Saturday, July 4, 2015

One Of Everything - a bookwrap

Unwrapping quotes about freedom...

Unwrapping today's featured adult book...

How does one find a place in her world where she is happy and content and fits in?  How does one know what lifestyle suits her, what location to live in and with whom, and the magic formula to make her own personal life satisfying and worth while?  All these questions are pending as the author tries to devise the perfect recipe for a happily-ever-after life.  

In 1976 the author starts exploring to find love and acceptance.  She travels, attends Berkeley University, expands her mind with drugs, and broadens her sexual life with interracial and bisexual affairs. Still searching for happiness she marries, divorces and dabbles in paganism. Donna finds Salsa dancing to be very therapeutic, finds her way into Mormonism, a Temple wedding and then the mother of three adopted siblings.  Are these the ingredients she needs to finally find peace and contentment?  

"From shame to self-acceptance, from sexual ambiguity to definitive choice, from skepticism to belief, Donna Carol Voss's journey from childhood to marriage and motherhood is both unique and universal, a story that will resonate long after the last page is read."

On a personal note I really like the book.  I think so many of us are trying to find that perfect nirvana, a place to finally stop and put down our roots, a place where we have arrived.  Unfortunately that can take time and many ups and down before reaching our own personal Shangri-la. The message to the reader is both inspiring  and hopeful. She did reach her happily-ever-after place after going through  many trials and tribulations.  Out of disorder and confusion emerged happiness and inward peace.

Unwrapping an expert from the book...


“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”
—AndrΓ© Gide, Autumn Leaves

I am a woman with a past. I never met a door I didn’t open. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, I bet it all on firsthand experience. The only question now is what to tell the broad- shouldered man across from me. He is not right for me—too old, too already-done-that—and I am, improbably now at thirty-eight, determined to start a family. We don’t add up on paper, yet his vivid sky blues, leveled at me patiently, waiting for me to speak, pull me in. Soft warmth suffuses through me and despite myself, I see a future. Telling him is only right.
A forgettable sports bar with a summertime Formula One race blaring from each television is the crossroads of my past life and unlikely future. We are alone in the restaurant but for the beer drinkers and occasional margarita skirts lapping the bar. Above our table, a solitary fixture beams its spotlight onto our unfolding passion play, and I hear my cue.
“I need to tell you some things about my history,” I start and then hesitate as self- protection battles honest disclosure; I am no stranger to rejection.
He doesn’t react visibly, but I know these church boys, so sheltered, so naΓ―ve. I’m afraid he will never see me the same way again. My insides, a moment ago so soft and warm, twist into a sinking, dull heaviness. I am no stranger to panic either. At least that’s what I would have called it at fourteen had I been able to feel anything after the bomb went off in my life.
My face shows none of the apprehension welling up in my chest. I know this because my
gift from the trauma, the silver lining that embroiders its bittersweet edge around every wound, is the ability to project a strength and a confidence so absolute they reveal nothing else. If what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, what almost kills you makes you near invincible. Pretending for years afterward, even to myself, that everything was fine, that I was fine, had solidified into a facade of smoothest granite. Under our bright spotlight, all he sees is a very put-together brunette, a woman who’s quite sure of herself and her place in the world. He is, paradoxically, both correct and beguiled.
We met at church, which makes it even more difficult to say the things I have to say. Late to the party of organized religion, I am not haloed in the blushing aura of goodliness he may expect. My crown, rather, is one of hard-fought life experience woven with Siamese twin strands of gratitude and remorse. Every awful, disturbing, exhilarating moment made me who I am, including the ones for which I will have eternal sorrow.
I want to tell him that I ache for many of the things I’ve done but harbor secret glee for others, certain scandalously thrilling experiences that happen only on the edges of propriety. I need him to understand that some things were done out of emotional pain or the scraggly search for meaning, and some were done out of the darkness of ignorance, but many were done because I hungered for and don’t regret the experience. I need him to see that I am not the person I used to be, and yet I vaulted each wave with the same courage and integrity I possess now.
I find his eyes, and he is still there, still patiently waiting. It is now or never. “I’ve been divorced,” I say, testing the water with my easy one.
He breaks into a broad grin, so handsome with his salt-and-pepper hair. “Don’t feel like the lone ranger on that!” he chuckles somewhat ruefully. 

About the author...

Donna Carol Voss’s life experience has been eclectic; it includes just about everything but mainlining heroin and going to jail, and she missed jail by only a hair. She is a Berkeley grad, a stay-at-home mom, a former pagan, and a devout Mormon.
A study in extremes, she is a fifty-something homemaker who loves rap music, outrageously expensive shoes, and people who own their flaws and call her on hers. She is uncomfortable negotiating the price of anything but relishes intense emotional interactions, especially if they are about politics and religion. Raised in the shadow of luxury, her favorite vacation is camping. She is an eternal optimist who is endlessly fascinated by the dark side of good people. Anxious to be liked by all, she has written a memoir that is sure to provoke everyone about something. 
Words are Donna’s first love, whether used with laser-like precision or nuanced artistry. A highlight of her life, reflected on fondly and often, is the time she crafted the French equivalent of “get lost”—phrased in the subjunctive with rich vulgarity—when her first boyfriend dumped her. She is now married to a former Navy Commander for whom words are more of a guideline, and this a source of more humor and less frustration as the years go by.
Since becoming Mormon at thirty-eight, Voss misses coffee desperately. She does not, however, miss alcohol or profanity, perhaps because she had “an elegant sufficiency,” her mother would have said, of the latter.
Donna Carol Voss and her husband adopted an eight-year-old boy, his five-year-old sister, and their one-year-old brother, an act which elicits nearly universal praise and which, it must be said in all honesty, she does not deserve since she really didn’t know what she was getting herself into. She will accept some credit for still hanging in ten years later, and for making her best effort to like soccer, board games, and Disney movies. Her nineteen-year-old is now an Eagle Scout and a high school graduate; her sixteen-year-old is a lovely young woman, giving and kind; her eleven-year-old is a charismatic entrepreneur-in-the-making. They are all doomed to a life of correct grammar and old-fashioned etiquette.
If she could do anything she wanted, it would be weeding—while listening to an audiobook—or public speaking. If she could eat only one food the rest of her life, it would be peanut butter fudge. If there are rays of sunshine anywhere near her, she has to be in them.

Read on and read always!

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