Saturday, September 15, 2018

Robin by Dave Itzkoff

RobinRobin by Dave Itzkoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book upon recommendations of several people who know that my family is dealing with Lewy Body Dementia. I will admit, at times this book was extremely difficult to read due to the extremely strong language used within. I laughed, I cried, I got mad while reading this book.

I grew up watching Mork & Mindy, in which Robin Williams played an alien. I loved that show as a kid and it was my first introduction into what would become one of my favorite all-time actors. What I didn't know growing up, and even into my adult years, was the grief and hardships that Robin overcame and continued to face to become the actor that he was. Robin grew up pretty isolated and alone. He had just about anything a kid could have ever wanted, except the time and attention from his parents that he so craved. He developed his own friends in the far room in the mansion he grew up in. Friends made of plastic molds that he could turn into any character.

This book focuses much on Robin's career. The highs, the lows, and the in-betweens. It talks of his family, the half-brothers that were closer than brothers to him, his mom Laurie, whom he thought hung the moon and stars, the three wives and various girlfriends he had, and his three children. It also talks of the close friendships he had with the likes of Billy Crystal and Christopher Reeve.

Robin was a pretty private person, considering he was an international star and celebrity. There is much of his life that I would have never known not reading this book. I wasn't reading this book though to learn about his celebrity status or what got him there. I was reading it to get a glimpse of the man he was leading up to his decision to hang himself that fateful August day. He spent most of his life lonely, depressed, strung out on drugs, addicted to alcohol, and fraternizing with various women. That's a side I would have not known of had I not read this book. Robin made everyone happy around him....except for himself. How can someone who brings such joy to others be so secluded?

There are three movies that he did that will forever be among my all-time favorites. First of all, Patch Adams. I was surprised to learn that he hated everything about that movie and didn't want to be known for it. Maybe it's the nurse in me that loved that one so much but I thought he did a fabulous job. Next, Mrs. Doubtfire. This one is my all-time favorite of his. There is something about the character, Daniel, in this movie, along with Mrs. Doubtfire, that makes it so believable. Maybe it was the issues he was dealing with at the time that spilled into his performance here to make it so. I also thoroughly enjoyed Dead Poets Society. The whole story line resonates with me so much about the desire to help others become better people. The way that movie inspired me to be a better teacher is, in part, due to Robin's sharing of himself through his acting.

While no one will ever fully know what was going through Robin's head the night of that fateful event, we can all be assured that there are researchers out there working on a cure towards this horrible disease. Many people didn't even know that Robin had been (mis) diagnosed with Parkinson's disease until after his death. It wasn't until an autopsy was performed that it was discovered he had, in fact, Lewy Body Dementia.

I would urge anyone personally dealing with this disease to seek help. Find people whom you can talk to. If you are the family member of someone dealing with this ugly disease, I would encourage you to do the same. Do not go through this alone! There are groups on social media, as well as professional counselors and support groups to help you through this. Love on those around you dealing with this and realize that they don't know what's going on with them. It's hard. I know. Reach out to me if you need to as well. Continue on in the fight against this ugly disease and pray for a way to slow down the progression and deal with the side effects so that those afflicted can have a better quality of life.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, with a bit of hesitation. There is a lot of very strong language within. There are situations that are not appropriate for immature minds. If you are only interested in the disease progression, just read the last 3 chapters of the book. You'll get what you need from there.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

The 36 Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease.... by Nancy L. Mace

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later LifeThe 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life by Nancy L. Mace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I didn't have to read this book. I wish no one had to read a book like this. Not because it's a bad book (because it isn't), but because this disease is so ugly! This book is highly recommended for anyone who is dealing with a family member, friend, or going through dementia themselves. In my particular case, we are dealing with Lewy Body Dementia. I'd heard many people recommend this book in different support groups I'm in. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to have read this but it hurt. This book will tell you how it is dealing with someone with dementia. There is no sugar coating situations. It's raw and at times, incredibly hard to read.

The author of this book made certain to cover just about every topic a family member could have when dealing with dementia. Basic symptoms are discussed, medications that are commonly prescribed along with their side effects, behaviors to look out for, modifications that may need to be made to a home or a person's life. Also, how to deal with caregiver strain (yes, it's a real serious thing), how to talk to children who may be affected, how to find a home, if needed, for the person with dementia, resources available, and so much more. As a former member of the healthcare community, I thought this book wouldn't really teach me many different things, but it did.

I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone dealing with dementia. This book is written so that you only have to read the parts you want to, but I highly recommended reading it all. There is a lot to be learned from the information shared in this book. Finally, I would also recommend that if you are a caregiver, that you take to heart the tips given in this book. Dealing with situations like dementia can cause a lot of strife in your personal life, it can destroy family relationships, and have children feeling left out. Please seek out help from professionals if needed as well. This is tough and know that I'm praying for all of you dealing with this.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser

The Fashion DesignerThe Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been on a reading break for too long!!! This book took me awhile to read only because of my super busy schedule. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Annie's story of how she came from rags to riches! Her bravery in leaving her service position to escape to what she hoped would be a better life in America kept my interest the entire time. The historical accuracy of the book was also a breath of fresh air and the author really put a lot of time and effort into getting it as right as possible.

This book has several ups and downs and the story line flowed freely. I loved the note at the end about how the characters will make appearances in other novels so that the reader can still follow their story. Overall, this was a fulfilling summer read!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion. Many thanks to NetGalley, Barbour Publishing, and Nancy Moser for allowing me to review this story!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Cycle Three: The Probing by Bill Myers, Frank E. Peretti, Angela Elwell Hunt, and Alton Gansky

Cycle Three: The Probing (Harbingers #9-12)Cycle Three: The Probing by Bill Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, I took a major reading break. I don't want to do that again!!!

This book was presented to me to review by the publisher. These novellas are #9-12 in a series. I missed the first 2 books (or 8 novellas) so I will admit, I was lost on the characters and their previous adventures. That being said, I could still follow the 4 different stories but was a little frustrated by the missing holes in some of the situations.

"Leviathan" is the first novella in this book. Imagine a reality show like "Fear Factor" only it's life or death. The team of Tank, Brenda, Andi, the Professor, and Daniel are invited out to a taping of this popular show. Everyone starts hearing weird things and exhibiting even stranger behaviors. The team has to figure out what's behind all this "weirdness" before it's too late.

What a swashbuckling adventure was had in "Mind Pirates". Andi is abducted by pirates and the rest of the team has to figure out how to get her safely returned. In the meantime, she knows things she doesn't know and the pirates are using this to their advantage. Of the four stories, I had the hardest time with this one.

Did you ever watch the movie "Children of the Corn"? That's what "Hybrids" reminded me of!! Dark-eyed children walking around doing strange things to make people disappear is the subject of this novella. If you see these children, you should run for your life and hide or you might be the next to disappear. Also, we learn about the Professor and his research in this story.

Last, but not least, the team finds themselves in a very unique village called Newland. The people here are straight out of an episode of Twilight Zone!! They talk weird, look even stranger, and warn the team to get out before it's too late. Will the team ever get back to "normalcy"?

Overall, I found this book to be interesting. I have mixed feelings about it, only because I hadn't read the other books previous to this one. I am interested in going back to read those so I can put some pieces together. This particular book can still be enjoyed as a stand-alone book. I love the sci-fi aspect and it's been awhile since I've read at all, but even longer since reading sci-fi. I would recommend this book to teens and adults how love sci-fi, Twilight Zone, etc!!

Thank you to the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my personal review. All thoughts are my own.

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