Monday, September 23, 2013

Another Piece of My Heart

Title:  Another Piece of My Heart
Author:  Jane Green
Published:  2012, St. Martin's Press
Genre:  Fiction, Chick-Lit
Source:  Library
From Goodreads:

"Andi has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she's finally found him.  Ethan--divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia--is a devoted father and even better husband.  Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own. But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives…and in their hearts.

ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART is a novel that illuminates the nuances and truths about relationships and is Jane Green at her absolute best."

I've had the discussion with friends and family before about how hard it is to be a stepmother (or father, no gender discrimination here).  Most people just think that you sit there and get to take it easy while the "real" parent does all the hard work.  You are either slotted into one of two roles, the wicked stepmother or the cool stepmom.  The children either love you or hate you and you don't have to worry about them after they are out of the house.

When I met my husband, his kids were nine and twelve.  They are now sixteen and nineteen.  I love them with all my heart and am completely vested in their journey to becoming fine, young men.  It is not easy being a stepmom.  I have to be a parent with all the responsibilities that entails but I get none of the recognition that I am a real, honest-to-goodness parent.  I'm not saying I want kudos for what I do.  I just want to be acknowledged that what I do is exactly the same as what my kids biological mom and dad do.

Like Andi, I also wanted to have another child.  My husband was a bit more enthusiastic about having another than Ethan from the book is.  I understood exactily why Andi reacted to certain plot points.  Infertility really changes your thought processes.  I get that Andi wants a baby so horribly that things most people wouldn't think of seem the natural course of action.

I wish I could say more about how I felt reading this book but it would give away a major storyline.  The relationship dynamic amongst the entire family read very true.  I really enjoyed that Green showed how Andi could feel immense love and resentment towards Emily.  I think any parent, biological and step, can feel that way to a particularly difficult child.

This book is definitely not fluffy chick lit.  It has grit.  It's a story that centers around one family that could be anyone's family.  Green tells the story about the evolving relationships between parents and children and between spouses.  I really enjoyed reading it since I found it partially mirrored my own experience.  I would definitely reccoment this to stepmothers, stepdaughters, mothers of teenage daughters and anyone who like chick-lit but wants a change from the romantic end of that genre.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Necklace I Would Actually Wear

I hate having things around my neck.  Collars, jewelry, scarves, anything that makes me feel choked.   Actually, I don't like anything around my neck because it makes my head feel hot.  I have no idea why this happens but I'm weird like that. 

However, I was browsing on Pinterest today and found this little lovely that just may make me think feeling overheated would be worth it.

I just may order it for myself.  You can buy it here.

Happy weekend everyone.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Title: Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
Author: Mary Roach
Published: 2013, W.W. Norton & Company
Genre: Nonfiction, Medical, Science, Humor
Source: Library
From Goodreads:
"America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour of our insides. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions inspired by our insides are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find names for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? We meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks—or has the courage—to ask. And we go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a bacteria transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies."

I love the human body.  I find it completely fascinating.   I've never told anyone this but my favorite field trip in school was to go to UW-Madison to watch a surgery and visit their cadaver lab for my anatomy/physiology class. When I heard Mary Roach talking about Gulp on an NPR program, I knew I had to get this book.

My husband has two teenage boys.  I grew up with five brothers.  I am very aware of the nasty parts of digestion.  In fact, a favorite action my brothers took was walking up to someone, farting, then running away.  My son always seems to let one rip about one block before our house when driving home.  I have heard the question "Do you like seafood?" and looked upon nasty masticated "see food" way too many times to count.  I love to listen to my gut sounds and wish I had a stethoscope so I could hear them better.

Gulp was interesting.  I enjoyed the chapters that talked about professional smellers, the difference between competitive eaters and the average person, and  why pet food flavors don't appeal to humans.  I skipped over Chapter Four completely because it failed to interest me.  It was about a man with a hole in his stomach.  Despite the somewhat disgusting subject matter, Roach manages to write about food's bodily journey in a way that seems like she's chatting about it over coffee.

The last third of the book does focus on the lower end of the alimentary canal.  I learned how successful drug smugglers get their payload into the country.  Elvis really did die on the toilet and one chapter explains how that can happen.  The noxious gases our body produces cover a whole chapter.  Have you ever wondered if you could light your farts on fire?  And of course, she covers fecal transplants in the last chapter.  I had read about this before but it was in a clinical journal but Roach brought it down to the layman's level and surprisingly didn't make it seem that weird.

I really enjoyed this book despite the one or two chapters that failed to spark an interest.  I don't think I would buy it but Gulp is definitely worth a trip to the library.  I enjoyed it so much that I definitely need to check out Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers.  Mostly because I am completely morbid and am fascinated with death.