NPR has a great new series called "Three Books ..." where they invite writers to recommend “three great reads on a single theme”. I'm fairly certain NPR has no idea who I am, let alone wants to invite me to comment on their series. But that doesn’t stop me from commenting here. So I present my first in a series of triplet recommendations, and heartily invite you to join me by leaving a comment with a link to your post. It’s time for 3 Books....
Last winter I found myself unwittingly addicted to Memoirs of Poignantly-Dysfunctional-Yet-Hopeful-and-Sometimes-Humorous Families. I love fiction and typically loathe (read: rarely start and never finish) its didactic shelf-mate, non-fiction. So it came as a complete shocker that I was not only reading but LOVING these three memoirs (largely, I think, because they read like fiction, but ultimately, I concede, because they are TRUE STORIES).
My addiction started with A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel. Began as a series of personal essays, Zippy ultimately paints a wonderful picture of small-town life and real-time love in a family that would NEVER make the glossy pages of Family Circle. It is at times laugh-out-loud hilarious, but also poignantly honest and insightful.
After that I got hooked on The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. It had me as soon as I read this sentence: "I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster." An amazing story of benign neglect and tragic circumstances that is surprisingly not depressing. The kids triumph under the bleakest conditions, and never doubt their parents’ love, despite their failed intentions.
And finally, the sequel to Zippy: She Got Up Off The Couch, where Zippy’s mom stops watching t.v. and eating pork-rinds, conquers depression, goes to college, and as a result becomes a heroic non-victim of her own tragic marriage.
The world needs more stories like this – True accounts of everyday heroes fighting personal demons with daily decisions...and coming out on top.