Monday, October 26, 2015

A 52-Hertz Whale by Bill Sommer and Natalie Haney Tilghman

     Bill Sommer was selling his book at the Wherehouse this weekend and I HAD to have a copy. It has come highly recommended. And it was everything I expected -- and then some.
     Last night I was up until almost two in the morning. I couldn't put this book down and had to finish it. The format is so very clever. Emails go back and forth between several friends and lovers. It's like you're getting into your own email and you have to see who has written to you -- and what they have to say.
     There wasn't a single soft spot where the plot slowed down or left me wanting. I began to know these people -- could have recognized them if I saw them on the street.
     One of the characters is a documentary film maker. I've been there, know the territory and really could sympathize. And who hasn't been through high school? Enough said, right?
    The development of these characters is brilliant. And the idea of two writers sending their contributions back and forth and building up the suspense -- never have seen anything like it.
    Thank you Bill -- and thank you Natalie. A great read.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Long Road to Wisdom

Book Review: "Learning to eat along the way" by Margaret Bendet

      This is a no holds barred book. Margaret Bendet bared her soul. Turning the pages and staying up late into the night to make sure I read every single sentence, I took part in the struggles and victories she experienced.
      Years ago, when I was one of the feature writers on the Honolulu Star Bulletin she was my editor. There was no way I could have predicted that she would follow a swami and abandon her job. Indeed, there was also no way any of us could know how much pain she was concealing.
Margaret’s honesty can take your breath away. Her ability to express herself with heart stabbing clarity puts the reader in the center of her world. We can see the swamis and hear their wisdom. What’s more, we can feel how much they understood her struggles.
      In addition, there is a thread that weaves itself throughout the fabric of this woman’s life – and is so common in the female experience. Women in our culture are brain washed to believe that their ability to be loved is so dependent on their appearance that many choose to diet themselves to death rather than remain unloved.
       Even worse is that the culture doesn’t value the female child as much as the male. It doesn’t matter whether a female is as bright or as talented as the male – or more so. We may be able to point to slight improvements over the decades since Margaret entered the ashram, but we are made painfully aware that the advances are not nearly what they need to be.
        As we follow this woman’s path to health and self appreciation, we cannot help but cry for all the rest of us who have felt the same pain, but perhaps manifested it in different ways.
       Thank you, Margaret “Peggy” Bendet for caring enough to share so much.