It's My Story - You Can Cry If You Want To: Five Biographies
Recommended by Stefanie, formerly a reference librarian in our Adult Department.
Check our other Fave Five lists, too!
Connie May Fowler, author of several critically acclaimed novels, including Before Women Had Wings, vividly tells of the lifetime she has spent knowing how to hide bruises. She is beaten as a child for things as petty as not eating her peas. As an adult she takes up company with a man who she thought was the answer to her prayers, but has turned out to be unfathomably abusive. About her relationship she tells us, Staying does not mean Im not also in the process of leaving, and it is through this leaving process that we want to fight along with her, tooth-and-nail, as we read her harrowing tale.
Brendan Halpins wife was diagnosed with breast cancer that also spread to her spine, and hes trying to deal with it. He tells us about her ordeal from his perspective through diary-like entries that are very humanthey are filled with humor, sadness, selfishness and generosity. He tells us about simple things like the music CDs he buys to get himself through and complicated things like trying to raise their daughter while being so desperately sad. Sometimes the language is raw, and always the emotions are. A rare perspective and valuable read. Halpin has written several other books since this one.
Poet Lucy Grealys has told her own tragic story before in Autiobiography of a Face. As a child she was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma, a type of cancer, and her face became disfigured as a result of the treatment. Patchett tells the story, and no less powerfully, as Grealys close friend. Patchett describes a person who was at once needy and brash, brokenhearted and hopeful. She also tells us about the more nitty-gritty details, the difficulty Grealy had eating with her partial jaw, the numerous sexual encounters she had in search of being loved. In short she tells us that Grealy, worked constantly on deciding who she would be, and her relationship with Patchett throughout this discovery is the subject of this moving book.
Jane Stern is the co-author of about 30 books, including Blue Plate Specials & Blue Ribbon Chefs, a national tour of roadside restaurants complete with recipes. Despite her success, she has fallen into a paralyzing depression. Her salvation is becoming a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in her small town. She tells of her experiences of both becoming and serving as an EMT, including descriptions of many of the calls she goes on. She also tells of the toll the emergency calls have taken on her marriage. Stern puts it best herself when she says, This is my story, about life and death, fear and joy, good and evil as seen from the back of an ambulance in a small town in Connecticut.
There are stories of long labors, short labors, easy and difficult laborseven scary and joyful labors. But the women in labor all have one thing in common, Peggy Vincent was there to catch their babies. The joy that Vincent, a licensed midwife, feels when each baby is born is contagious and likely to inspire happy tears. Not so happy are the struggles she sometimes has with medical personnel and insurance companies. Whether or not you believe in the cause of birthing at home, Vincents story is moving because she believes so deeply in her cause and in helping women to have the births that they want for themselves.