near death of the President.

Reviewer's Name: Janie
Fey, Tina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Tina Fey's account of her journey to become a successful writer/comic/actress is funny and interesting. With sincerity, warmth and wit, she tells about her life without glossing over the awkward and challenging moments. BTW, she's awesome!

Reviewer's Name: Jenny P.
Halpern, Justin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A very funny portrait of a son's relationship with his eccentric father. I loved that the author was able to draw out the love his father had for him through these ridiculous things he said. A clever book and a quick read.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn

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