Six marriages, six heartbreaks, one shared beginning. In her forties – a widow, too young, too modern to accept the role – Becky Aikman struggled to make sense of her place in an altered world. In this transcendent and infectiously wise memoir, she explores surprising new discoveries about how people experience grief and transcend loss and, following her own remarriage, forms a group with five other young widows to test these unconventional ideas. Together, these friends summon the humor, resilience, and striving spirit essential for anyone overcoming adversity. Meet the Saturday Night Widows: ringleader Becky, an unsentimental journalist who lost her husband to cancer; Tara, a polished mother of two, whose husband died in the throes of alcoholism after she filed for divorce; Denise, a widow of just five months, now struggling to get by; Marcia, a hard-driving corporate lawyer; Dawn, an alluring self-made entrepreneur whose husband was killed in a sporting accident, leaving two small children behind; and Lesley, a housewife who returned home one day to find that her husband had committed suicide. The women meet once a month, and over the course of a year, they strike out on ever more far-flung adventures, learning to live past the worst thing they thought could happen. They share emotional peaks and valleys – dating, parenting, moving, finding meaningful work, and reinventing themselves – while turning traditional thinking about loss and recovery upside down. Through it all runs the story of Aikman's own journey through grief and her love affair with a man who tempts her to marry again. In a transporting story of what friends can achieve when they hold each other up, Saturday Night Widows is a rare book that will make you laugh, think, and remind yourself that despite the utter unpredictability and occasional tragedy of life, it is also precious, fragile, and often more joyous than we recognize. From the Hardcover edition.
A lively and revealing behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of history's most controversial and influential movies, drawing on exclusive interviews with the cast and crew. “You’ve always been crazy,” says Louise to Thelma, shortly after she locks a police officer in the trunk of his car. “This is just the first chance you’ve had to express yourself.” In 1991, Thelma & Louise, the story of two outlaw women on the run from their disenchanted lives, was a revelation. Suddenly, a film in which women were, in every sense, behind the wheel. It turned the tables on Hollywood, instantly becoming a classic, and continues to electrify audiences as a cultural statement of defiance. But if the film’s place in history now seems certain, at the time its creation was a long shot. Only through sheer hard work and more than a little good luck did the script end up in the hands of the brilliant English filmmaker Ridley Scott, who saw its huge potential. With Scott on board, a team willing to challenge the odds came together—including the stars Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon and a fresh-faced up-and-coming actor named Brad Pitt, as well as legends like actor Harvey Keitel, composer Hans Zimmer, and old-school studio chief Alan Ladd Jr.—to create one of the most controversial movies of all time. But before icons like Davis and Sarandon got involved, Thelma & Louise was just an idea in the head of Callie Khouri, a thirty-year-old music video production manager, who was fed up with working behind the scenes on sleazy sets. At four a.m. one night, sitting in her car outside the ramshackle bungalow in Santa Monica that she shared with two friends, she had a vision: two women on a crime spree, fleeing their dull and tedious lives—lives like hers—in search of a freedom they had never before been able to realize. But in the late 1980s, Hollywood was dominated by men, both on the screen and behind the scenes. The likelihood of a script by an unheard-of screenwriter starring two women in lead roles actually getting made was remote. But Khouri had one thing going for her—she was so inexperienced she didn't really know she would be attempting the nigh impossible. In Off the Cliff, Becky Aikman tells the full extraordinary story behind this feminist sensation, which crashed through barricades and upended convention. Drawing on 130 exclusive interviews with the key players from this remarkable cast of actors, writers, and filmmakers, Aikman tells an inspiring and important underdog story about creativity, the magic of cinema, and the unjust obstacles that women in Hollywood continue to face to this day.
Author: Sue Mangum
Release Date: 2013-08-10
Loss...A small word with such a huge meaning. In BRAVER THAN YOU BELIEVE: TRUE STORIES OF LOSING LOVE AND FINDING SELF, six newly single moms write about the worst event of their lives. After losing their spouses to sudden death or divorce, Sam (the main author Sue Mangum), Tessa, Kathryn, Phoebe, Nattie, and Catrina create a safe space to grieve. Calling themselves 'Single Moms After Loss: Talking Advising Healing Laughing Crying' or SMAL TAHLC pronounced "small talk," their conversations are anything but. Over email, they ask questions they can't ask anyone else, like:"Will I ever have sex again?" "I thought I was religious, but is there really a God?""When should I tell my children that I'm dating?"And finally,"Wow...I'm happy...is that allowed?"Channeling the candid, hilarious, and heartfelt qualities of Becky Aikman's Saturday Night Widows, this work of narrative non-fiction is also based on the true stories of six suddenly single women. This story of actual emails unfolds in real time, as each woman faces her most intimate fears and enters the exhilarating, nerve-wracking, and sometimes hilarious world of dating as a single parent. The book also shows the surprising similarities between death and divorce and grapples with the big questions of single parenting, faith, and learning to trust in self and others. Sam lost her husband to a genetic heart defect and is left with three children to raise. Gentle Tessa, a self-described pleaser, fixer, and friend to all, couldn't save her marriage from infidelity and is awaiting a divorce any day. No-nonsense and quick-witted Kathryn is "celebrating" the one-year anniversary of filing for divorce from a man she nicknames Juicebox, a more polite form of Douchebag. Nattie, the group's wild child and warm-hearted mother of three young girls, lost her husband of 18 years to a tragic accident. Stoic Phoebe, the quietest and most introspective, is estranged from her unfaithful husband, though he still lives in her guest room until she can find a job and move out. And finally, there's chatty, boy-crazy Catrina, whose beloved husband of 13 years died right after they had sex.Though loss is the common immediate bond between these different women, each one longs to push through her pain and fear to become a whole, happy person again. And through a year of emails from January to December, the women learn that, with each other and an open, honest space to share the most painful truths, just about anything is possible. Even finding happiness after loss.
I spent my 11th wedding anniversary planning my husband's funeral. If I could just figure out how to make that rhyme, it would be the beginning of a great country song. Involuntarily single. That's the true story of where Catherine Tidd finds herself just three weeks after turning thirty-one. Widowed with three children under six years old, a rusty resume, no fix-it skills, and no clue how to live life as a widow, Catherine can't help but be a little exasperated with her dead husband for leaving her to deal with life on her own. Catherine's now in charge of her life in a way she never wanted to be, in a way that would have most of us reeling and numb. But she soon realizes that when you call the shots, you can make pedicures one of the stages of grief—and that moving forward might be more fun in a new sports car. Her honest Confessions of a Mediocre Widow is a glimpse into the heartbreaking and sometimes humorous world of a young woman who learns that it is possible to find joy in an unexpected life.
Author: K. Sophie Stallman
Publisher: Hillcrest Publishing Group
Release Date: 2013-08-26
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Three generations ago, author Sophie Stallman was a young girl living a normal and happy existence with her traditional and privileged Polish family. But when the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Sophie's life as she knew it would cease to exist. Under Nazi-occupied Poland, Sophie and her family were forced to endure a daily life of deprivation, fear, and struggle, but despite the abysmal war conditions to which she was subjected, Sophie was determined to pursue her own life in spite of the war. Pressing forward with her academic education and following her love of music she excelled developing her modern dance talents and mezzo-soprano voice. Sophie also made the courageous decision to join the Polish resistance organization -- a move that would put her life in constant jeopardy, especially during the 1944 Warsaw uprising.
Suzanne McMinn, a former romance writer and founder of the popular blog chickensintheroad.com, shares the story of her search to lead a life of ordinary splendor in Chickens in the Road, her inspiring and funny memoir. Craving a life that would connect her to the earth and her family roots, McMinn packed up her three kids, left her husband and her sterile suburban existence behind, and moved to rural West Virginia. Amid the rough landscape and beauty of this rural mountain country, she pursues a natural lifestyle filled with chickens, goats, sheep—and no pizza delivery. With her new life comes an unexpected new love—"52," a man as beguiling and enigmatic as his nickname—a turbulent romance that reminds her that peace and fulfillment can be found in the wake of heartbreak. Coping with formidable challenges, including raising a trio of teenagers, milking stubborn cows, being snowed in with no heat, and making her own butter, McMinn realizes that she’s living a forty-something’s coming-of-age story. As she dares to become self-reliant and embrace her independence, she reminds us that life is a bold adventure—if we’re willing to live it. Chickens in the Road includes more than 20 recipes, craft projects, and McMinn’s photography, and features a special two-color design.
There are so many ways to find out. From a mobile phone. From a bank account. From some weird supermarket encounter. One morning in early January 2005, Wendy Plump's neighbour came over to tell her that her husband was having an affair. The news hit her with an almost audible click. It was not a shock. Actually, it explained quite a lot. What she was not prepared for however was the revelation that he had an eight-month-old son living within a mile of their family home. Monogamy is one of the most important vows we make in our marriages. Yet it is a rare spouse who does not face some level of temptation in their married life. The discovery of her husband's second family followed betrayals of Wendy's own, earlier in the marriage, and prompted her to explore the wreckage of her relationship head-on - from the view of both the betrayer and the betrayed. In this compelling memoir, Wendy Plump looks at the ordeal of Finding Out, the recovery, the ebb and flow of passion, the patterns of adultery, the undeniable allure of illicit attraction, the lovers, the lies and the alibis. Frank, intelligent and important, Vow takes you under the covers. It will transform your understanding of fidelity and commitment forever.
Author: Susanna Sonnenberg
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2013-01-08
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The New York Times called Susanna Sonnenberg “immensely gifted,” and Vogue, “scrupulously unsentimental.” Entertainment Weekly described Sonnenberg’s Her Last Death as “a bracing memoir about growing up rich and glamorous with a savagely inappropriate mother.” Now, Sonnenberg, with her unflinching eye and uncanny wisdom, has written a compulsively readable book about female friendship. T he best friend who broke up with you. The older girl at school you worshipped. The beloved college friend who changed. The friend you slept with. The friend who betrayed you. The friend you betrayed. Companions in travel, in discovery, in motherhood, in grief; the mentor, the model, the rescuer, the guide, the little sister. These have been the women in Susanna Sonnenberg’s life, friends tender, dominant, and crucial after her reckless mother gave her early lessons in womanhood. Searing and superbly written, Sonnenberg’s She Matters: A Life in Friendships illuminates the friendships that have influenced, nourished, inspired, and haunted her—and sometimes torn her apart. Each has its own lessons that Sonnenberg seeks to understand. Her method is investigative and ruminative; her result, fearlessly observed portraits of friendships that will inspire all readers to consider the complexities of their own relationships. This electric book is testimony to the emotional significance of the intense bonds between women, whether shattered, shaky, or unbreakable.
Author: Hill Harper
Release Date: 2009-09-08
Genre: Family & Relationships
In his first book for adults, New York Times bestselling author Hill Harper invites you to join the Conversation: an honest dialogue about the breakdown of African-American relationships. For generations African Americans have turned to their families in times of need – but now, this proud and strong legacy is in peril. Black men and women have stopped communicating effectively and it threatens the very relationships and marriages necessary to sustain the Black family. Today, less than a third of Black children are being raised in two-parent households, a sharp decline from past generations. So, why is it so difficult for Black men and women to build long-term, loving and mutually beneficial relationships? What is happening in the community that makes it so hard for women and men to find their way to each other? And why are there so few people who manage to hold a marriage together, even after finding a person to love? In his moving yet practical book, Hill Harper undertakes a journey both universal and deeply personal in search of answers to these questions. He has conversations with friends and strangers –married, single and divorced – and learns about their private struggles, emotional vulnerabilities, and real concerns, and begins to see common themes emerge. As his journey picks up momentum, Hill begins to recognize his own struggles in other people’s stories, and is encouraged to more deeply examine his own relationship issues. Why does so much misinformation and mistrust exist between the sexes? Hill addresses the stereotypes that have developed in the Black community, in the hope that by addressing the challenges, Black men and women can find their way to common ground. The Conversation aims to open up the lines of communication, and offers inspiration to those who want to take control of this crisis and start building successful, sustainable relationships.
Author: Jill Smolowe
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release Date: 2014-04-08
Genre: Family & Relationships
When journalist Jill Smolowe buried her husband, sister, mother, and mother-in-law in the space of seventeen months, she assumed that it was only a matter of time before she fell apart. That’s what all the movies and memoirs say will happen, after all. But when she never “lost it”—and when friends began to insist that her strength was amazing and unusual—she began to think there might be something freakish about her way of grieving, so she did what any self-respecting journalist would: she researched it. In Four Funerals and a Wedding, Smolowe jostles preconceptions about caregiving, defies clichés about losing loved ones, and reveals a stunning bottom line: far from being uncommon, resilience like hers is the norm among the recently bereaved. With humor and quiet wisdom, and with a lens firmly trained on what helped her tolerate so much sorrow and rebound from so much loss in her own life, she offers answers to questions we all confront in the face of loss, and ultimately reminds us all that grief is not only about endings—it’s about new beginnings.
A brave, intimate, beautifully crafted memoir by a survivor of the tsunami that struck the Sri Lankan coast in 2004 and took her entire family. On December 26, Boxing Day, Sonali Deraniyagala, her English husband, her parents, her two young sons, and a close friend were ending Christmas vacation at the seaside resort of Yala on the south coast of Sri Lanka when a wave suddenly overtook them. She was only to learn later that this was a tsunami that devastated coastlines through Southeast Asia. When the water began to encroach closer to their hotel, they began to run, but in an instant, water engulfed them, Sonali was separated from her family, and all was lost. Sonali Deraniyagala has written an extraordinarily honest, utterly engrossing account of the surreal tragedy of a devastating event that all at once ended her life as she knew it and her journey since in search of understanding and redemption. It is also a remarkable portrait of a young family's life and what came before, with all the small moments and larger dreams that suddenly and irrevocably ended. From the Hardcover edition.
National Bestseller "Beautifully written and delightfully strange...as earthy as it is sublime...in the truest sense, an eye-opener." --Daily News From Annie Dillard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and one of the most compelling writers of our time, comes For the Time Being, her most profound narrative to date. With her keen eye, penchant for paradox, and yearning for truth, Dillard renews our ability to discover wonder in life's smallest--and often darkest--corners. Why do we exist? Where did we come from? How can one person matter? Dillard searches for answers in a powerful array of images: pictures of bird-headed dwarfs in the standard reference of human birth defects; ten thousand terra-cotta figures fashioned for a Chinese emperor in place of the human court that might have followed him into death; the paleontologist and theologian Teilhard de Chardin crossing the Gobi Desert; the dizzying variety of clouds. Vivid, eloquent, haunting, For the Time Being evokes no less than the terrifying grandeur of all that remains tantalizingly and troublingly beyond our understanding. "Stimulating, humbling, original--. [Dillard] illuminate[s] the human perspective of the world, past, present and future, and the individual's relatively inconsequential but ever so unique place in it."--Rocky Mountain News
“Grieving is as natural as breathing, for if we have lived and loved, surely we will grieve. . . .” Nancy Cobb meets death in the most vital of places–in the lives of everyday people–and in doing so has found a way to infuse this darkest subject with light. Her candor and refreshing perspective make the deaths of those she has loved–and death itself–a subject to explore rather than to avoid. Cobb’s personal experiences become a point of departure for what amounts to a longer conversation about loss. In telling stories about encounters with grief, Cobb opens us up to our own experiences, and she encourages us to accept and honor the “divine intersections” where the living meet the dying. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Pamela Paul
Release Date: 2002-04-09
Genre: Social Science
The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony is a pioneering study of first marriages lasting five years or less and ending without children, and of the changing face of matrimony in America. According to the brilliant trend analyst and journalist Pamela Paul, “It’s easy to conclude that the starter marriage trend bodes ill for the state of marriage. After all, we’re getting married, screwing it up, and divorcing—a practice that certainly isn’t strengthening our sense of trust, family, or commitment. But though starter marriages seem like a grim prospect, there is also an upside. For one thing, if people are going to divorce, better to do so after a brief marriage in which no children suffer the consequences.” But are there other consequences of starter marriages? And what causes these marriages to fail in the first place? In today’s matrimania culture, weddings, marriage, and family are clearly goals to which most young Americans aspire. Why are today’s twenty- and thirtysomethings—the first children-of-divorce generation—so eager to get married, and so prone to failure? Are Americans today destined to jump in and out of marriage? At a time when marriage at age twenty-five can mean a sixty-year active commitment, could “serial marriages” be the wave of the future? Drawing on more than sixty interviews with starter marriage veterans and on exhaustive re-search, Pamela Paul explores these questions, putting the issues into social and cultural perspective. She looks at the hopes and motivations of couples marrying today, and examines the conflict between our cultural conception of marriage and the society surrounding it. Most important, this lively and engaging narrative examines what the starter marriage trend means for the future of matrimony in this country—how and why we’ll continue to marry in the twenty-first century.
Author: John Irving
Publisher: Random House Digital, Inc.
Release Date: 1997
T.S. Garp, a man with high ambitions for an artistic career and with obsessive devotion to his wife and children, and Jenny Fields, his famous feminist mother, find their lives surrounded by an assortment of people including teachers, whores, and radicals