FAYE DASEN: Wilmington Author Reveals Early Life in Memoir
This week's column offers a mixed bag of tricks from autobiography to Civil War fiction.
A Memoir of Secrets, Swimming, and the South
By Catherine McCall
Harmony, 2006, $23
When I started reading this memoir, I was afraid it might be too depressing. There were some parts that could bring a reader down, but overall it turned out to be a fascinating look inside a somewhat dysfunctional Southern family.
We meet Cathy when she is 13 years old. She, along with her brother and sister, are competitive swimmers.
The family presents a unified front to outsiders, but on the inside, Dad is an alcoholic, often unable to hold down a job, while Mom is trying to teach and hold the family together.
The Wilmington writer gives a story about the power of family.
By Michael Largo
Harper, 2006, $15.95
Just compiling the information for this intriguing work of nonfiction must have been a tremendous effort.
Author Michael Largo gives readers an encyclopedia of death -- ways in which we die and how many of us go in a particular way.
The statistics may surprise readers. Over 6,000 deaths per year are attributed to electronic device distractions. More than 1,500 people died of "Kinky Hair Disease" in 2004.
Largo's book is full of fascinating facts.
By Janelle Taylor
Zebra, 2006, $6.99
This is the second of a trilogy involving three women who share the same father, now deceased. In his will, he left each of them something, but he makes it difficult for them to meet the terms of the will.
Olivia reluctantly returns to her childhood home in Blueberry, Maine, to the summer cottage at which the sisters spent time with their father.
Olivia's memories are anything but pleasant. Thirteen years earlier, she had gotten pregnant and was sent to a home for unwed mothers where her baby was stillborn -- or so she was told.
When she once again meets the baby's father, Zachary, they discover that both of them have been deceived. Zachary, to whom custody of the child was given, never knew that Olivia had been told her daughter had died.
As one might imagine, plenty of action and angst follow this revelation.
The Judas Field
By Howard Bahr
Henry Holt, 2006, $25
This dark novel of the days following the Civil War, while certainly well-written, was depressing reading for me.
True fans of the events of that era will probably enjoy it, but it's not light material.
Faye M. Dasen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 693-2475.
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