December Reads

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After the holiday shopping is done, the packages have been opens, it’s time to sit back, prop your feet up and read a good. Here are three from our Tomato readers. There are two memoirs—Strip, about a woman who overcomes childhood trauma, and Loretta Lynn’s memoir, Me and Patsy Kicking Up Dust, about her friendship with Patsy Cline. And a fiction novel, The Island of Sea Women against the backdrop of political turmoil – Japanese occupation, World War II, the Korean War, and its aftermath.

An Unbelievably Beautiful Memoir

Hannah Sward was born in the seventies and was abandoned by her mother at the age of two.  She lived with her father in Victoria, British Columbia. Her father was the poet, Robert Sward.  She would eventually begin to bounce back and forth between her father and mother in their homes.  At this point her mother had moved to Florida.  Her mother had another child, so she was happy she had a sister to spend time with in Florida.  When they were young, they promised each other that one day they would move and live in Los Angeles, California.

Strip is gripping from the very first sentence when Hannah says, “My mother left me at the age of two.”  As a reader you will start to think how this will affect such a young child.  She goes on to tell about being kidnapped and molested by a stranger when she was six years old. The man made her promise she would not tell anyone.  Again, having such a dark secret as a reader you are thinking how she can survive such a horrible incident.  Hannah does get into drugs, crystal meth being her drug of choice.  She battles a drug addiction for many years before getting into recovery.  She also grew up to become a stripper and a prostitute.   Her details in the book of trying to overcome addiction and get out of the prostitution life are chilling.

Strip is an unbelievably beautiful memoir.  Hannah Sward is so honest and raw in telling her story.  She will have the reader laughing and crying all within a few pages of each other.  An incredible story of hope and resilience.  This book touched me in so many ways, still think about this book so often. Hannah is a brilliant writer.  I cannot wait to see what she writes next.  I loved this book and highly recommend it. GET THE BOOK.

~Francene Katzen, Richmond, Virginia, advocate for parents who have children with drug addictions

A Heartwarming Engaging Memoir about Women’s Friendship

You don’t have to be a fan of the late country music icon, Loretta Lynn, or even like country music to enjoy this humorous, eye-opening, heartfelt memoir Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust: My Friendship with Patsy Cline.

Loretta Lynn, in her uniquely rural mountain voice, relates her never before-told complete story of the abiding friendship between her and musical icon Patsy Cline before her tragic passing in a plane crash in 1963.

The setting is Nashville in the 1960’s South.  Loretta was a broke, but talented young mother trying to figure out how to navigate the country music business.  Patsy Cline was already a star.  One fateful night, as Patsy lay in a hospital bed recovering from a horrific auto accident, Loretta sang one of Patsy’s most popular songs, “I Fall to Pieces” live on the radio.  This performance led to a life changing event; the basis of this story.

Loretta and Patsy shared a unique bond; they blazed a trail for women in music to follow, and they got it right.  Rather than rivals, Loretta and Patsy supported and lifted each other up through good times and bad, through laughter and tears.  There was never a hint of jealousy; they were always allies and friends.  These two women have much to teach us about life; especially how to stand up for yourself and how to break ground while not compromising your principles or values.

Loretta is a great storyteller!  This book is filled with easy-to-read, short chapters filled with heartfelt emotions.  You’ll laugh with her; you’ll cry with her as she shares unique stories about what it took for her and Patsy to make it to the top in a male dominated industry while being loving wives, mothers, mentors, and best friends.

As a woman, reading this book makes you want to have the same bond of friendship as Loretta and Patsy did.  As Loretta says, “Keep looking, it’s out there”!

May all Tomatoes find it! GET THE BOOK.

~Ellen Seymour, Hershey, Pennsylvania, retired caterer, avid gardener and cook

A Multidimensional Saga of Family, Friendship, And History

In her book The Island of Sea Women, prolific author Lisa See paints a portrait of a country torn by war and occupation, its people living with constant oppression, and the deep relationships that offer solace as well as heart-rending tragedy. This is a multidimensional saga that weaves together themes of family, friendship, and history.

Set on the remote Korean Island of Jeju from 1938-2008, Young-Sook and Mija are childhood best friends whose bonds are strengthened and tested over decades by forces beyond their control. The girls are part of a multi-generational, all-female diving collective, the Haenyeo, who are the primary breadwinners in a matrifocal society. The men tend to the children while the divers learn the technique of deep-water diving to harvest seafood to sell and support the family.

The story unfolds against the backdrop of political turmoil – Japanese occupation, World War II, the Korean War, and its aftermath. As a football for military strategy, the Island of Jeju is kicked back and forth between warring nations, and the native population is exposed to human cruelty.

As the two young girls mature, they marry very different kinds of husbands. A rift begins to separate them and eventually threatens to destroy their friendship. With the hardships of 70 years of striving, these survivors display remarkable resilience to transcend tragedy and find forgiveness…or do they? GET THE BOOK.

~ Joan Pagano, owner of Joan Pagano Fitness, NY


The Three Tomatoes Book Shelf
If you love books you've come to the right place. Here's where you'll find great books that our Tomato reviewers have read and think other tomatoes will love too. Enjoy.

Book Review

The Three Tomatoes Book Shelf If you love books you've come to the right place. Here's where you'll find great books that our Tomato reviewers have read and think other tomatoes will love too. Enjoy.

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