Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Sitting Swing by Irene Watson - A book review

The Sitting Swing
Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference

by Irene Watson

Reviewed by Beverly Pechin for Review The Book

Sits Upon Your Heart

The Sitting Swing's cover leads one to believe in the freedom of the swing, the feeling of light hearted flight & carefree sunny days. Those are my first thoughts as I look at the cover, but as I slowly delve into the meat and potatoes of the book itself I realize that a swing can portray so much more to someone else. This is her story. This is her way to relinquish the heavy burdens put upon her from childhood and she does a wonderful job of bringing life back into the idea of swinging freely to her readers. As you begin the journey with her you move from the absolute depths of a childhood prison to the breaking out moment of Irene Watson's life at Avalon.

The book begins with a brief encounter with a place called Avalon. While some may know of the place, I feel safe to guess that the average person is clueless what this place is or anything about; self included. Avalon is a "recovery" place, not meant just for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts but for truly anyone in the world, as we all face addictions of some type. The book takes a break from the 28 days at Avalon to delve into the childhood of the author and never before in my life have I read anything that will so quickly make you take a step back and wonder how anyone could raise a child like this and feel it's "normal", yet the more you read and ache with this child the more you realize that the parents truly think what they are doing is "best" for the child. It's an amazing story of how a mother literally captured the childhood of her daughter and never let her grow. To be honest I was at a loss for words for the review because the only thing I could keep saying after reading the book was "wow". I literally had to take a day to let it all sink in and think about it, in order to figure out how to accurately give this book justice with my words because only one word is truly applicable and that word is "wow".

This is a book that would serve well for so many reasons. It's obviously a book that would serve a purpose to anyone in the psychology industry or to anyone who has dealt with any type of addiction or abuse in their life in any way, shape or form. But above the obvious surface of psychological purpose, this book honestly brings one to a point of stepping back and asking a lot of questions about life itself. You start to realize, as it's pointed out at Avalon, that everyone has an addiction; the only difference is that not everyone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, there is so much more in this world that can truly hinder your ability to live life to the fullest and simply accept the things that hold you down.

I won't explain the idea of the "the sitting swing" itself but suffice it to say that when you think of a child and a swing you will never look at it the same way again. Swings are meant to breathe life and happiness into a simple, innocent child and not to hold that child prisoner. Irene Watson has brought an amazing story and an amazing recovery to her readers. It's a must read for anyone human because we all need to learn how to never be captured on our own sitting swing in life. Five star material and honestly a book that I'd recommend to anyone and everyone. This one will stay in my permanent library for sure!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Multiple Sclerosis - The Many Faces of The Disease

Multiple Sclerosis - The Many Faces of The Disease

by Kathy Reed

Reviewed by Beverly Pechin for Review The Book

As someone who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), I knew that this book would be something that I would either love or hate. I tend to be very harsh on anything that comes out discussing this disease, simply because I have it and know the facts. While no 2 people with MS are the same, we do share many similar symptoms. All too often the first words you read in any book on MS is "MS doesn't kill people" and while this may be true to some degree, it angers me because it's like saying "that Mac truck didn't kill him when it hit him"... technically it didn't, but the results OF that hit were what killed him and often the symptoms of MS are what take someone down. That doesn't mean we have a death sentence, I'm proof of that, but don't dismiss the disease with such nonchalant comments. Of course that's my opinion, but I'll stand by it! So, when Reed's book didn't start out with this big introduction of how MS isn't a death sentence, I was impressed on that fact alone!

Multiple Sclerosis - The Many Faces of the Disease
is really a wonderful book to keep handy for anyone who has MS, especially when someone comes into your life and is clueless what MS is really about. While I personally didn't find it helpful for my own use, simply because I've had the disease for so long, I would have LOVED having it available to me at the time of my diagnosis. I wish I had known about it or had it available when I was diagnosed in 1995! For this reason alone, I highly recommend the book to anyone newly diagnosed with the disease or with anyone who's recently come into the life of someone with MS. You need to know the truth, the facts and the stories behind the faces of MS and Reed provides just this opportunity!

Reed has some particular cases she talks about, discusses the disease itself in the most basic of ways and gives some pretty comprehensible descriptions of what MS is and how it can act. The book is small, concise and covers just about every aspect you can imagine about MS from what the disease is to what some people can do to keep the disease under control. It's honest and not at all frightening to the reader, which is a huge plus with this disease. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who wants to explain the disease to someone in their life (children, spouse, family, new romantic partner, co-workers) that could really use some enlightenment on what MS is and how it works. Keep a copy in your library if you have MS or better yet, if you know someone who has MS that may need the help in explaining this confusing disease and all it presents to their life to someone they care about.

Kudos Ms. Reed in a book that was well thought out, well written and simple yet concise!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Dirty Little Secrets - The Tony Mandarich Story: A Book Review

My Dirty Little Secrets
Steroids, Alcohol & God
The Tony Mandarich Story

By Tony Mandarich, as told to Sharon Shaw Elrod
Available at Amazon.Com

One Man, Two Souls
Review by Beverly Pechin for Review The Book

As a sports fan I recall the days of Tony Mandarich's entry into the NFL & all the hoopla about his entry into the draft. While I am and shall always remain a Steelers fan, I didn't pay a lot of attention to names outside of my own little world of Pittsburgh per say, but I do recall the draft and excitement with Mandarich. I also recall the Sports Illustrated issue that professed Mandarich as "The Incredible Bulk". This man had a brief moment in my world where even I, myself, was in awe. He fell off my radar quickly though and I never really thought about what had happened to him in between. I'm not even sure if he HAD been on my radar I would have truly known his true story until now, and Mandarich not only opened up heart and soul but told it with grit, truth and a lot of harsh reality.

We've all seen and read the tell all books of former stars & players that quickly scream out big names of all those who even touched their lives during their days of "usage". Most are pretty much the same, "I made it big.. I did drugs.. I fell... I'm doing a tell all book and tossing out big names of those I did the drugs with, in hopes to sell tons of books!". Mandarich does none of that. He's open, honest, takes full blame and doesn't point fingers. Not once do you read another stars name in a way that Mandarich points fingers and "narcs" out anyone to gain fame and sell his book. I have a lot of respect for anyone that approaches such a book in this way and can only say Kudos to Tony Mandarich. You are, in every aspect of the word, a gentleman.

The story itself isn't pretty. It's blunt, it's ugly and it's truthful. It's addiction. It's also enlightening, both for those of us whom have never experienced such horrid events in our life and I'm certain, to many who are currently in the same boat as Tony had been. It's the story of one man who, somehow, found another soul and another chance at life.

Probably one of my favorite parts of the book has nothing to do with the sports aspect itself, it has to do with when Tony was first beginning his road to recovery and finds his "Soul Guide". The depth, the absolute bizarreness of the entire event leaves one speechless and knowing that something like this simply cannot be made up but only told from an actual heartfelt experience. My second favorite part is the little "dig" he gets in on former 2007 Chargers defensive back, Rodney Harrison. It's one of the few times that a name is even mentioned per say but the small appreciation you know he got with the sarcastic words "Way to go Rodney" simply made me smile.

The book is written with an easy flow that provids for quick and easy reading. It's profound in so many ways, yet not so deep you get lost in the words. It's enlightening and most of all it's soul searching style leaves you cheering for this man who began his journey in the world of sports completely wrong, only to find the right path by a miracle of miracles and realize what life is truly all about. A man who literally lost his soul, only to find it again and learn to nurture and appreciate it fully.