Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Review: You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried

You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried

You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried
By Susannah Gora
(Three Rivers Press, Paperback, 9780307716606, 384pp, Feb 2011)

The Short of It:

If you watch Sixteen Candles EVERY time it’s on, or if you’ve ever wished Duckie Dale ended up with Andie at the end of Pretty In Pink, then this is the book for you.

The Rest Of It:

I love this book. I bought it over a year ago for my Kindle and allowed myself to read tiny bits of it between basketball practice, tennis lessons and doctor’s appointments. It provided me with a year’s worth of joy. What IS it about the 80’s anyway? Is that decade particularly special, or is it just special to me because those were  my high school years? I wonder sometimes.

Gora covers all the movies of that time…the Brat Pack films that include Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, just to name a few. With interviews of the key players and inside scoops on casting…You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried is basically a touching collection of memories. These young actors grew up to depict the characters of our youth, yet the issues they dealt with were authentic and often issues that they were struggling with in real life. The struggle for acceptance, the awkwardness, the angst… it’s all here.

What I especially love about this book is that Gora gives you all the behind-the-scenes info on casting, who was seeing who, how the directors and producers influenced these actors on a daily basis, etc. Just the bits on casting alone were fascinating. There was so much going on with these actors that it’s hard to imagine that the movies were ever made!

After each chapter, I found myself pulling out all of my DVDs and loading up my iPod with songs of that time. I just can’t say enough about the book. If you loved the 80’s, you simply have to read it. I will leave you with one of my favorite clips from Pretty in Pink. Click here to view it.

Source: Purchased

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Review: Pit Stops

Pit Stops Book Cover

Pit Stops: Crossing the Country w/Loren the Rescue Bully
By Michelle Sathe
Say The Words Press

The Short of It:

Pit Stops is the kind of cozy read that you can curl-up with. There’s some sadness yes, but ultimately a lot of hope and stories guaranteed to warm your heart.

The Rest of It:

Sathe is a journalist for my town’s local paper. When she hit the big 4-0, she decided to head out on a road trip across the country to help promote animal rescue, specifically for the “bully” breeds that tend to get a lot of bad press. To do this, she had to pick the perfect companion for the trip. That lucky girl was Loren, a homeless pit bull/staffordshire/bulldog mix who was living at The Brittany Foundation, a rescue sanctuary very close to my home. Sathe, also a volunteer and board member for the foundation, was hoping that at the end of the trip, Loren would find her forever home.

As short as this book is, it packs quite a punch. As Sathe visits with animal rescues across the country, she encounters folks from all walks of life who volunteer their time to help animals in need. As she spends time with Loren, she see first hand how people react to bully breeds. Even though Loren is an absolute love, people are often hesitant to come up to her unless they are familiar with the breed or have big dogs of their own. In addition to this reaction, some towns have legislation in place that prevents the adoption of such breeds. What this means is that many of the animals are destroyed because agencies are not able to adopt them out.

As Sathe treks across the country, she continually asks herself why some dogs find homes when others do not. What makes a family go for one dog over another? And why is it that when some dogs find homes, they just don’t work out in the long run? As frustrating as it was for Sathe to address this in the book, I have to say that it comes down to confidence. A potential owner has to have the confidence to handle a particular dog. Sometimes, this is a learning process and some are more willing to give into that gray area (where they admit that they have no confidence) in order to gain the knowledge needed to care for a particular breed, and others simply cave to their lack of confidence and end up bringing the animal back.

Having had an adoption experience that did not go well, many years ago, I can honestly say that I’ve been that person. The person that completely loses confidence and suddenly realizes that she’s completely out of her league. It’s a very humbling and life-changing experience to think that in all manners of life, you are quite successful yet you cannot care for a dog who wants nothing more than to be with you. Now, I am not the type of person to give up easily and I refused to take the dog back so we went forward with training only for the poor thing to have a heart attack at the vet. Needless to say, he didn’t make it, but we learned so much from that experience. Now, several years later we decided to rescue a puppy from the shelter and it’s been a completely different experience. Not perfect, but everyone in the family is confident this time around which I feel really makes a difference.

No matter where you stand on “bully” breeds, Pit Stops will appeal to many readers. Sathe is a foodie, so all of her stops center around must-visit restaurants and let me tell you, the food is to-die for! She had me drooling more than once. The moments she shares with Loren are truly special because Loren is such a character. A loyal companion but a bit of a comedian, too. Although, I do not know the author personally, I sure feel as if I do after reading the book. Oh, and I’ll forgive her for saying that “Safety Dance” is the stupidest 80’s song ever made. How can she not love Men Without Hats?? She obviously did not dress-up in a black trench coat and rock the Mod look during that time. Ha!

Humor aside, I encourage you to check out Sathe’s website. There, you can purchase a copy of the book, see photos of the meals she enjoyed, visit her blog and read more about Michelle and Loren.

Although I ended up not adopting from The Brittany Foundation, a few of the folks there went out of their way to answer my questions. If you have it in your heart to make a donation, please visit their website here.

Source: Given to me by a friend, via the author.