Tag Archives: autobiography

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Onions in the Stew by Betty Macdonald

20 Mar

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Author: Betty MacDonald

Narrator: Heather Henderson

Length: 9 hours 40 minutes

Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press⎮2016

Genre: Humor, Memoir

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The bestselling author of the American humor classic The Egg and I continues the adventure with this collection of tales about life on the fringe of the Western wilderness. Writing in the 1950s, Betty MacDonald, sophisticated and urbane, captivated readers with her observations about raising a family on an island in Puget Sound. As usual, humorist MacDonald is her own favorite target. She manages to get herself into scrapes with washing machines set adrift in rowboats, used cars, and a $25 Turkey Squasher. And then there’s the scariest aspect of island life — teenaged children.

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Buy on Audible or Amazon

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Betty Bard MacDonald (1907–1958), the best-selling author of The Egg and I and the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children’s books, burst onto the literary scene shortly after the end of World War II. Readers embraced her memoir of her years as a young bride operating a chicken ranch on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, andThe Egg and I sold its first million copies in less than a year. The public was drawn to MacDonald’s vivacity, her offbeat humor, and her irreverent take on life. In 1947, the book was made into a movie starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert, and spawned a series of films featuring MacDonald’s Ma and Pa Kettle characters.

MacDonald followed up the success of The Egg and I with the creation of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a magical woman who cures children of their bad habits, and with three additional memoirs: The Plague and I (chronicling her time in a tuberculosis sanitarium just outside Seattle), Anybody Can Do Anything (recounting her madcap attempts to find work during the Great Depression), and Onions in the Stew (about her life raising two teenage daughters on Vashon Island).

Author Paula Becker was granted full access to Betty MacDonald’s archives, including materials never before seen by any researcher. Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first official biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona.

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Heather Henderson is a voice actress and audiobook narrator with a 20-year career in literary and performing arts. Her narrations include the NYT bestseller (now also a feature film) Brain on Fire; and Sharon Creech’s The Boy on the Porch, which won her an Earphones award and was named one of the Best Children’s Audiobooks for 2013 by Audiofile Magazine. She earned her Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the Yale School of Drama, and is co-curator of AudioEloquence.com, a pronunciation research site for the audiobook industry. In 2015, Heather was a finalist for a Voice Arts Award (Outstanding Narration, Audiobook Classics), for her narration of Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I.

 

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I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy of the audiobook. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had listened to The Egg and I, The Plague and I,  and Anybody Can do Anything and enjoyed all of them so I was looking forward to listening to this one. Betty MacDonald’s storytelling is delightful as is the narration.

This isn’t my favorite book by Betty MacDonald, but it’s still good. It’s about her family life on Vashon Island in Puget Sound with her husband Don and her girls during their trying teen years.

Betty had such a great view of everything and everyone. From neighbors and unexpected guests to blundering repairmen and unreasonable teen daughters, she made me giggle.  

The narrator, Heather Henderson, has a pleasant voice and I enjoy listening to her. She did a great job of using different voices for different characters. She has narrated all of the books by Betty MacDonald that I’ve listened to and it was nice to associate her voice with Betty’s stories.

I definitely recommend all of these audiobooks by Betty Macdonald. They’re bound to bring a smile to your face. Continue reading

Book Review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

11 Jan

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When Shonda Rhimes was attending Dartmouth, she dreamed of being Toni Morrison. But when she realized that wasn’t going to happen, she went to film school and became the mega-talented writer, creator, and producer of groundbreaking television shows like Grey’s AnatomyScandal, and How to Get Away with Murder.
 
Her success, and the fact that it was built by creating some of the most outspoken and audacious characters on television today, makes it hard to believe that Shonda is also a decided introvert. A person who hired a publicist so she didn’t have to attend events or appear in the media. A person who always said no to invitations because she’d rather be at home, snuggling her kids and comforting herself with food, than mixing with the VIPs who wanted her company.  
 
Year of Yes chronicles the year Shonda decided to say YES to everything that scared her—and it also tells the story of the formation of Shonda Rhimes, from her nerdy childhood creating imaginary worlds in the kitchen pantry and hiding books down the back of her pants, to her determination to write television characters who reflected the world around her, to her decision to be a mother, and beyond. It’s bold, it’s hilarious, it’s intimate, and it’s inspiring. You don’t have to be a fan of the Shondaland shows to absolutely love this book—it’s a joy and a call to arms, both. My hope is that you’ll find yourself nodding and laughing throughout Year of Yes, and by book’s end you’ll be practicing your power poses and consciously saying YES even when you’re a little bit afraid—and of course that you’ll want to press this book into the hands of all your customers.  
 
And, true story: Shonda finally met her idol Toni Morrison, all Toni wanted to discuss was  Grey’s Anatomy
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My Review

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
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I don’t read a lot of autobiographies but once I got used to Shonda Rhimes’ writing style, I enjoyed reading Year of Yes. It was more like being inside her head than just reading her story.
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We could all learn something from Shonda. She seemed to have it all but realized (thanks to her sister) that, in reality, she was miserable. She decided to step out of her comfort zone and as a result, she changed every aspect of her life. It wasn’t an instant transformation and she shares her thoughts as she went through these amazing changes.
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Year of Yes isn’t your typical biography or self help book but it is a fun read that could inspire you to be a better you.
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 Purchase on Amazon.
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