Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Fractured Memories by @EmilyPageArt23 #Dementia #Memoir

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here https://brittthereader.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading Fractured Memories by Emily Page

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My rating: 4 stars out of 5

Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love Too by Emily Page is a profoundly raw account of one family’s experience of caring for a father with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).  The story is told from the perspective of an adult daughter (the author) who is caring for her father along with her husband and her mother. The book has three parts.  This first part of the book is much like a traditional memoir, with the author’s experience recounted in a narrative.  The second part of the book reads a bit like a series of journal entries, raw and largely unedited recounts of caring for her father.  The author is an artist, and the third part of the book is a series of paintings she created out of her caregiving experience.

The author’s love for her father is the greatest testament of this book.  Yes, the author becomes angry, emotionally frayed and anxiety-ridden in the seven years she cared for her father, and sometimes those emotions are even directed at her father.  But she never walks from the situation. Underneath all the difficult emotion was an abundantly present love of a daughter. The first chapter recounts her father’s life before his diagnosis. It’s a beautiful celebration of his life before dementia, including his sense of humor, his extraordinary passion for trains and music, and his time as a First Lieutenant in the Vietnam War.

Frontotemporal dementia is described as disease of a thousand goodbyes, like slowly losing the person you love in stages.  The author writes:

“When I got home, I, of course, got online and started researching the disease. What I saw was not good. Asshole internet, which so very often lies, refused to lie to me that night. The symptoms all matched: odd social behavior (disinhibition), inability to make changes or follow complicated instructions, heightened emotion, depression. Treatment was aimed at managing symptoms, not slowing or stopping the disease. There were no medications for that. Prognosis: death two to ten years after diagnosis, probably from pneumonia after aspirating food because of muscle failure. Two to ten years. Two to ten years. Two to ten years.”

This book leveled me.  I openly wept several times while reading it, especially in the second part of the book that read like a series of mostly unedited journal entries. I learned a great deal about the impact dementia has on a family. I also learned a great deal about how to advocate for someone living with this terrible disease.

The writing style is casual, and portions of the book read like an email from a friend.   It took a while for me to adjust to the casual style. I very much enjoyed the artwork throughout the book.  The author uses images of elephants to portray herself, her father, and dementia itself because “an elephant never forgets” and “An elephant’s faithful 100 percent.”  The book ends with a list of songs, a playlist of the music that was mentioned throughout the book and has a special meaning or memory tied to the author and her father.  Fractures Memories is a must read for anyone who loves or cares for anyone living with dementia.

Book Description

In 2009, Emily Page’s father was diagnosed at the age of 65 with frontotemporal dementia, a form of dementia that strikes earlier and progresses more quickly than Alzheimer’s, and for which there is no treatment to slow the progression of the disease. Being so young, Page hadn’t had much experience with dementia, but she began documenting, in writing and art, her family’s heartbreaking and hilarious experiences.
As a professional artist, she had often turned to art as a self-prescribed therapy to help deal with life’s trials. This battle was no different. She utilized the elephant as a symbol for dementia, and incorporated sheet music into the paintings because her dad had been a jazz musician. Eventually, Page created 40 paintings that are included in the book. She also began blogging about the range of issues that arose daily as the disease progressed, documenting everything from her own fear of getting dementia, to her dad’s transition to diapers (and the various places he opted to drop his drawers and just “go”), to combatting his compulsions like the need to “clean” the cars with steel wool, to an exploration of how he might have gotten the disease, to finding the right dementia care facility, to the best ways to make him giggle. Page approached the disease from the fresh viewpoint of a younger caregiver. As her blog following grew, so did the suggestions from readers that she turn the blog into a book. After hearing too many horror stories about traditional publishing contracts, she decided to self-publish. She ran a fundraising campaign for her book, Fractured Memories, and presold over 500 copies in less than a month.
“My dad was my best friend. He embraced the ridiculous, looked for the good in people, and mentored and helped people whenever he could. Following his diagnosis, when people asked how he was doing, he’d answer, ‘Not bad for a demented guy.’ He looked for the light hiding amidst the pain. He chose to be very open about what he was going through in the hopes that it would help other people cope with their own diagnosis or a loved one’s diagnosis. Writing this book seemed a fitting way to honor that legacy.”
Page doesn’t shy away from the ugly, raw emotion of life with dementia, but she also looks for the laughter where it can be found. Rest assured, you will love her father as much as she does when the book is done, and perhaps gain some insight about how to cope with your own loved one’s dementia or how to support a caregiver.

About the author

Emily Page

Emily Page is a professional artist and part-time writer. Working out of Raleigh, NC, Page spends most of her time elbow deep in paint, but comes up for air periodically to share her art and thoughts on her blog. She translated her ridiculous musings about her family’s journey through her father’s dementia into a book, Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love, Too.

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Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT The Bridge Of The Golden Wood by @karlbeckstrand #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here https://brittthereader.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading The Bridge Of The Golden Wood by Karl Beckstrand

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The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living

by Karl Beckstrand, illustrated by Yaniv Cahoua

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars

The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living is a children’s book for ages 5 and up written by Karl Beckstrand and illustrated by Yaniv Cahoua. Set in the Far East, the book is about a boy who chooses to help others and finds treasure as a result. It begins with “There once was a boy who loved to make things,” and the tone of an old parable is maintained throughout the story.

Beckstrand was inspired to write The Bridge of the Golden Wood after visiting several schools and realizing there was no curriculum provided to young people about ways to earn money. The message from The Bridge of the Golden Wood is a positive one: helping others for free gives you experience, a good reputation, and can lead to an idea for ways to make money. The events in the story are sweet and simple. However, the main character’s particular experience is not be something modern children could re-create for themselves. What pushes the book all the way up to five stars for me is the discussion guide at the end.  Children are guided through ways to look for opportunities in everyday problems and provided examples of ways to earn income by serving others and solving problems.

The Bridge of the Golden Wood is recommended for ages 5 and up.  I read this book with a three-year old and she loved the soft, cheerful illustrations. She was especially interested in the animals in the story.   I do think the money-making lesson largely went over her head, though we did talk about the importance of helping others.  She was also fascinated by some of the mysterious aspects of the parable. I read this book with her knowing the story is targeted towards older readers. Overall, The Bridge of the Golden Wood is a very welcome addition to children’s literature.

Book Description

A child with a knack for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure. Illustrated folk tale teaches how to spot opportunities to help people and make money. Comes with money-making activities; ideas for businesses; and online resources on finding customers, managing money, and moving up in an organization (for ages 5 and up). Young children will be captivated by the story; older ones will want to apply the things they learn.

About the author

Karl Beckstrand

Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning and bestselling author of 18 multicultural titles and more than 50 e-books (reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Beckstrand earned a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a certificate from Film A. Academy. Once a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley, Beckstrand’s early work was produced by two publishers (the first died the day they were to print his book!). Since 2004 he has guided Premio Publishing & Gozo Books. An engaging speaker and workshop facilitator, Beckstrand has experience in high tech, public policy, film, and broadcasting. He teaches media at a state college—including TV/radio scripts and Web content—

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth by @laurelworlds #TuesdayBooklog

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here https://brittthereader.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading The Warrior Princess Of Deheubarth by Laurel A Rockefeller

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Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth by Laurel Rockefeller

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars

Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth is the sixth installment in Laurel Rockefeller’s The Legendary Women of World History series. It is a brief novelization about the life, legacy and fighting spirit of a Welsh princess (Gwenllian frech Gruffydd) who led her people into battle against the Normans. I have long been an avid reader of historical fiction, and this story is a welcome addition to the genre.

The story excels in portraying the world of Wales during the 1100’s. Simple descriptions about the daily life, the surrounding regions and annual celebrations ground the reader in the time period. Rockefeller also keeps the reader grounded in understanding how the shifting politics throughout the region and in London in particular impacted the Welsh. The most shocking part of the story was the betrayal Gwenllian faced.

Rockefeller’s love of the Welsh language is evident throughout the book. The use of the Welsh names and locations added to the authenticity of the story. However, beyond names and locations, the use of the old language caused confusion for me. Gwenllian frech Gruffydd’s native tongue is frequently interspersed throughout conversations. At one point Gwenllian sings a song while playing the harp, and the song is written entirely in her native language. A typical reader will find this incomprehensible.

The story is brief and lingers longest on the battle and events leading up to Gwenllian frech Gruffydd’s death. She was a heroic fighter and through Rockefeller’s portrayal is it easy to see why the Welsh cried her name into battle for centuries to follow. The ending of the story beautifully nods to the lineage that followed Gwenllian frech Gruffydd and muses what her option on it must be. “Surely in some place beyond this physical world, Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, the warrior princess of Deheubarth watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth Tudor, a woman born of her blood and legacy, and smiled.”

After the story there is a timeline of Welsh history from 844 to 1282 and an extensive suggested reading bibliography that provides a wealth of information for those looking to research the topic further. The timeline was thorough and interesting. In future installments in this series, I would love to see the selected events spaced along a horizontal line. Images of Wales and any remaining structures from the story, as well as artistic renderings of the individuals discussed would also be a most welcome addition to the story.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team

Book Description

Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd’s fascinating and tragic true story comes to life in this special bi-lingual Welsh-English edition!
Born in 1097 in Aberffraw Castle, Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd ap Cynan was always destined for great things. Beautiful, kind, and one of the finest archers in all of Wales, Gwenllian’s courage against the Norman Conquest of Wales has inspired generations of Welsh for nearly one thousand years.

About the author

Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty books published and self-published since August, 2012. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide. 
With her easy to understand fireside storytelling style, Laurel A. Rockefeller is the historian for people who do not like history. 
In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic motion pictures and television series.

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