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If you are like me, you will feel very lucky if you decide to listen to this fine book and performance.With its refreshing lack of cynicism and the wonderful story of the lucky life of a man who has been well known to children, parents, ... pretty much every American.To me, Dick Van Dyke is both "Bert" from Mary Poppins and the great, loving Dad in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Of course I saw his iconic television shows often as a child and later as a young adult. But in both Mary Poppins and Chitty, Van Dyke story is an important part of my own reality at that time.His courageous "family-friendly" decisions about the parts and films he would perform are similar to the decisions that my father and uncle made for the same reasons during the same timeline (60s and onward). I well remember being embarrassed at school where I was teased because my Dad made kid's films. My friends' parents made "grown up" movies, while like Van Dyke, mine only did "kid's stuff." I find in hindsight, now as a mother with three kids and three step-kids, that my embarrassment was very misplaced and Van Dyke's decision to be a "family movie" actor, like the Sherman Brothers' decisions, were courageous (My father is one of the Sherman Brothers who Walt Disney introduced Dick Van Dyke to my Father and Uncle as the culmination of his initial introduction to the movie-in-progress to hear many of the Mary Poppins songs. This meeting and Dick's reaction to the whole project, especially the music, is beautifully described in My Lucky Life's Chapter called A Jolly Holiday. I was a pre-teen during that time. My Dad, Robert, the brother than Dick describes as the "quiet" one and Van Dyke were friendly.) Like Van Dyke, my father wasn't into the party scene, and as I listened to this autobiography, I found myself learning why these two naturally imaginative but not perfect men, both incredible creatives, were friends. I was often on the Disney lot during the filming of Mary Poppins as I was a professional singer from age 5 - 18.
I found that the author's description of Walt Disney was very similar to the way that I understood him. I was lucky enough to see Disney, Van Dyke and other actors, directors, animators, and more at work together.On my breaks from singing, I would visit my Dad and Uncle whose office was three doors down from Walt's in the old Animation Building.
Watching the intensive and interactive type of creativity that was pervasive on the Disney lot until Walt passed away taught me how to believe in myself as a creative person and also as a manager of creative people doing creative work, no matter the topic or
The book is read by Dick Van Dyke, which is an essential aspect of the book's excellence.His friendly, casual writing is augmented by his friendly, casual vocal work, combined with his perfect timing makes listening to this book a delight. He is not trying to be funny, and it is not a joke book. It covers serious subjects with a lightness. I tend to think that some of it is understated, or perhaps remembered more kindly than it was at the time, but that is part of the charm of the book and it's author.
This is an ideal "first read" because for most of us, Van Dyke is a "known quantity" and someone with whom we are comfortable. If Van Dyke is "in touch" with the threads and stories of his life as much as it seems in this book, he is blessed.
I think that this is the case, that Van Dyke is indeed lucky and also blessed.It also seems that he is aware of this. His story allows us into his life, his decisions and the lucky breaks that have made his life a lucky one. In my opinion, the author understates the problems he has had and the solutions which he has chosen. Audiences may feel that the "family G-rated observations" of experiences like substance abuse does bring down the reality of his telling a few points.
But how could he really help but to be Lucky? He was (and IS for each generation of children whose parents show them the Mary Poppins video or on line) a Chimney Sweep, and as we all well know "a sweep is as luck as lucky can be."
Exploring an extended family of characters as different as the US can offer, exploring good home, dysfunctional homes with broken parents, prison morals, the effects of alcoholism on the structure of friendship, family and children, and more from the perspective of living a moral life, doing the "right" thing, Jodi Picolt once again looks at current issues in a kaleidoscope of people and situations. Her characters each ask themselves and each other many questions: What is Right? Wrong? Does truth exist or exist within situations?Their interwoven lives and the decisions they make, as well as the ones we must guess at, help us to look within at our own responses, to find our own questions and perhaps even answers.
The plot presents the Reader with moral dilemmas without answering them, but it does give us clues that push our thinking into unexpected and new directions.
Following the emotional earthquake that shakes the lives of Delia, Eric, Andrew and other characters, the Reader is asked, as are the characters, to think about how truly different from prisoners, from alcoholics, from anyone ... and the answers don't fit together easily, they are not "black and white."
Picolt is a master at developing full, believable characters and she does anything but disappoint in this book. Her novel is exceptional, even for this modern master. Three dimensional characters are put into moral dilemmas that are unenviable, but very real. We are shown (and often given just enough information so that we can be left to surmise) the way these people "present themselves" to the outside world and their inner thoughts and self-esteem, weaknesses, the places where they "tore" and either healed or did not in the past, and the places they find that they are weak and strong in their present life. They ask human questions -- what is right? What is right in this situation? What must we do to survive? When and where must we change our moral code to survive and is that OK? What is our bottom line and whom do we trust? Are "broken" people able to mend? Is affection/love more important than ethics or the other way around or must both work, can both work? When are lies acceptable or are they ever "worth it"? If lies eventually cause pain, but in the short run. they protect people we love, then are they bad/wrong or right/good? What is abuse? What constitutes betrayal? What constitutes love? Is it mostly selfish? Where do we cross the line -- betraying our souls for our own survival? Or that of a friend, our child, our mate? What is the bottom line behavior that we cannot accept from our friends, our loved ones, our parents?
This is a novel that Readers will find themselves thinking about for a long time. This is a book that will affect people's judgements, self-concepts and situational realities. It will help Reader's to ask the hard questions at the most difficult times. That is more than this avid reader can say for many nonfiction books. Picolt once again works with fiction to help us explore our own experiences and intelligences. Engaging the Reader's mind and heart in this way is an accomplishment worth gold, uncommon in any genre.
In My Dreams by Allen hooked me -- I'm officially an addict now. This book isn't the most profound I have listened to, but it is among the sweetest and most thoughtful. Some people need books to be exciting roller coasters, and sometimes that includes me. But sometimes I need to have a book that has heroes or heroines who are loyal, brave, loving, considerate... and where even in adversity, things work out in the end.
This is one of these books. After reading this book, I bought all of the other books by Allen. Read them all. It was good and I hope there will be more!
They can all come on over for supper! Addison has a way of finding the different within the ordinary person. We all are a bit different, we all have secrets, small or large, that change us and make us look more deeply at our life purpose.
I certainly was intriqued by the topic, title, etc. The wording was wonderful, images clear. Roslyn is my all time favorite reader.
I was impatient and bored some. I didn't finish the book. Unusual for me (I listen to 2-3 books/week)
I really loved getting more into the mindset and historical background of Virginia.
Diane Keaton's voice is clear and honest. She shares her life with us, and some of her mother's life too. The search for self in a mother's life is a common experience for many women, and Keaton shares this search with us. However, at least in this audiobook, it was difficult to follow and in some ways, more of a personal exploration than it was of interest to the listener. The connection of her mother's diary entries to the story line seemed blurry at times. It seems like a great potential that wasn't well utilized.
Of course, in an autobiography, Diane Keaton is the best character, and she is very interesting. The real Annie Hall, an icon for that time and season, is found in Keaton's writing about herself, her life, her family. The character is much more like the actress than we might have guessed.
Keaton's story is definitely interesting. The convention of her mother's life through her diaries could have been better utilized. Keaton allows us into her life with generosity. All in all, it is a worthy read about an interesting actress.
Sherryl Woods, the author, has better books than this one, in my opinion. She is a fun, good writer and I've read a number of her novels. This book is slow to start, more difficult than many of her other works for me to get through.
Nonetheless, it is a book worth reading, complete with well defined characters and a good plot, a very good performance, too.
I love the "series" concepts. I suppose it is something like sequential episodes of a television drama... but I often feel almost lonely when I finish a really good book, so it is great to find authors who are willing to create a whole community and introduce them to us over many hours of listening.
I recommend this book, but you need to stick it out a bit, only a bit though, and you'll get into the book and really enjoy the gentle woven material made of characters, plot and performance...
I really like Wood's organization where she highlights and focuses on characters we meet throughout the series that move the entire "saga" forward nicely. It is a good way to present the varied lives and the many sides of a place and time.
Morals and Ethics. What is right, what is wrong? Who decides?
This novel explores in the way that Picoult is famous for issues that we need to think about as our society out races our legal system. Who decides what is right for us? Is the decision of the parents faced with a pain-laced daughter who needs help, and the only answer they can figure out forces initially the parents but also their children to make extraordinarily tough choices. And who gets to decide? The legal system, the people most affected, ... who?
This important work presents us with "real" people who are doing the best things that they can, but is that enough? All this and more, plus a great performance.
A definite 5 star book if you are ready to deal with the serious subjects presented.
Great Characters, Creative plot, Issues to Traverse... all done expertly by Steele. It is a fun book to read, what I think is often termed "a good read".
With Points of View from women at different times in their lives, this book allows us to see some distinctly different ways that women deal with the issues of age, men, and self-esteem.
A fun plot, people you want to meet in real life, good writing, good listening... If you are looking for a book to read that isn't going to pull you down, but bring you "up" this novel is a good candidate for you.
I like the way that Weiner writes her interwoven story lines. The basics is that there are four women in four very different situations, who are all dealing with the same general issues. It is refreshing to read about people who reach out and across the gulf of socio-economic status, desires, paths taken and difficulties to really become true friends, people who are THERE for each other however huge or relatively small the issues that they are dealing with. Here are women who could be jealous and bitter, but instead they reach out and are kind, loving and more sisters than the "blood" sister secondary characters introduced so that we could see how profound these four who meet fairly randomly.
Having had twins and a singleton, I know about postpartum depression, the need for support, the exhaustion, the incredible experience of pregnancy, delivery and the first year. and also miscarrage... I had to get through all of this it by myself. it was good to read about women who could really help each other through the transformation that these women had to traverse in order to be of help in the best ways possible. The arc of character development was the thrust of the plot and I like character driven stories very much. If you do, you will enjoy this great read.
OK, so I expect a happy ending when I listen to one of Susan Elizabeth Phillips novels. However, that is just the ticket, sometimes, and I count on Phillips not to leave me unchallenged. You know, the tv drama serials that you KNOW the lead most likely won't be the one left dead at the end... but how the heck she is going to get to that place, well, sometimes, most of the time in Phillips novels, I'm definitely not sure how. The road that is taken in First Lady speaks to women, to our political times, to what is right and what is not, to the challenge of courtship, especially when a "button' of a 6 month old baby girl who changes every day and a smart, caring/too-cool-to-care, need-nothing and needy fiesty-Wynona 7 year old are part of the wacky, unexpected, fun plot. The characters rule in this book, which I know is my favorite. But the plot had great twists and turns, too. All together, a fun, listen straight through book with a happy, deserved ending! Note to author: I am sure that I am not alone when I suggest new books about the new "reign" and how our Heroine and Hero and flock change and grow, plus perhaps later, the futures of the rest of the family if you are taking suggestions!
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