Monday, December 29, 2014

Last 2 Mini Reviews for 2014 - The Mountain Story; Lori Lansens and It Was Me All Along; Andie Mitchell

The Mountain Story; Lori Lansens
Galley Books/Simon and Schuster - 2015

Wolf Truly's life hasn't been easy and on the day he turns 18, he plans to take his life, by riding the cable car high in the mountains and jump off a cliff. It's a place where his good friend's life ended tragically.  Climbing the car some 8,000 feet, things don't go exactly as planned. Wolf finds himself stranded on the mountain with three women from the same family who have come to the mountain top to spread the ashes of a loved one.

The first 1/3 of the book really dragged for me, but then it took a pleasant turn.  The author manages to weave together the back stories of each character in a cohesive way, to give the reader a terrific story of courage and survival in the wake of a desperate situation.  The author did a good job getting inside the heads of the characters. A novel worth trying, despite a slow start.

4/5 stars
(review copy)

It Was Me All Along; Andie Mitchell
Clarkson Potter/Crown/Random House - 2015

I've always enjoyed an occasional dose of memoirs, especially those that I can relate to in some way. Dysfunctional childhoods, individuals who have overcome adversity and memoirs that are a bit odd or quirky rate high on my list. An example is, The Removers by Andrew Meredith which I read this year.

It Was Me All Along is a memoir that pulled me in right away.  Andie Mitchell grew up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father who was verbally abusive to Andie's mother. When her father lost his job, her mother worked more than one job in a day with no help with the household duties. Her older brother developed a stutter and played sports, staying out until dark to avoid the chaos at home. When Andie mother went to work and Andie was stuck at home, she cried and cried and numbed her sadness with food. There was no one to help her with school projects or attend school events so chose not to participate in any extracurricular programs at school.  Food soon became a source of comfort and by the age of 14 she tipped the scale at 200lbs. By the time she reached the age of 20 her weight had reached 300lbs.

It Was Me All Along is Andie's personal story of her internal struggles with self, food, and body image and how obesity impacted her childhood and high school years. Amazingly, Andie successfully lost 135lbs, but her relationship with food, like most individuals who battle weight issues is a source of ongoing focus. For Andie and many individuals, learning not to see food as a drug to be consumed mindlessly when feeling angry, sad, lonely or anytime comfort is needed is a lifelong job.

The book felt honest and never preachy and I was glad I had a chance to read Andie's story.  In many ways, I saw myself in Andie the child.  The author has her own blog, canyoustayfordinner?

4/5 stars
(egalley and audio)


  1. I think I've read, and loved, Lansen's work before so I'd be willing to give The Mountain Story a try. Of course, It Was Me All Along appeals to me - it's a memoir.

  2. These both sound excellent. Looks like 2015 has some good reading in store!

  3. It was Me All Along sounds like a good one. Tragic, but hopeful as well. Happy New Year!

  4. These both sound good, Diane. Especially the memoir. I hope you have a very Happy New Year!

  5. Both sound good though I'm especially drawn to It Was Me All Along. It sounds like it really spoke to you. I'll definitely have to look for it. Great reviews!


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