Totally True Tales

Home Is Burning by Dan Marshall is NOT your conventional memoir. Spoilt and fancy-free, Dan is living the easy life when he gets the call that his father has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and his mother, battling cancer herself, can’t care for him alone. Marshall and his siblings thus move home to care for their parents – grudgingly. But this memoir isn’t warm and fuzzy – this novel is filled with raw emotion, tremendously bad language, and more honesty than is ever seen in a memoir. Imminently readable…and heartbreaking.

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes is the memoir from, yes, THAT Shonda (creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and HTGAWM). Though I was expecting a memoir about how fabulous she is (natch!), this is instead an honest account of her struggles with her weight, with caring for her family, with relationships, and with her fear of being seen in the public eye, to the point of refusing all invites. So, she decides to change things in “the year of yes”. I really connected with this memoir, and really enjoyed it more than I thought. Recommended!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot has been on EVERY “must read” list since it was published in 2011 – and I finally got around to it. And honestly? Not sure what all the hype is about. While the premise is interesting (cells taking from Henrietta in the 1950s are still alive today, and used for research purposes), the telling of it, and the characterization of her family is just…rough.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks is one of those “Oh, I should read that…” works for me, but when Sacks passed away a few months ago, I bumped it to the top of my list. Fascinating stories of his adventures in neurology, Sacks is both approachable and interesting, while this reader never forgot just how out of her league his brain was!

Even though it’s fictional, it’s BASED on true events, so….I also just read The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory. This time, Gregory turns her attention to Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife, Kateryn Parr. Another great historical retelling from King Henry’s court!

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