Thursday, January 29, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Women of Duck Commander by Kay, Korie, Missy, Jessica, and Lisa Robertson

Title:  The Women of Duck Commander

Authors:  Kay, Korie, Missy, Jessica, and Lisa Robertson

Narrators: Kay, Korie, Missy, Jessica, and Lisa Robertson, Alex Robertson Mancuso

Unabridged Length: 6 hrs, 22 mn.

Here is a summary of the book from the publisher's website:
In the pages of this book, you'll find both fun and inspirational stories . . .

Kay shares the honest story of her relationship with Phil-and his wild and philandering years-and the challenges of being a teenage mother. Even more amazing, she shares the forgiveness she offered Phil and how they have now celebrated forty-eight years of marriage.

Korie tells of her first encounter with Phil when she was in just the fifth grade. At that first meeting Phil came right out and told her what good husbands his boys would make and that she should keep an eye on them. She also shares the reaction her parents had when she told them that she and Willie were getting married when she was only eighteen.

Missy tells the story of their daughter, Mia, who was born with a cleft palate, and their adjustments to this condition and Mia's joyful spirit that inspires them all.

Jessica recounts her first conversation with Jep and how unimpressed she was when Jep bragged that his dad was the Duck Commander Phil Robertson. She told him she'd heard of Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, and Duck, Duck, Goose-but not the Duck Commander.

Lisa reveals the serious marriage problems she and Al had problems that almost ended their marriage for good and how they worked through those issues to have a more stable and loving marriage than she ever imagined possible.

My Review:
If you are a fan of Duck Dynasty this is one book you will not want to miss.  I listened to Happy, Happy, Happy on audio and new that I had to follow that up with the women's story.  All of the women give little tidbits of their lives as they open their hearts to us.

The one thing that resonates loudly for me from this book is the relationship Miss Kay has with all of her daughters-in-law.  She takes each of them under her wings and accepts them for who they are.  And in return, these ladies treat Miss Kay with the respect she so well deserves.

The Robertson clan has obviously come a long way, but life wasn't always full of roses and butterflies for this family.  Before Phil became a man of God, he led a life that is not suitable for a young family.  But Miss Kay did not have an alternative, she raised her boys the best she could, even when Phil was not around.  I knew Phil was not a good man in the early days of their life together, but Kay did not sugarcoat it.  I have to admit that while listening to this book, I actually became quite angry with Phil, but thankful that he found the Lord and changed his ways.

I think one of the most powerful stories in this book is when Lisa shared her story.  I'm sure it was hard for her to confide in us about her tragic past, and I can't help but appreciate her as a woman.  I don't want to give away anything about her story as I feel it should only be told by her.  She also shares with us the ups and downs of her marriage to Alan, taking full responsibility for any wrongdoing she may have caused.

Although I enjoyed listening to Lisa's story the most, all of these christian women have plenty to contribute with their personal tidbits.  Each of the women narrate their own segments, and I have to admit that as much as I respect these ladies, I did not care for their narration at all.  That honestly is my only criticism of this book, and had I physically read the book I'm sure I wouldn't have a negative word to say.

With themes of family, love, and forgiveness, I'm sure many of you will enjoy this book as much as I did.  I recommend this book for either personal leisure or as a book club selection, especially for the christian readers.  And please keep in mind that my rating is specifically for the audio version.

My Rating: 3/5

Disclosure:  This audiobook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Here is a summary of the book from the Goodreads website:
The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

My Review:
This is a wonderful story that plunges us into the lives of two people on completely different roads of their lives.  On the outside they appear to be complete opposites, but through their companionship they find a common bond.  There are two parallel stories being told.  Vivian's story takes places years ago, while we hear Molly's story in the present tense.  This method does not always work for me, but the Orphan Train had me hooked from page one.

Molly is a young girl who unfortunately is a product of our foster care system.  She has a mother who couldn't handle the responsibility of caring for another person, so early on Molly was removed from her care.  Molly struggles to find both her identity and her place in the world.  When she is faced with the project of helping an old woman clean out her attic, she cannot know that she will finally come to terms with the person she truly is.

As Molly helps Vivian sort through all the items in her attic, the task apparently is going to take longer than anticipated.  Every item has a story that needs to be shared and Vivian can't seem to part with a thing.  So rather than throwing items in the trash or sending to a thrift store, they organize the remnants from Vivian's past, as Molly learns about the life this woman led.  Molly never would have guessed that Vivian was once penniless and orphaned, as she herself is today.

The most important part of this novel was learning about the real orphan trains that brought children of all ages across the country in search of homes for them.  I'm sure there are plenty of good stories, but many experiences seemed to mirror Vivian's, as the children were advertised as cheap labor.  Your heart will probably break, as mine did, just trying to imagine the living conditions these children were placed in.

This truly was a wonderful story bringing to life to me a period of history that was new to me.  With themes of family, secrets, and friendship, I'm sure you will enjoy this book as much as I did.  I highly recommend this book for both personal leisure or as a book club discussion.

My Rating:  5/5

Disclosure:  This book is from my personal library and I read it for my own entertainment and as a book club selection.