“We have people we get to keep, who won’t ever let us go. And that’s the most important part.” ― Allison Larkin, The People We Keep
April lives in a motor-less motor home that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school and picking up shifts at Margo’s diner, she is left fending for herself in a town where she has never quite felt at home. When she “borrows” her neighbor’s car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good, setting off on a journey to find a life that is all hers.
As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from does not dictate who she has to be. This lyrical tale is for anyone who has ever yearned for a found family or belonging.
This is an emotional story, but it is sometimes problematic. I didn’t find April likable in some parts of the book, so it was hard to agree with all of her decisions. She did grow on me, but it took a while. This book discusses April’s relationships as a 16-year-old pretending that she is older. While the relationships were strange, they did add to the plot and help her character grow.
As stated before, April eventually grew on me, and I felt for her and her situation. She meets some good people, and it is endearing to read. I found myself rooting for her by the end. While I felt that everything wrapped up a little too perfectly, I have to admit I did enjoy the journey overall.
First line: Louise thought it might not go well, so she told her parents she was pregnant over the phone, from three thousand miles away, in San Francisco.
Summary: Louise is going back to her childhood home after the tragic death of her parents. She has rarely returned and is dreading the reunion with her brother, Mark. The two have never gotten along and from the moment she arrives in Charleston it appears that nothing has changed. As they prepare their parent’s home for sale they have to clear out years of memories and hundreds of dolls and puppets. Her mother spent years creating puppets for her ministry work and now they have been left to Louise.
However, the cleaning out of these items is trickier than she expected. Dolls keep reappearing after being thrown away. Eyes seem to follow her as she walks through the house. And the appearance of Pupkin, her mother’s oldest puppet brings back nightmares from their past. It appears that the house has other plans for Mark and Louise.
My Thoughts: This book was frightening. Dolls and puppets are creepy! And this helps reinforce that belief. I plowed through this book in just 3 days. I was splitting time listening to it and reading it. I found that I kept wanting to listen/read just a little bit more. At one point I thought the story had come to a natural end but then Hendrix throws another twist into the mix making it even more sinister.
Even though I really enjoyed it there were some parts I found a little odd or annoying. Some parts of the brother/sister relationship made me angry especially after their experiences together in the house. And the very end was a little underwhelming. I don’t want to spoil it but I kind of wished it had finished a little earlier in the story or in a different way.
If you find dolls scary then this may or may not be the book for you depending on if you want to be scared or not. It gave me chills at moments. Enter at your own risk.
“Why do squirrels keep breaking into my houses?… I mean, how many people do you know who’ve had one significant squirrel experience, let alone three?” -Lauren Graham, Have I Told You This Already?
The beloved star, Lauren Graham, of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, shares more of her story with essays about life, love, and lessons learned as an actress in Hollywood.
She writes with her signature sense of humor and down-to-earth storytelling. Graham opens up about her years working and shares personal stories about everything from family and friendships to the challenges of aging gracefully.
Filled with surprising anecdotes, advice, and hilarious observations, Graham’s latest collection of essays showcases the charm and wit she’s known for.
This book not only caught my attention with the bright yellow and hot pink cover but also with the face of one of my favorite actresses! I have been a fan of Gilmore Girls since the first time my mom and I binge-watched it together during my freshman year of high school. Lauren Graham is effortlessly funny, and I knew from how much I loved her as Lorelei Gilmore that I would adore her writing in this book.
As I read, I had the show playing in the background, which provided the perfect atmosphere. Graham tells stories that are relatable to all ages. She reflects on her life and gives us an honest interpretation of who she is. I love reading autobiographies because they can feel like having a conversation with someone you have known forever.
I enjoyed hearing her take on aging, acting, and life in general. Even though she’s close to 30 years my senior, I felt I could resonate with most of her feelings.
Summary: Clementine Churchill was the wife of statesman, Winston Churchill. Growing up in a lower class of the aristocracy she was not sure where her life would go until she met Winston. With the marriage brought advancement but also many challenges. Alongside him during two world wars she helped strengthen his political career as well as using her status to help the English people.
My Thoughts: When I was younger I read a lot about World War II but I never remember reading anything or even knowing about Clementine Churchill. And I knew as soon as I saw that Marie Benedict was writing a book about her that I needed to read it. Benedict does a great job of finding women in history that have been forgotten or overshadowed by their male counterparts and bringing them back to the spotlight of the general public.
I loved seeing how much Clementine did for Winston. He may never have reached the heights of Prime Minister without her help and support. And much like the Queen Mother during the Second World War, she helped the people of London during the Blitz and visited the people most affected by the bombings. She sounds like a very strong woman who cared about her family and the English people but has been forgotten. Glad that now she can be known by more through this story.
FYI: Read Marie Benedict’s other works to learn more about women like Clementine and their accomplisments.