Tag: Memoir

The Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender

Author: Ruth Minsky Sender
Published: August 1, 1997
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 23- July 2, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

After Mama is taken away by the Nazis, Riva and her younger brothers cling to their mother’s brave words to help them endure life in the Lodz ghetto. Then the family is rounded up, deported to Auschwitz, and separated. Now Riva is alone.

At Auschwitz, and later in the work camps at Mittlesteine and Grafenort, Riva vows to live, and to hope – for Mama, for her brothers, for the millions of other victims of the nightmare of the Holocaust. And through determination and courage, and unexpected small acts of kindness, she does live – to write the unforgettable memoir that is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Jessica’s Review:

As long as there is life, there is hope”.

This is a powerful memoir of the author’s experience in WWII and the concentration camps, including Auschwitz.  Riva loses her mother in a raid and begins to raise her younger brothers. They face many unbelievable hardships and you wonder how much more they must go through.  Will they all survive? There are also some unexpected kindnesses by  some Nazi captors. At times it is hard to believe that this is a memoir. We humans can be so inhumane to each other for no reason.

This is written for the younger audience and would be appropriate for at least ages 12 and up.  I listened to the Scholastic audiobook which is meant to be listened to as you read the book. There is a ‘narrator’ to help with understanding the novel. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Member of the Family

Member of the Family: My Story of Charles Manson, Life Inside his Cult, and the Darkness that Ended the Sixties
Author: Dianne Lake
Published: October 14, 2017
Audible

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

In this poignant and disturbing memoir of lost innocence, coercion, survival, and healing, Dianne Lake chronicles her years with Charles Manson, revealing for the first time how she became the youngest member of his Family and offering new insights into one of the twentieth century’s most notorious criminals and life as one of his “girls”

At age fourteen Dianne Lake—with little more than a note in her pocket from her hippie parents granting her permission to leave them—became one of “Charlie’s girls,” a devoted acolyte of cult leader Charles Manson. Over the course of two years, the impressionable teenager endured manipulation, psychological control, and physical abuse as the harsh realities and looming darkness of Charles Manson’s true nature revealed itself. From Spahn ranch and the group acid trips, to the Beatles’ White Album and Manson’s dangerous messiah-complex, Dianne tells the riveting story of the group’s descent into madness as she lived it.

Though she never participated in any of the group’s gruesome crimes and was purposely insulated from them, Dianne was arrested with the rest of the Manson Family, and eventually learned enough to join the prosecution’s case against them. With the help of good Samaritans, including the cop who first arrested her and later adopted her, the courageous young woman eventually found redemption and grew up to lead an ordinary life.

While much has been written about Charles Manson, this riveting account from an actual Family member is a chilling portrait that recreates in vivid detail one of the most horrifying and fascinating chapters in modern American history.

Kim’s Review:

I think this might be the end of my true crime obsession for a little while. People really are horrible and stupid. Ok, let me go back to the beginning. I decided to listen to this audiobook narrated by Dianne Lake herself. I have read Helter Skelter several times and I wanted to learn more about the family itself and the people in it. This book gave great info in a far more personal way. It’s easy to look in from the outside and criticize and judge, but when you get a glimpse of the realities, that definitely changes.

It’s also an interesting view into hippy culture. The 60s were a very different time and the things that people got away with then would seriously ruin their lives if they tried it today. Who lets their 14 year old daughter just up and go to a completely different city with someone she just met?? I mean Lake’s parents literally pushed her at Charlie Manson even though they knew something was off about him. I put my head down on the steering wheel and just tried to breathe out my frustration. I also learned a lot more about Charlie and his manipulative ways. Of course those girls followed him and loved him unconditionally. He gave them what no one else in the world did, love and acceptance. And he played them like a Hawaiian on a ukulele! I could go on and on about this book, but I’ll just encourage everyone to read it! Very informative and disturbing!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK **The UK version is titled slightly different: Member of the Family: Manson, Murder, and Me**

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As You Wish by Cary Elwes

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

Author: Cary Elwes
Published: October 14, 2014
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 8-13, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

Jessica’s Review:

As You Wish is Cary Elwes’ memoir of the making of the movie The Princess Bride. If you are a fan of the film in even the smallest way, you must read this memoir! I listened to the audio version which is narrated by Elwes himself.  As an added bonus, all of the actors that are still with us also give insight and their voices to the narration.  It was wonderful to hear them talking about a film they enjoyed making and that so many love. We even hear from the author/ screenplay writer William Goldman who thought The Princess Bride would never be brought to the big screen. He also ruined some of the first takes of the film with his praying being picked up by the sound crew! 

There was so much I did not know about the making of the film and I really enjoyed this audiobook. Listening to it put me in the mood to watch the film and I did even before I finished listening to it!  It is such a great film that so many people love and it covers so many genres of film! It did not fit in anywhere, which was part of the problem with getting the film made and promoted.

Hearing the fond remembrances everyone had of Andre the Giant, who is genuinely missed by all was lovely. Everyone adored Robin Wright as Buttercup and only Elwes could have played Westley. There are so many behind the scene stories I could share, but I won’t: Just be on the lookout for Elwes sharing his on-set and off-set injuries, which you can see when watching the film if you know where to look. And there is quite the story dealing with a ROUS being late to filming….

The Princess Bride is a film that has touched several generations and as it continues to age,it will be timeless (except for that opening scene with the video game)  and it will always speak to its audience.

I can’t recommend this audiobook high enough for any fan of The Princess Bride. Please listen to it or read it! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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