Klonopin Lunch: a Memoir

From  Jackie Cantwell
Author:  Jessica Dorfman Jones
Klonopin Lunch: a Memoir
What happens when a married lawyer with a hum-drum life gets a taste of Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll? Read this well-crafted memoir to find out. Jessica, a product of New York’s Upper East Side, always played by the rules, which included excelling at the finest schools and marrying her college boyfriend. Enter a handsome guitar teacher, and at the age of thirty, she forgets the life she knew. Their flirtation becomes a full-blown affair, and she starts to take illegal drugs, gets tattooed, and fancies herself a rock star. She writes songs with the guitar teacher’s pal, becomes the lead singer of a fledgling rock band, and stays out ‘til all hours of the night, thus testing the limits of her husband’s understanding and support. This tale of sexual obsession and codependency is painfully honest. She often doesn’t come across as very likeable or sympathetic. Yes, she’s selfish, and yes, she ought to know better. There are very funny sections, including the lunch with her gay pal, where the book gets its title. It could be said that New York City is another character in the book; the evocative descriptions of Manhattan are such that you can almost smell the spilled beer and cigarette smoke in the clubs. There are graphic depictions of sexual activity and drug use, so this book is not for the squeamish or the prudish.

I’ll mature when I’m dead : Dave Barry’s amazing tales of adulthood

From Jackie Cantwell
Author:  Dave Barry
I’ll mature when I’m dead : Dave Barry’s amazing tales of adulthood
This is another laugh-out-loud book from my favorite funny man. With chapters covering topics such as fatherhood, technology, dog ownership, Dave’s Hollywood career and visiting Miami, you’re sure to find a favorite. Two chapters are hilarious parodies of the recent popular phenomena: The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer and “24” the television show starring Kiefer Sutherland. My favorite is  “Tips for visiting Miami: No. 1: Are you insane?” This had me in stitches: “We also have a growing population of unwelcome out-of-town wildlife species that have come here and clearly intend to stay. Two invasive species in particular have caused serious concern: Burmese pythons, and New Yorkers. The New Yorkers have been coming for years, which is weird because pretty much all they do once they get to Florida is bitch about how everything here sucks compared to the earthly paradise that is New York. They continue to root, loudly, for the Jets, the Knicks, the Mets, and the Yankees; they never stop declaring, loudly, that in New York the restaurants are better, the stores are nicer, the people are smarter, the public transportation is free of sharks, etc.” Dave has a most unique suggestion for handling the python problem once and for all.

The other side of suffering : the father of JonBenet Ramsey tells the story of his journey from grief to grace

From Jackie Cantwell
Author:  John Ramsey 
The other side of suffering : the father of JonBenet Ramsey tells the story of his journey from grief to grace
John Ramsey has suffered more loss in his life than most could bear.  You may know him as the father of the murdered child, JonBenet Ramsey. You may not know that he also lost his oldest daughter from his first marriage, Beth, in a car accident.  He also lost JonBenet’s mother, Patsy, to cancer in 2006. He shares the real story of the aftermath of JonBenet’s murder and why he “lawyered up” quickly. He tells of the nightmare of living under suspicion by the Boulder, CO police and of the paparazzi chasing him, his son Burke, and his wife. He also found kindness in unlikely places, when strangers would approach him with comforting words. He also had a supporter in the detective Lou Smit, who posited the intruder theory, and later became friends with John.

 This is a heartbreaking memoir as well as a spiritual biography.  John regrets that he had practically no relationship with God when his life was going well. He went to India recently as part of his spiritual quest, which was life-changing. He shares the mistakes he has made: “Our ability to make good decisions is damaged after tragedy, because we are not thinking clearly. The best thing I could have done was to put my life in park for a while. I was eager to start climbing again and didn’t realize I hadn’t stopped the fall yet. Here are some suggestions for stopping the fall, the first being, and if you get no other point of advice from this book, please hear this one: After you have suffered a tragic circumstance in your life, press the pause button and put your life on hold. Do not make any big decisions or moves. Focus on stopping the fall first. Realize also that this ‘life hold’ will be necessary for longer than you think.”

 A friend of John’s told him that “Hope is the belief that your best days lie ahead of you”. After grieving for 15 years, John finally has hope.

To Selena, With Love

From Jackie Cantwell
Author:  Chris Perez
To Selena, With Love
Chris wants you to know that he is more than “the widower of the Queen of Tejano music ,Selena Quintanilla Perez.” Chris was the guitarist for Selena’s band. This is a loving tribute to the Latin music superstar who was gunned down by her fan club president in 1995. Selena won Grammy awards and was poised to be a crossover artist in the same way as Gloria Estefan when she died. But her fans loved her not just because of her music. She gave so much of herself in each concert. She spent lots of time signing autographs after her concerts and made a special effort to reach out to her young fans and those who were sick or disadvantaged. She also adopted animals, including several dogs. Chris tells of her adventurous and daredevil side, where she learned how to ride a motorcycle, went bungee jumping, and loved to drive her cars fast.  She also loved celebrating Christmas and the simpler things like cooking and cleaning the house.  As a child of divorce, Chris never thought much of marriage. But Selena broke down his defenses and taught him how to love.  She had the most exuberant spirit and loved to try new things. He says her laughter was contagious. Chris’s first love was rock and roll and heavy metal music, which he has returned to since Selena’s death. This book is a rare glimpse into the life of a multi-faceted performer.

Small Hotel

From Catherine Given
Author:  Robert Olen  Butler
Small Hotel
It’s amazing what the element of suspense adds to most any plot. I picked up A Small Hotel by Robert Olen Butler expecting to read the sad tale of a couple’s separation after 20 years. Instead, because the book juxtaposes flashbacks of the couple’s first meeting with a dangerous present-day situation spinning out of control, I couldn’t put it down. Butler is highly adept at capturing both male and female voices delivering a strong dose of emotional truth. The setting further heightens the novel’s impact, highlighting the contrast between the hushed luxury of a landmark New Orleans hotel, and the messy, stressful challenges of an American marriage.

By nightfall

From Michele Lauer-Bader
author: Cunningham, Michael
By nightfall
By Nightfall takes place in NYC’s Soho. The all-right comfortable marriage of Peter and Rebecca Harris reaches a crisis when Rebecca’s much-younger brother Mizzy (Ethan) comes for a brief stay. Mizzy has a continuing drug problem and a “what will I do with my life” decision to make. When he comes to NYC to perhaps start over, Peter finds himself infatuated with his brother-in-law. The story moves along at a slow even pace until the end when Mizzy’s motives are revealed and Peter and Rebecca make a decision about their marriage.