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Bios & Memoirs > Personal Memoirs

Personal Memoirs

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Melinda

Melinda UT Member Since 2009

So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

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  • "A Little Prickly--But Yummy"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The trick to reading this very good book and not having a possible negative reaction (which is obvious in the varying reviews) is to refrain from judgements of the author, if possible, and just be enveloped in the story. Because, if you can avoid being infected by the candid and bitter details of a disappointing marriage--(the kind of inner and not so flattering feelings one usually shares only with their oath-sworn-to-patient-privacy shrink)--you will experience sensuous settings in far off places, refine your inner gastronome with exotic foods you've never heard of before, and almost taste "that lamb" as it sizzles over the rosemary scented fire. It really is a lovely epicurean trip that makes me want to lick my fingers as I recall some of the fare, and I could spend a day just conjouring up images of that castle/farmhouse, the meadows, orchards, and streams, the French ballet dancer mother with her omnipresent apron, the artistic bohemian father, the Italian villa, Rome by night--all the perfect ingredients.

    The personal details are inarguably prickly; I found them uncomfortable yet brave admissions that lend authenticity to the story of this very authentic person. Coming from Hell's Kitchen tyrant Gordon Ramsay, or bad-ass Anthony Bourdain, the snarkyness would probably be expected and overlooked, like a mint leaf on mousse.Hamilton writes like she cooks and like she lives: committed, authentic, undiluted, without pretense...and that takes bravery--the kind of bravery one would expect from a young girl that can set off with a back pack and a little over $1,000 on a solo trip around the world. My opinion is that her narration lends a bit of personal revelation, which adds to the story. Glad I got around to this one.

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    Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Gabrielle Hamilton
    • Narrated By Gabrielle Hamilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (646)
    Performance
    (421)
    Story
    (424)

    Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty fierce, hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Above all she sought family, particularly the thrill and the magnificence of the one from her childhood that, in her adult years, eluded her. Hamilton’s ease and comfort in a kitchen were instilled in her at an early age when her parents hosted grand parties, often for more than one hundred friends and neighbors.

    Melinda says: "A Little Prickly--But Yummy"
  • "Defining Strength, Faith, and Inspi..."

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    Dubbed *one of the kidnapping crimes of the century,* the abduction of 14 yr. old Elizabeth Smart from her family home, dominated the news on June 5, 2002. When 9 months later we heard the amazing report that she had been found, we rejoiced...then we pondered the nightmare. Where had she been? What had she gone through? How did she survive? Would she be okay? With this book, and the assistance of Congressman/author Chris Stewart, Smart goes back over her ordeal, and in her own words answers those questions with brave candor and purpose. A story horrific enough that Stewart said he wondered how, after he listened to the details, he would be able to "make it so that people would read it and walk away with more faith, hope and belief in the goodness in life," as Smart intended. And that is exactly what we do walk away with...plus admiration for this incredible woman.

    Smart called her ordeal "nine months of hell," but never even hints at self-pity, or fishes for ours. We learn that she endured an almost daily menu of torture, including daily sexual abuse by the depraved Brian David Mitchell -- aka the self proclaimed prophet Emmanuelle. There are no new titillating facts revealed -- it is about the events as she experienced them. Smart and her family have courageously insisted on presenting the facts, but have consistently refused to discuss in the media details of the abuse. She continues to keep the story focused on the crime, free of salacious details, and true to the perspective of a 14 year old innocent and very scared girl. Hearing her narrate her own story makes this all the more poignant. It is heartbreaking to hear her voice tell of the near rescues as they crumbled...looking through her veil at a young boy and wondering how her first date would have gone. And then, with the voice of an indomitable spirit, she makes a brilliant case for Mitchell's and Barzee's competency, that ultimately destroyed their plot to be found legally mentally incompetent to stand trial for their crimes.

    Through all of this darkness, with the exception of sharing a few deservedly low moments, she amazingly keeps a tone of hope, and her light shining. Drawing on her Mormon upbringing, and faith that God had not abandoned her, Elizabeth refused to be beaten or broken, refused to be a victim. Her survival, her appreciation for each day of life, her love for her family, and her dedication to those suffering from similar experiences (the Elizabeth Smart Foundation) is remarkable, and one of the most inspiring stories I've read. Listening to this book changed the way I look at my own challenges. At the end, Lois Smart tenderly, but with force, gives her daughter the most beautiful and empowering advice -- words that only a mother could offer. Through all else, that is what finally brought me to tears.






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    My Story

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Smart, Chris Stewart
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Smart
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (535)
    Performance
    (488)
    Story
    (492)

    On June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.

    Erin says: "Uplifting?"
  1. Blood, Bones & Butter: Th...
  2. My Story
  3. .

G. House Sr.

G. House Sr. Sherborn, MA, United States 10-09-13 Member Since 2012

I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.

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  • "Absolutely chilling; stops a parent..."

    22 of 27 helpful votes

    Smart narrates her account of abduction and rape. As a parent you are terrified at every turn, for her to deal with such evil is beyond words. She tells the story in detail, no sugar coating, no hesitations. I give this book a big thumbs up. I just cannot bring myself to write more comments because they would only detract from her telling! Must listen!

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    My Story

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Smart, Chris Stewart
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Smart
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (535)
    Performance
    (488)
    Story
    (492)

    On June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.

    Erin says: "Uplifting?"

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    In this macabre and moving compilation, funeral directors across the country share their most embarrassing, jaw-dropping, irreverent, and deeply poignant stories about life at death's door. Discover what scares them and what moves them to tears. Learn about rookie mistakes and why death sometimes calls for duct tape. Enjoy tales of the dearly departed spending eternity naked from the waist down and getting bottled and corked - in a wine bottle.

  • The Road South (






UNABRIDGED) by Shelly Stewart Narrated by Dion Graham

    The Road South

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Shelly Stewart
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
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    A spirited and striking memoir, The Road South tells the story of a man who struggled to make his place in society. "I hope my story will do nothing if not inspire. If I can overcome the hurdles of poverty, abuse, and racism, then so can anyone." Shelley Stewart's memoir is full of hope and promise, even in the midst of the most dire situations.

  • Letters from a Lost Generation: A BBC Radio Reading (






UNABRIDGED) by Mark Bostridge, Alan Bishop Narrated by Amanda Root, Jonathan Firth, Full Cast

    Letters from a Lost Generation: A BBC Radio Reading

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Mark Bostridge, Alan Bishop
    • Narrated By Amanda Root, Jonathan Firth, Full Cast
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    "If war spares me," wrote Vera Brittain to her brother, Edward, in 1916, "it will be my one aim to immortalise in a book the story of us four." Seventeen years later, Vera was to achieve her aim with the acclaimed Testament of Youth. This series of letters was the inspiration behind Testament. Written between Vera; her brother; her fiancé, Roland Leighton; and their two best friends, Victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow, they give a unique perspective on the most horrifying conflict the world has ever seen.

  • French Hats in Iran (






UNABRIDGED) by Heydar Radjavi Narrated by Heydar Radjavi

    French Hats in Iran

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Heydar Radjavi
    • Narrated By Heydar Radjavi
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    Heydar Radjavi's evocations of growing up in Tabriz in the 1930s and 1940s describe a traditionalist Iran grappling with modernity, a process as fraught with contradictions and stresses then as it is in Iran today. The tone is always light, the memories wonderfully vivid, and the underlying theme of tension between old and new truly timeless.