Tag: Nonfiction

Audiobook Review: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Author: Matthew McConaughey

Narrator: Matthew McConaughey
Published: October 20, 2020
Audiobook: 6 hours 42 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To:  June 21-23, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Audiobook Description:

From the Academy Award®–winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.

I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.

Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”

So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.

Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.

It’s a love letter. To life.

It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights – and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.

Good luck.

Jessica’s Review:

This is a memoir to enjoy! Greenlight!

I have always been a Matthew McConaughey fan and have been meaning to read this one forever! And I went with the audiobook and it gets a perfect 5 stars from me! Greenlight!

McConaughey tells us his life story up to his first 50 years of life, and for the audiobook he tells it himself.  And it wasn’t just him reading the book he wrote, listening to it  was an experience! He tells his story with such expression and puts everything into his narration, I don’t think I could have possibly enjoyed this memoir any more than I did! Greenlight!

McConaughey seems totally down to earth and tells his story where you feel that you get to know him as a person. Everything before, during, and after Hollywood! And things you think you know (aka the bongo drum incident) we actually learn even more about. 

Did you know that McConaughey was an exchange student to Australia?  I didn’t and he definitely had an interesting experience! He tells us about his childhood and he also traveled through Europe on a motorcycle with a few other actors, and he even floated down the Amazon.

McConaughey seems like a down to earth man and did you know all he ever wanted in life was to be a father?  We even get a part of the man’s spirituality.

We get his career in Hollywood, and I forgot he was in Angels in the Outfield!  We get his start with Dazed and Confused I was most interested in his time working on A Time to Kill, and why he doesn’t do rom coms anymore. I learned about a few of his films I did not know about but now want to see: Mud and Dallas Buyers Club. We see him meet his future wife and mother of his three children. Greenlight!

If you are a Matthew McConaughey fan you must read this book! I would say listen to it to hear the literal words come out of his mouth himself.  This is the kind of memoir I love, one where you feel that you really get to know the person.  The last memoir I listened to and felt that way was Jessica Simpson’s memoir Open Book.  If you are looking for any dirt and gossip you will be disappointed. He didn’t kiss and tell on relationships other than his wife.  Listening to this memoir I really feel like I got to know the man, yet he also kept some things private.   Greenlight!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: Pageboy by Elliot Page

Pageboy: A Memoir
Author: Elliot Page

Narrator: Elliot Page
Published: June 6, 2023
Audiobook: 8 hours 24 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 6-9, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Pageboy is a groundbreaking coming-of-age memoir from the Academy Award-nominated actor Elliot Page. A generation-defining actor and one of the most famous trans advocates of our time, Elliot will now be known as an uncommon literary talent, as he shares never-before-heard details and intimate interrogations on gender, love, mental health, relationships, and Hollywood.

Jessica’s Review:

Memoirs are a hard thing to rate and review.  It is someone’s life and they are telling their story in their way. And with Pageboy Elliot Page tells his story.  I just didn’t really feel I learned much listening to him actually tell his story. And he does actually tell his story to the listener as he is the narrator for the audiobook. 

The memoir is nonlinear so we are going back and forth through time throughout.  It was at times a bit confusing and didn’t really seem to go where it was meaning to.  Page does show how child actors are treated in Hollywood and it really isn’t something that kids should go through.  Page even had a stalker at a young age. When he talked about that it was scary to hear, as it was early in the internet days where this stalker came from. And the things this stalker said to a young person are just scary!

Most of the memoir dealt with Page being a closeted lesbian to the public, but those in Hollywood knew.  Page came out in 2014 as a lesbian with a speech that Ellen at the time made.  Page does a lot of ‘kissing and telling’ with intimate details with many partners but there are two actresses that he names. I would assume he got permission to tell those tales/names.  One relationship was mentioned more in depth. It also seems like Page may love the idea of being in love with all the details he shares over all the many ‘relationships’ he had. 

Page makes it clear early on in life he knew that he was not a girl but a boy and dressing in ‘girl clothes’ didn’t work for him. That even went into acting jobs in Hollywood that he had.  Page knew he was different from others when he was younger.  Several times he asks others if they think he is trans when he was still Ellen.  Maybe he was looking for support and acceptance from others.

We also see the bigotry and more that Page experienced before and after he was out as Ellen and a lesbian.  We see the anger that Page had with his reactions to those which could make those situations worse.  

There are some stories that Page starts that really don’t get finished and the last part of the memoir dealt with his top surgery. I was wanting to hear more of his transformation process, but it was just skimmed over.  It just seemed like he was telling a lot of different stories that he may or may not have finished. He didn’t really seem to know where he was going with this memoir.

I do applaud Page for telling his story in the way he wanted even if it was not really for me. But I am also not the targeted demographic for this memoir being a heterosexual CIS female. I am sure there are those who are closer to the target demographic that will fully enjoy the memoir. Page was brave by coming out not once, but twice in his still young life and I hope he continues to be an example to others and increase awareness in the LGBTQ community.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK



Middle Grades Book Review: Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring by Enigma Alberti

Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring
: Spy on History #2
Enigma Alberti
Tony Cliff

Published: April 2, 2019
96 Pages

Reviewed By: Cristina

Book Description:

Your Mission: Find Mary’s secret diary using spycraft stools to uncover hidden codes!

It’s a true story of bravery: Mary Bowser was an African American spy for the Union who worked as a maid in the mansion of Confederate Jefferson Davis. From hair-raising close calls when she almost gets caught to how she uses her photographic memory to “steal” top secret documents. Mary’s story reads like a gripping novel.

It’s a mystery to solve: There are clues embedded in the story’s text and illustrations, and Spycraft materials—including a replica Civil War cipher wheel—come in an envelope at the beginning of the book. Use both to discover what happened to Mary Bowser’s secret diary.

Cristina’s Review:

What would you do if you had the opportunity to be a spy where it would really matter? Your skills: a photographic memory, ability to read, and blending into the background. If you succeed, your people have a chance at freedom. If you fail, you’ll be hung. Are you in?

This book is a historical fiction with a fun interactive spy riddle to solve as well. A reader can just enjoy the story, or they can try to solve the case that’s embedded in the real story. Mary Bowser was a real person. She was a free African-American, but went undercover as a maid in Jefferson Davis’s mansion to spy for the Union. Because no person of color was expected to be able to read at that time in the South, Mary was able to read many valuable documents in Davis’s office while she dusted or polished lamps. She had to pretend to be illiterate and a little slow to avoid suspicion. It was a job filled with danger, but Mary proved to be invaluable to the Union. She was able to get critical information to the Union army and it helped save lives and win battles.

This book is written in a very engaging style. Lots of action, a few narrow misses that have you holding your breath, and insights into what the Civil War was like for the non-soldiers who still wanted to help fight for freedom and the Union. The interactive riddle–a search for Mary’s secret diary–is engaging as well. There is help at the back of the book if the reader gets too frustrated, but it’s fun to try and find the diary without any assistance. Spy on History is a series, so if historical fiction sounds appealing, come to the library to choose your spy adventure!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK