Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Book Review ~ by Bonnie

So ... Uncle Larry ( my Uncle Larry ... married to my Aunt Jo ) threw out the idea of doing book reviews once a month. We tossed around the idea of him starting a blog for that specific purpose and then he thought perhaps the Alley blog would be a good place to do it !! I think it's a great idea and I'm going to get the ball rolling.
If you read my blog regularly, you will have already read this review ... except that I'm going to change the last bit because I've since finished the book I was reading when I wrote my review !!
On with it then ....
I've just recently discovered Jodi Picoult. About two months ago, I read Plain Truth on the recommendation of my best friend Shay. Since then, I've been reading every Jodi Picoult book I can get my hands on !! ( well, from the library that is ! I have to reserve them, and pay $1 but to me, that is much better than paying $25-$50 to buy it new ! )
I'm going to cut and paste (the cut and pasted segments will be in green) a little synopsis about each book from the Aussie Jodi site . And then tell you what I thought ! That way, I won't give away any details that I shouldn't !!
Before I do though, I must say. These books may not be for everyone. They deal with some very confronting and difficult modern day issues that people ( lots of times children ) face. The reason I like them is that she writes her stories from the view point of EVERYONE involved in the situation ! From the policeman, to the lawyer, to the judge, to the victim, to the victims family and friends, to the suspect, the suspects family and friends. You name it ... if the person is involved in any way, you get their view point. I love the way she so thouroughly explores every persons side of the story ! Lots of times it's not even so much about who is right. Sometimes everyone is right and everyone is wrong. I find her books challenging of view points I hold about situations I've never been involved with. There you go. My little disclaimer. Just so you know !
This is the first book I read that totally got me hooked on this author !
"Moving seamlessly from psychological drama to courtroom suspense, Plain Truth is a triumph of contemporary storytelling. Jodi Picoult presents a fascinating portrait of Amish life rarely witnessed by those outside the faith and discovers a place where circumstances are not always what they seem, where love meets falsehood, and where relationships grow strong enough to transcend death. ~~ When Ellie Hathaway decides to defend an unmarried Amish woman against the charge of the murder of her own child, the urban-savvy defence attorney finds herself caught in a clash of cultures with a people whose channels of justice are markedly different from her own. Plain Truth is the extraordinary story of two unforgettable women - and what happens when their disparate worlds collide."~~
This next one took me a bit longer to "get into" but I'm glad that I stuck it out through the first couple of chapters ! This book left me with many unanswered questions and things to think about.
"Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate a life and a role that she has never questioned until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves. ~~ Told from multiple points of view, My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? What happens when emotion catches up to scientific advances?" ~~
This is the book I started while Rory and I had our weekend away ! Once started, I found this one almost impossible to put down. Very difficult subject to read about but again, fascinating from the different view points of all the characters !
"Sterling, NH is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens – until a student enters the local high school with an arsenal of guns and starts shooting, changing the lives of everyone inside and out. The daughter of the judge sitting on the case is the state’s best witness – but she can’t remember what happened in front of her own eyes. Or can she?
Featuring the return of some familiar characters (Jordan McAfee from The Pact and Salem Falls; Patrick Ducharme from Perfect Match), Nineteen Minutes asks what it means to be different in our society, who has the right to judge someone else, and whether a person is ever whom they seem to be. ~~
Intricately textured and rich with psychological and social insight, Jodi Picoult's novels grab readers by the throat from page one and never let go. As emotionally charged as any she has written, Nineteen Minutes may be her most stunning work to date." ~~
I just finished this one a couple of days ago. I enjoyed this one too but it wouldn't rank among my favorites.
"Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own Search and Rescue bloodhound which she uses to find missing persons. But as she plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall. What are these memories and what do they mean? In shock and confusion, Delia must search out the truth among these newly discovered recollections even when they threaten to devastate her life, and the lives of those she loves most. ~~
With consummate skill and sensitivity, Jodi Picoult examines what happens when the past we have been running from catches up to us, and questions who we trust to tell us the story of our lives before we are capable of remembering it ourselves. Vanishing Acts is an impressive exploration of the very nature."~~
This is the one I am currently reading. Only 1/4 of the way into it, I haven't formulated an opinion as to whether or not I like it. I am already attached to the characters though, so I'll read it to the end !! An interesting difference in this book is that there are actual comic book drawings about 6 times througout the book. Not something I've seen done before.
**** I've since finished this book. It was interesting. Not my favorite of her books. Maybe not even one I would recommend. Certainly don't start with this one ! But you never know ... you might like it better than I did. ****

"Comic book artist Daniel Stone never for a moment suspected that the same boy whom his fourteen-year-old daughter, Trixie, loved might inflict upon her the worst possible harm. Could the young man, who once made Trixie's face fill with light when he came to the door, have drugged and then raped her? She says that he did, and that is all it takes to make Daniel, a man with a past he has hidden even from his family, venture to hell and back in order to protect his daughter. ~~ With a story that transports readers from small-town New England to the wilds of the Alaskan bush, and interspersed with parallel vision through the striking pen-and-ink pages of Daniel's graphic novel, Jodi Picoult probes the unbreakable bond between parent and child - and the dangerous repercussions of trying to play the hero."~~
What have you been reading lately ?


Monday, October 29, 2007

Calling All Alleys ...

Ok ... the last time anyone posted anything to our ALL ALLEYS blog was August 12th ! In an effort to get this amazing communication tool up and running, I'm going to do a little tutorial on how to use it.
  1. Go to At the top of the page, you need to type in the user name which is and the password. If you cannot remember the password, email me and I will send it to you !
  2. Once you have signed in, the "dashboard" will appear. You will see a box at the top that says "manage blogs". Click on "New Post".
  3. That will take you to an empty box that you can type in. Anything you type in there will appear in the blog, once you publish it. There are icons along the top of the box that let you change the font, font size, bold, italics, change the font color ... etc. You can play around with those or just leave them alone.
  4. Once you have done your typing, click the orange "Publish Post" which sits just under the box you've been typing in, on the left hand side. AND THAT'S IT !!! EASY, right ?
  5. If you want to see what it looks like, click on "View Blog" once it tells you it has poublished successfully.

Now that you know how to do it, there is no excuse !! Don't worry about trying to post photos just yet ... I'll do another tutorial about that once you've tried just typing a post ! (email me if you have any trouble and I'll try to answer your questions as best I can ! )

WHAT TO BLOG ABOUT ??? Well, I'd love to see this be a place of memories shared, history written down for the generations to come after us. I was thinking that maybe we should have a "theme" for each month. You, of course, can post things other than the theme but I thought having a theme might help get us started ....


I know that is a general theme. It could be anything. Favorite memory of reunions past. Favorite activity from reunions past. Favorite story told ... Favorite location ... Favorite meal ... USE YOUR IMAGINATION !! We all have them, we wouldn't be Alley's without them !!

SO ... let's get this (blog) party started !!


Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Parent's Prayer

I am posting the prayer that was read at the memorial service for Uncle Ralph and Aunt Jane. (Em asked Kent to send it and emailed it to the whole family. I am placing it here for posterity.)

A Parent's Prayer
-attributed to Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby)
Oh, heavenly Father, make me a better parent. Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say, and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep me from interrupting them or contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me. Forbid that I should ever laugh at their mistakes, or resort to shame or ridicule when they displease me. May I never punish them for my own selfish satisfaction or to show my power.
Let me not tempt my child to lie or steal. And guide me hour by hour that I may demonstrate by all I say and do that honesty produces happiness.
Reduce, I pray the meanness in me. And when I am out of sorts, help me, Oh Lord, to hold my tongue.
May I ever be mindful that my children are children and I should not expect of them the judgment of adults.
Let me not rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves and to make decisions.
Bless me with the bigness to grant them all their reasonable requests, and the courage to deny them privileges I know will do them harm.
Make me fair and just and kind. And fit me, Oh Lord, to be loved and respected and imitated by my children.

Here are some pictures from the ceremony at the University of Virginia.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

An Annual Summer Classic

Here are a few more snapshots from the Alley Reunion - 2007 Edition.
Some Alley girls in front of the University of Virginia Chapel, where their parents were wed.

Some more Alley girls at the Chapel.

As always, Saturday lunch was highlighted by tasty food and lively conversation in an interesting setting.

Sharing together at the Reunion. Food and conversation. Yum!

Three More Sisters--The Grandes Dames of the Alley Reunion.

Posted by Jim!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Anyone Else Remember This ?!

Does anyone have the originals of these photos ? I just have the photo copy ....

The ghost of cousins past

Not sure when this was taken...but Alexa's not born yet, so my guess is '86 or '87. Nice socks, Jimmy, really hot.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Some Of My Favorites ...

This is in 1981 but I have no idea where ... does anyone know ? I think this is one of my favorite reunion "group" photos ever. How sweet and innocent do we all look ?!

I love this one too ...cuddly group that we are !! This is in 1997. Albany ...

I wasn't at the reunion pictured in the next two pictures ... but I love them !! They look so fun !