When I was in high-school I spent a pretty significant amount of time in the library. Skipping class. (Sorry Mom) I never read while in the library (Lord forbid) instead I people watched. More specifically I watched Ms. Ashmore, our Librarian. Every day, while I sat in the corner trying to concoct some ridiculous plan to get out of history class (which was taught by Satan) she sat, nose in book, Kleenex in hand.
One day, while she was knee deep in snot and splotchy faced I braved the harsh realities of florescent lighting, emerged from my lady cave, and asked her what she was reading (so I could avoid it like the plague. I’m an ugly crier.) She said it was a memoir about a Geisha. I balked. No, really, I balked…out loud…to her face.
Stunned by my action (and complete lack of respect. Yes, I suck.) she told me to sit down.
“Misty, one day, when you are tired of brooding in the corner like some pathetic emo kid whose dog just died (totally deserved that) you are going to realize something. Life is just a series of lessons. Lessons that are taught to us by others.”
Unconvinced I said the first thing that popped into my head. “Memoirs suck. Why would I want to spend my valuable time reading about someone else’s pathetic existence when all I have to do is open my eyes and see a million carbon copies of the same crap walking the halls?” (Yeah, I was a bad-ass! *sigh*)
“Because they are interesting. And one day, when you are finally adult, AND get that chip off your shoulder long enough to let people in, you will understand the importance of them.”
Now, before I go on I’ll admit that I did (immediately after Ms. Ashmore left for lunch and the student aid took over) check out Memoirs of a Geisha. And, to this day it is still one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, I’m still as hard headed as ever and until Jonna Ivin sent me a copy of her novel “Will Love 4 Crumbs” I had NEVER read another memoir.
Ms. Ashmore was right. GD it!
“Raised by an alcoholic mother and without a father, Jonna learned at a young age to put her needs on the back-burner. After her mother dies of cancer, she goes on a spiritual journey looking for enlightenment and a purpose for her life. Eventually, she ends up as a volunteer in the relief effort following Hurricane Ike. There she meets a man who will forever change her life.
In the swamps of Louisiana and the hills of Arkansas, Jonna follows her heart to build a life with an American hero – a 20 year veteran of the Army Special Forces. Only after uprooting her whole life, leaving everything and everyone she knows behind, do the pieces of this fairytale start to unravel. Realizing the man of her dreams is actually the stuff of nightmares; Jonna must once again go within and discover why she is a woman willing to love for crumbs.”
I am not going to say this book was perfect. As a matter of fact it was FAR from it. The beginning was incredibly choppy. (It sounded like it had Asthma.) The format was confusing as all get out. (There were flashbacks and quirky time sequences that just didn’t make sense) and every word that I read (for the first 50 pages or so) I regarded as complete and total bull poopie! BULL POOPIE people!
Then something clicked. I realized that Ivin had something legitimate to say, and regardless of her off kilter way of expressing it, it was important. So I stopped being a total brat and listened.
What I heard was a story about a girl who just wanted to be loved, but didn’t know how.
This is not an uncommon problem. There are hordes of children out there just like Jonna Ivin. They are bi-products of their childhood environments. Have a mother that is an alcoholic? Chances are you are going to have some pretty serious trust issues. Daddy took off and left you and your sis high and dry? Let me introduce you to abandonment 101. This is what “Will Love 4 Crumbs” was about. Living through the issues and overcoming their effect.
Was Jonna’s ride a wild one? Without a doubt and at times I (shamefully) found myself agreeing with her overbearing sister. She chose this life, and as screwed up as it was, (aka her crack addicted, compulsive lying, kleptomaniac boyfriend) she CHOSE it! If she didn’t like it, all she had to do was pack her bags and scoot her tiny tushie out the back door. But it wasn’t that simple. Or at least she didn’t realize it was.
Jonna didn’t realize she was holding HERSELF back from being happy. She thought everyone else was, and until someone (that actually DID care about her) told her to buck up and stop living in her self-inflicted world of self-pity, she didn’t realize she was.
The story (yes, I said “story” – it is written as if you are reading FICTION not NON_FICTION) is a high-octane trip through her struggle to get free. Free from her past. Free from her boyfriend, and free from her own self doubt. And despite it’s incredibly rocky beginnings, it morphed into a rather enjoyable memoir. Who would have ever guessed THOSE words would come out of my mouth (er..fingers.)
Here is to hoping the lovely Ms. Ivan finally has her crap together, AND that the process of writing helped her battle her rather large demons, because if she ever goes back to Chris I might just kill her myself. To make a point. (wow…that came off as much more psychotic than I planned. Oh well.)
So should you throw your wallet at this 314 page look at what desperation will get you? If you like memoirs, then yes. I say go for it. Hell, if I can enjoy it there’s no reason you shouldn’t. For the average Joe (aka Romance readers and Fantasy fanatics) take a pass. This isn’t your piece of pie.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: You are always worth much more that YOU perceive you are.
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