Book 169: LIFE FROM SCRATCH Review

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, unless you’re Rachel Goldman then you might make lemon custard or use the lemon to roast a chicken. Rachel Goldman is the main character in Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford. Rachel has just gone through a divorce and must decide what she wants to do with her life. 

Rachel is a 34-four-year old woman that was married for 12 years and has been divorced for less than a year. She has taken sabbatical from her job as a graphic artist working for the New York Public Library. She didn’t hate her job but she just isn’t quite sure what she wants to do, so she decides to learn how to cook and document it on a blog. Rachel thinks of her blog as a food or cooking blog but after she’s nominated for and wins a Bloscar  (an award for various blogs in assorted genres), she realizes that her blog is basically an online diary and the best therapy available. Her other “therapist” and confidante is her best friend Arianna.

Post-divorce Rachel discovers that she enjoys being an aunt since she never had children. She also learns that she has been a lousy friend by ignoring what has been happening (or not happening) in Arianna’s life. It was somewhat amusing to see Rachel fall in lust with Gael, the Spaniard with the gorgeous smile. At first glance they seem to be made for one another with their similar interests, but Gael isn’t the man Rachel thinks he is or exactly what she wants. What she discovers she wants is her ex-husband…pre-law practice. Ultimately Rachel discovers that life goes on after a divorce, it may take awhile to grieve over the relationship but that’s fine. Rachel seems to epitomize the average woman that has gone through a non-acrimonious divorce. You may not be able to go back and change the past but you can start from scratch using the lessons learned from past experiences and mistakes. Life From Scratch is a sometimes humorous but realistic look at life after divorce. A quick and good read for anyone…married or single!

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Book 157: INSIDE OUT Review

I recently saw an ad for a book on that piqued my interest and the result was the purchase of Inside Out by Grayson Cole. The theme of Inside Out seems to be an inside look at interracial dating in the South . . . not a lighthearted topic by any means. Biracialism, multiculturalism and interracial dating may seem to be in vogue but for people in the center there are often stigmas still attached. 

Tracey McAlpine is a graduate student in Alabama and a daughter of privilege. She is fortunate enough to be residing in her own home, inherited from a grandmother, and has a trust account. Tracey is also afraid to shake things up. She does what is expected and seeks to remain in the background. Garrett Atkins is the fair-haired boy (young man) in his family. He excelled at sports, is well liked and respected by his friends and peers, and is now in law school at the top of his class. Garrett is attracted to Tracey and their relationship takes off with an extremely rocky start. Garrett has his reasons for keeping his “friendship” with Tracey secret just as Tracey has her own. But when their relationship veers from “friendship” to “relationship,” Garrett is ready to bring it out into the open. Tracey is not. Garrett is ready to push when Tracey informs him that she’s pregnant. What follows is somewhat akin to a mini-Shakespearean drama. Garrett’s mother refuses to accept that she is going to have a biracial grandchild and ignores the situation, after having a meltdown. Tracey’s parents are also extremely concerned when they learn that the father is white. 

Garrett and Tracey may be living in the New South but there are still problems to be faced as a biracial couple. I found Inside Out to realistically portray the inner turmoil faced by Garrett and Tracey and their decisions. Neither are villains nor heroes in this saga, but they both bring drama and issues into their relationship that require work for a successful relationship to be had. The reality is that no relationship lives in a vacuum. Our families and friends impact our decisions. The realism of the situations and the depth of the characters made for a truly enjoyable and memorable read. I’m really glad that I noticed the ad for this book and even happier that I bought it.