How generous of Tony Hendra to introduce us to his friend and spiritual touchstone, Father Joe, a cloistered Benedictine Monk. Because Tony reads his book, he speaks in two voices, his -- and the voice of Father Joe which he mimics quite well-- there is never any confusion about who is talking. Their first conversation and meeting occurs after the "Teutonic/British" husband of an unhappy French woman drags 14-year-old Tony to the monastery so that Tony can explain why he is having a "torrid" affair with the professor's wife. Torrid for a pubescent teen - he confesses that he has gotten to 2nd base. Rather than condemning the boy to hell, and ordering him to pay penance, Father Joe kindly says: Tell me everything dear-- and gently listens. Over the next forty years, until this saintly man dies, we get to listen in to their interesting conversations, sympathize with Tony as he faces various personal and professional challenges, and then hear Father Joe's counsel. One example: around the age of 16, Tony falls in love with a statue of the Virgin Mary --and sneaks into the library at his school so that he can gaze adoringly at the photo in the art book. He confesses this to Father Joe. His penance? He must go out on a date with a pretty girl. A satirist who moved from England to the U.S., Tony was a top editor for National Lampoon, the precursor for Saturday Night Live. As someone who is a born entertainer and story teller, he decides that he wants to become more than an editor, he wants to become a writer. How lucky we are that he made this decision, and wrote this book for it is truly wonderful. I wish Father Joe was still alive...I would have liked to have meet him in person, though I feel fortunate that I got to meet him through Tony Hendra. Highly recommend --- Even if you do not think of yourself as religious or spiritual. Though religion is an element, love is the substrate. Erudite and witty, Tony conveys a hopeful, positive message. Recommend highl
Written with humor and grace, it is a treat to hear the author, Candace DeLong read her own book in her own voice - one can hear her sensitivity, intelligence and wit. These traits, along with discipline and a high energy level caused her to be a success in her initial career as the head nurse of a psychiatric ward, which in turn prepared her to be one of the first profilers at the FBI. Woven among the entertaining vignettes of rescuing a boy who was victimized by a child molester; capturing Ted Kazinski (the Unabomber), tracking down drug traffickers, infiltrating the mob, capturing a killer, recovering stolen government property -- are the threads of her life as a single parent. One of her responsibilities at the FBI was giving talks on how we can improve our personal security -- the advice in this last chapter alone would justify selecting this book. I could have listened to her much longer - and wish that the book had not been abridged. She has some spirit and some spunk and was probably fun to work with - but she also had discipline and intelligence that caused her to be selected for some of the most challenging and dangerous FBI assignments. An accomplished public speaker, her clear delivery of the book she wrote was a treat to listen to...I highly recommend this book.
R.P. starts the book as a five-year old who observes & participates in the abuse of his oldest brother, David, at the hands of his sadistic, cruel, alcoholic mother. At that young age, he has a sense that he has to abuse or be abused, so he is his mother's "Little Nazi," informing on David for mostly fabricated transgressions. David is the "kick-dog" in the family, made to eat out of a dog bowl, called "It," and abused horrifically. After David is rescued from the household by the authorities, R.P. knows that he is next in line for his mother's abuse. He develops a clearer understanding of David after he has suffered the same abuse David did. On a certain level, this book is a gorgeous apology from R.P. to David. R.P. then provides clear recollections of both the physical & psychological torment/torture he suffered from the age of five to fifteen as a miserable, defenseless child whose major vulnerability was that he wanted his mother to love him. Where were the adults? Neighbors, doctors, nurses, teachers who had helped David & suspected R.P. was being abused did nothing for R.P. His own father did not protect his five sons - David, Ross, Scott, R.P. and Keith, from his sicko wife and he finally left her, abandoning them. After the firstborn, David is rescued, R.P.'s hero -the secondborn Ross- leaves to join the Army. His only friend in the family gone, R.P. documents how the thirdborn, Scott assumes the role of mother's "Little Nazi" in abusing R.P. (Keith was too young to make a difference.)As I cringed in fear, dread and horror, I thought --this is so hard to listen to for 7 hours --how did he manage to survive it for 15+ yrs. An epiphany at the age of 15 provides R.P. with some psychological armor. The book ends. We know that he is moving to Salt Lake City with his mother, Scott and Keith -- we hope that he will survive until he can leave at age 18. It's a dark book that enlightens. Let's all be proactive in protecting children. See something - do something.
As a Vietnam-Era Veteran, I have always had a vague dislike for J.F., but after seeing Monster-In-Law a couple of weeks ago, and seeing/listening to some of her recent TV interviews, I became curious about her. I decided to read her autobiography - went to the public library but all five copies were checked out, so I decided to listen to it with an open mind and heart. I'm glad that I wasn't able to get a book, because I think listening to her was more entertaining -- J.F. tells her story with emotion, humor, insight and intelligence. Because she is a natural mimic, when she relays conversations with Kate Hepburn on the set of "On Golden Pond," she actually sounds like K.H. It's far more enlightening to read an autobiography than a biography because it's more accurate -- and more revealing. J.F. is not a narcissistic, self-involved celebrity; she is an activist who has lived a full-life with courage and passion. Instead of being called Hanoi Jane, she should be called Citizen Jane. The movies she has starred in, like "Nine to Five" reflected her own convictions. She translates her beliefs into action. She went to N. Vietnam to protest the war, and admits that sitting on an anti-aircraft gun was not a political statement - it was a lapse of awareness/consciousness. She became a lightning rod for Vets anger after the war. I still question why she felt it was necessary to make radio broadcasts from N. Vietnam that demoralized American troops, but I no longer believe the false story that she betrayed any POWs (by giving little notes with their Social Security Numbers to their captors). Anti-war activism is one chapter in the productive life of this involved American Citizen. What do the other chapters reveal? Her relationships with her mother, step-mothers, father, brother, children, grandson, husbands, colleagues (on films, on her work-out video, charitable works)and self; her work to become healthy, happy; and make a positive difference in the world.
I have just finished listening to this book; it chronicles her battle of the bulge/path to physical and mental health with the support of a personal trainer (Crusher), psychiatrist (Dr. Nutcase), nutritionist in the Alfafa Zone. Written with humor and pathos, I was pleasantly surprised that the story she conveyed was interesting and varied. Though she starts out focusing on her physical health, she ends up focusing on a personal transformation to self-acceptance and love. She touches on a broad range of life-experiences that shaped how she developed an unhealthy relationship with food: adopted into a family where she was a square peg in a round-hole, being sexually abused as a child, raped at the age of 18...that resulted in self-loathing expressed as bulimia, anorexia, obesity...Though these are tragedies, she somehow finds a way to express herself in a way that is laugh-out-loud funny. As I listened to this book, I laughed, I cried, I cheered her successes. She talks about how her efforts to improve her health and her life affected her relationships with family, friends, men, professional goals -- and details the specific challenges she faced with friends who tried to sabotage her diet, her own self-sabotage, Christmas holidays with her adoptive father and her birth father, people who were unkind, people who were kind. This is an engaging story and I heartily recommend it to all.
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