Perfect: A Path to Love, Forgiveness and Transformation by Judi Miller is a combination of memoir and a spiritual and motivational self-help book. The main focus is learning how to actually feel your emotions in your body rather than creating negative stories in your head about the events that caused the emotion. The author tells of her personal journey to overcome fear and find her purpose and the path that led her to become the person she was meant to be. The book is divided in to three parts and at the end of each section, Judi provides exercises to put the principles she describes into practice to benefit the reader. Additional resources at the back of the book include a list of her mentors and their websites.
I liked reading about the different people that helped Judi on her journey, especially her healer, Diana, and Spencer the dog. A few of the names that were mentioned were ones that many readers will recognize, since they are well known persons. But most of the names were new to me. I was inspired by the way that Judi kept working to process her feelings despite obstacles and setbacks. One example is how she had to accept that she might never learn all the answers about the secrets she discovered in her family’s past. I liked how she acknowledged that she still struggles at times, but she does not allow that to make her give up.
Judi hid so much from her family and friends and she never mentioned sharing any these things with them in the end, which I would have liked to see. She felt so close with her healer that she could talk about all this to Diana even though it was sometimes delayed. It was mentioned multiple times that Judi did not feel as though she could share the things she was going through with her family because of the fear that she would not be believed or they would not understand.
Perfect: A Path to Love, Forgiveness and Transformation is an uplifting memoir detailing an inspirational personal testimony that affected me greatly. Judi Miller’s impassioned book will take readers on a compelling and contemplative journey that will stay with them long after they are done reading.
Pages: 207 | ASIN: B08CWTLH78
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The Unexpected Journey: Fire and Gold details the obstacles you faced trying to protect and provide for your daughter. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was important for me to share our story because I encountered several parents over the past few years who’s children were victims of sexual assault and rampant bullying. Some of those parents did all that they could to protect their children only to lose them to suicide. Other parents followed a path similar to myself in going through all of the proper channels of authority only for the systems to fail them. Some of those children committed suicide too while others became addicted to drugs and alcohol in an effort to numb their pain. Another subset of parents simply didn’t know what to do and they desperately cried out for help. I helped as many of them as I could on a one to one basis but I found that it wasn’t effective enough. I truly needed to elevate my voice and expose Haelee and myself to help the most people.
Moving along, Haelee published a book entitled The Rules of a Big Boss: A book of self-love on June 25, 2020. That book is a self-help manual for young and adult women to maximize higher levels of self esteem. She was very transparent in it in recounting her issues with low self-esteem, sexual assault, etc and how she overcame it all. People that read it clamored for me to share the rest of the story from my perspective. I was reluctant to do so initially because I wanted to save everything for a future autobiography that she and I would write. COVID and being unemployed allowed a lot of free time hence I decided to share a portion of that future autobiography in the form of a memoir with hopes to help others in their journey particularly those that are struggling with anxiety and depression. I will be submitting that book for a Literary Titan Review within the coming weeks.
You wrote this book with your daughter. What was the writing collaboration process like?
The collaboration process involved a little bickering back and forth between us because I speak one way and she speaks another (Ref: Venus vs Mars). We resultantly had a few starts and stops so that cooler heads could prevail in our tug of war of strong wills. I’m happy that we went through it however because the entire writing experience actually bonded us closer than we were before.
What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
The most important idea was that Fire has three purposes. It can be used to cook, burn, or give light. Cooking is obvious so I won’t get into that. The burning process is important to note however because we all go through trials and tribulations in life. Those trials and tribulations will burn us if we lose sight of God in the experience. Fire will purify us and light our path however if we keep our eyes focused on Him. In so doing He will allow us to walk out of the fire as he did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We will come out as purified Gold when it’s all over. Given those sentiments we should never give up on the journey. We should fight forward knowing that our pain has a purpose. The end result of that purpose will be precious to behold.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
My daughter is the one true gift that I have short of my salvation in Christ. With that being said, I felt like I was going to lose her every day to either suicide or murder. I thought that I had moved past the trauma but some of it still lingers. I literally burst into tears with each keystroke as I recounted the horrors of that portion of the story. I got stuck there and almost gave up the writing process because it was so painful. My friends Kiescha Cherry, Genesis Amaris Kemp, and my editor, Shanique MJ Davis helped me push that pain point however in reminding me that our story needed to be told so that it could help others.
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Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops is a candid memoir detailing the various obstacles in your life and how you faced them. Why was this an important book for you to write?
A: Thank you so much for the thoughtful question. This book is my hope, as an immigrant, to share my cultural background with my children, who were born and raised here in the U.S. and have little connection with their Chinese roots. In part, it’s a family history project. And family means everything to me. It’s important that I tell my kids my truth about my upbringing and cultural conditioning, so they understand why their Chinese mother thinks and acts the way she does. Understanding is associated with love and acceptance. What great gift would it be if my children understand, love, and accept me, even though I’m so different from their American friends’ moms?
What was one of the hardest moments for you to write about?
A: Oh, there are several, actually. But the hardest of them all has to be the scene where I went to my mother’s house to say good-bye. I didn’t know then that it would be the last time I saw her in this life. There was much that needed to be said but wasn’t, and the regrets haunt me in dreams. My first-born child is now the same age I was when I saw my mother the last time. I can only imagine how it would kill me if my child did the same thing to me. I’m not proud of the twentysomething me and the things I did. Life experiences are the best teacher. I’ve definitely learned from my bad choices and mistakes.
What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this memoir?
A: Thanks for asking such a wonderful question! The first idea that was important for me to explore in this memoir is choice, also known as agency. Most people know that we all have the power to choose. But the less-frequently-discussed fact is that with every choice comes the consequence. When we make a choice, we choose the consequence too. A simple example that illustrates my point is this: If I choose to be kind and to serve others, I choose to feel peace and joy. Ultimately, our lives are a summary of our choices.
Another idea I explored in this memoir is equality. The worth of every soul is equally great in the eyes of God. Understanding this is important, because if we see all human beings the way God sees us, we will love and respect everyone as a child of God and the world will be a much better place. Again, how we treat others is a choice. Building a better world is a choice. Making necessary changes is a choice. You have that choice.
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were fifteen?
A: I wish someone had told me to be patient, humble, and forgiving. I wish I hadn’t been a self-centered fifteen-year-old girl, only caring about MY needs. Why did my parents leave ME to raise MYSELF? Why didn’t they take up their parental responsibility to provide for ME? Why didn’t they love ME?
Because of the childhood neglect and the emotional/physical distance my parents and I created to keep one another away, there is so much I don’t know about this couple who gave me life. It only took me 35 years to arrive at the understanding, but now, I know to be patient, humble, and forgiving. I choose to believe that my parents did their best. I hang on to this belief so I can let go of all the hurt and pain, so I can create an emotional space for love, love, and love––for my children.
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For many people, being able to work doing something you love is a dream. It certainly began that way for Dedrick Moone. But the dream only lasted a few years before it turned ugly, eventually taking a path toward discrimination, harassment, and illness which only served to create an environment where Dedrick feared losing what he truly loved most- his daughter, Haelee. Even as she faced her own struggles, with the both of them locked in conflicts that literally took years to resolve, they never failed to have faith that they would come out on the other side, stronger from their experiences.
The Unexpected Journey: Fire and Gold by Dedrick Moone, with contributions by his daughter Haelee, is at its heart a story about perseverance and faith. As Dedrick recounts all his trials and tribulations, he associates each one with a scripture or passage that he feels corresponds to his situation. The writing is impassioned gets to be a little technical at points. Each incident is described with analytical details and includes copies of letters, memos, and legal notices at the end. As far as the message goes, however, the optimism and faith that both authors exhibit, even at their lowest points, is remarkable to witness over the course of the tale. In a way, the book can be considered a testament of sorts about not abandoning your faith when all seems lost.
The huge setbacks that Both Dedrick and Haelee suffer in both their personal and private lives would leave many others despondent, but they continued on. Dedrick is also consistently motivated by his love for Haelee, and often talks to his readers, reminding them that how things are now, is not how things will always be; which is something we all need to be reminded of every now and then.
The message was wonderful and the resilience of the Moones was incredible to read. I’m fairly invested and will be looking up more of their story, but I would have loved to explore their personal journeys more and have less technical details because I found them to be so compelling on their own.
The Unexpected Journey: Fire and Gold is an emotionally charged memoir that will bring hope and inspiration to many readers.
Pages: 192 | ASIN: B08W8SNH8Z
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Tales of a Butterfly details your emotional journey being a first-time mother and learning that your child has deafness. Why was this an important memoir for you to write?
This book is a personal reflection of my raw experiences, I originally started to write this story for my daughter. But then once I finished the Memoir, I realised I may not be alone in these feelings and experiences. That other first-time mums may have had these feelings and gone through the same or similar diagnosis for their baby or child. I also believed other people in our society needed to see the impacts and challenges we face every day, there choices plus reactions reflect on our children’s learning and development.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest experience for you to share with readers?
My hardest experience to share with my readers would have to be the public view on disability and hard of hearing children, how I have encountered it myself with my butterfly girl. It was raw to write, and I felt I needed to write the truth for people to really feel how we felt at those particular moments. I share my frustration loudly and the truth behind the effects of it in the pages of my story. I wanted my writing style to come through as though I was sitting there next to you telling you a story. As though I was talking to you.
What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?
I really wanted to share the process from birth to getting the final diagnosis of hard of hearing, I wanted to share the emotional strain from the beginning to the end; and the fact it is still happening today with many challenges though living in the country. I wanted people to view my story and relate to it in their own way but also reflect how it must feel and be in my or my butterfly girls’ shoes. I emphasised how she grew older in my memoir and how she learned from the environments around her which then helped shape me as the mother and teacher I am today.
I wanted the readers to really feel…
I wanted the readers to feel the emotions I felt, I wanted to express the experiences we went through in details so you could feel and imagine it yourself. Wanting the readers to laugh out loud but also feel sadness and reflection upon themselves. I want the readers to feel what it’s like to be in my shoes and highlight deaf perspectives, from a mothers view and the child.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your memoir?
I hope readers reflect on the small things around them, to be grateful and respect everyone’s differences. Above all I want people to realise disability and deafness does not restrict a person from growing and learning it just changes the growing styles and learning perspectives, a new outlook on life learning. I really hope people enjoy my memoir ‘Tales of a Butterfly’, it is heartfelt and raw, full of my true experiences with my butterfly girl.
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Tales of a Butterfly details the emotional journey of Kate Armistead, as she and her husband find out that their baby girl is deaf. She describes their heartbreaking, and uplifting, experiences as they discover their child’s hearing loss and their odyssey in learning about and coping with the disability, one in which they have never been around.
This is an impassioned memoir that I found to be very enlightening as well as moving. The author shares her thoughts and experiences in a free flowing and candid nature that captures the emotional turmoil that she went through. Readers can really appreciate Kate’s thoughts as a mother and the love she has for her daughter. I loved that her daughter’s nickname became “butterfly” as butterflies are silent yet beautiful. I also really appreciated how honest and raw she was about her experiences, never shying from letting the reader know she was scared and uncertain about what was to come and how others would react. In her recollections, she states how sometimes people jump to conclusions and assume that a child’s disability is a result of drug abuse by the parent. The stares she would get and interactions she would have with people in public, like raising their voices when talking to her, when they would see her daughter with her hearing aids. It really says a lot about people and their lack of respect for others. Her story not only gave me insight into her own daughter’s deafness but also shed light on the spectrum of obstacles that deaf people, and their families, are presented with. While speaking about her own experience in accommodating her daughter, it really made me think about the impact that my own actions have on other people that have disabilities.
Tales of a Butterfly is a great read for anyone who knows someone who is hard of hearing, but I think that this book will serve to educate everyone. It really provides insight to what a parent experiences and their own fears about the challenges their child will face. Tales of a Butterfly is honest and hopeful and I really enjoyed the glimpse into the author’s life with her daughter. This beautifully written memoir eloquently details an extraordinary journey that will stay with me for a long time.
Pages: 78 | ISBN: 0228847133
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Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops: A Memoir by Allison Hong Merrill is a brutally honest, self-deprecating, and intimate account of the events in the narrator’s life. Allison is a young bride who is deceitfully abandoned by her husband of 16 months, Cameron Chastain. Without family members or friends to depend on for help, she is alone without much knowledge of the local language. Allison is a lonely mess, betrayed and cold. Will she be able to find peace or solace? Will she make it in the ruthless world?
Merrill writes with intensity and simplicity; you cannot remain untouched. She expresses her deepest pain in candid words. Her memoir is raw and ruthlessly sincere. As a little girl, she is unbroken even after multiple torments; she fights with an invincible spirit and has incredible internal strength. You cannot help but admire the lost, fragile but hopeful girl who is desperate to find love and acceptance.
This memoir is not a fairy tale or feel-good type, but I found it to still be empowering and ultimately uplifting. Due to her Toxic childhood and self-sabotaging behavior, Allison is not entirely flawless, as she points out, and she is not only abused by others but also by herself. While this is a memoir, I felt that Allison goes through a character arc, of the sort one would find in a contemporary coming of age story, but this one is much more emotional and vivid.
Another charming aspect of the book is the beautiful representation of Taiwanese culture and Chinese history. Extensive details of rituals and traditions feel exotic, and the patriotism feels relatable despite the lousy childhood. Facts are well placed and give historical and cultural depth to an otherwise character driven memoir. This book is a prime example of the quote by mark twain, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.”
Spirituality overshadows most of the writing, with preachy discourse and moralism filling most of the space, and in these parts the author attempts to justify her beliefs in sections that feel like sermons. This was an awe-inspiring story that falls just shy of being a tell all type memoir, but is still riveting nonetheless.
Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops: A Memoir is an enthralling and thought-provoking memoir that showcases the trials and triumphs of a fiercely strong and charismatic women in the face of adversity. This book is a strong example that speaks to women’s empowerment. Following an extraordinary life journey, this memoir will provide a glimpse at one Asian-American’s life and will appeal to anyone looking for an emotionally charged and meaningful true story.
Pages: 256 | ASIN: B08QZGQQMG
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