Don't ask me how I find the time, but I've gone on a bit of a reading binge lately. (Maybe I found the time when I stopped updating my blog - ha ha!) It started with the very touchy-feely gift my husband got me for Valentine's Day: "The Politician" by Andrew Young. Yes, this is the book about John Edwards who is possibly the biggest jerk on the planet. Chris thought he did well getting this book for me since I had commented when it came out that I would REALLY like to read it. Well, that's true, but I still thought it was a bit of an odd Valentine's Day gift. After thinking about it, I realized that was probably a GREAT gift for a husband to give for Valentine's Day - it sure makes Chris look like Husband of the Year!
So here are the reviews of the books I've ripped through since then:
"The Politician" - everyone's heard the story by now of John Edwards' assistant covering for him and claiming paternity of the ex-Senator's "love child." This book goes through Mr. Young's entire 10 years with Edwards and gives an inside look at politics. Beware - if you want to bury your head in the sand and believe these politicians are a bunch of do-gooders who only want to dedicate themselves to public service, DON'T READ THIS BOOK! I did enjoy the book very much and finished it in less than a week. By the end, I understood how the Youngs got sucked into doing whatever Edwards asked of him, which is something I didn't get from the interviews I'd seen with him.
"In The President's Secret Service" - this book generated a lot of buzz when it came out in October and I can see why. There are a lot of little tidbits about past presidents and their wives that are very interesting. I had no idea how mean Jimmy Carter was to the people whose job it was to protect him, or how much they all loved Ronald Reagan for always treating the service staff with such respect. It's also interesting to read about all the precautions the Secret Service agents have to take for all public outings with the President. I knew a bit of this from when I worked at The Ritz Carlton and handled the Prime Minister of Iraq's visit in 2005. It was really intense for me to arrive at work and see snipers on the roof of the hotel and have the S.W.A.T. team clearing out the service hallways whenever he came and went. I am still in the process of reading this book since I read it at work during breaks and am looking forward to learning more.
"My Sister's Keeper" - I'm not typically into novels, but a good friend of mine gave me another Jodi Piccoult book, "Change of Heart," a while ago and I TORE through it in one day! I am giving this a chance because of the author and am not sorry - just 20 pages in and I'm totally HOOKED! I did hear that the ending in the book is different than the movie. I haven't seen the movie but might rent it once I finish the book to compare. I think I'm becoming a HUGE Jodi Piccoult fan!
"The Other Mother" - ok, I saved the best for last. This book took me about a week to get through and I savored EVERY page. It's a book by a woman who got pregnant in 1965 at age 19 and was basically forced by her Catholic parents to give her baby up for adoption. She describes the experience of hiding her pregnancy in shame and entering a home for unwed mothers run by nuns. She was in love with her boyfriend and vice versa, but they were both told that there was no way for them to make it work since they were so young and had no money. She was told she would forget the whole thing in time and that if she loved her baby, she would give him up to a better life. I was BAWLING because she really wanted to keep him, but no one would help her find a way to do it. From the minute she walked out of the hospital without him, she started counting the days until he was 18 and she could find him again.
Here's an exerpt for you from when she was in the hospital after she had her baby:
"Mrs. Hogan called. She would escort me back to Seton House that evening. I looked down at my son, realizing we had only two more visits together. How would I be able to handle this? Where would my strength come from? I held him close to my heart and tried not to get upset, for his sake. Then, the nurse came in to take him from me.
As I packed up my things, I tried to compose my goodbye to him. There was so much I wanted him to remember. I wanted to be able to imprint the truth about how much I loved him - and would always love him - indelibly on his heart. I had to find the right words so he would carry this truth with him all of his life."
While reading this book, I had to take many breaks to hold Luke. I cried for the mother in the story who had her son taken from her. Then I cried for all the other mothers like her who gave up their babies for adoption and never stopped longing for them. Then I cried for all the mothers who have ever had a child taken from them in any way - kidnapping, custody battles, suicide, disease. It really is an unspeakable nightmare to lose a child, no matter how it happens.
And then I cried for myself as I realized that the cruel passage of time will eventually steal my babies away from me. I think about that when I have to get up 3-4 times per night to nurse that little angel and I don't mind so much. I'll have plenty of time to sleep when he's grown. Right now, he needs me - almost as much as I need him.
Happy Reading, everyone!