From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings
Title: The possibilities
The Possibilities, by the author who wrote the novel that became the Academy Award-winning film, “The Descendants,” is the engrossing story of a woman in Breckenridge, Colorado, whose son is killed in an avalanche. As she copes with her grief, surprises surface – and they don’t seem to be good ones. She finds out disturbing things, and then has to deal with a mystery girl who pops up out of the blue and immediately insinuates herself into the family. The Possibilities is an easy read and compelling story.
From Ellen Druda
Author: Nina Conti
Title: Nina Conti: Her Master’s Voice
This is a strange little film about an equally strange profession, ventriloquism. Nina Conti was a protégé and lover of British theater genius/eccentric Ken Campbell, who encouraged her interest and talent. We tag along on her trip to Kentucky and a ventriloquists convention, also the location of Vent Haven, the resting place for puppets of dead ventriloquists. Nina has a lot of soul searching conversations with her puppet Monkey, with who she shares her hotel bed, about the death of Campbell and the retirement of his favorite puppet and alter ego to Vent Haven. She also interviews some of her fellow performers at the convention about the art and technique of ventriloquism. Conti is a YouTube star and the reason is obvious after watching her amazing performances in this film. Beyond the predictable voice throwing gymnastics, she questions identity and ego and the blurry boundaries between them. VERDICT: This film confirms my long held belief regarding ventriloquists’ dummies — they are real!
From Jackie Cantwell
Author: Judy Heath
No time for tears: surviving grief in America
Judy is a psychotherapist who used to practice in Huntington, but moved to Charleston, SC. She is an experienced bereavement specialist who counseled firemen and cops after 9/11. This is an excellent book with concrete, real-life suggestions to help one who is grieving. The author shares case studies of individuals crippled by grief who were able to function again through talk therapy. There are chapters designated for each type of grief, such as loss of a child, a spouse, a parent, a pet, etc. There are also sections on how children and the elderly handle grief. There are pointers on how to re-frame the experience for those who blame themselves for their loss. She also addresses how to cope with the things that well-meaning people say to the survivor, which usually have the opposite effect. Judy’s compassion and calm tone come through in each passage. She seems to possess a special empathy with grievers because, as she shares in the beginning, she lost her infant son. Judy describes different symptoms and behaviors in grievers and when to seek professional help. There is an excellent resources section in the back with organizations which help different types of sufferers.