Category Archives: TWSM Book Review

TWSM Book Review ‘The Five Love Languages for Singles’

The Five Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman

Reviewed by Liz Fendley

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman started with his original work designed for married couples over 20 years ago. Many of us have heard of the five love languages to help us understand how we prefer to give and receive affection: words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. This book is dedicated to single adults and addresses our specific needs, including a chapter dedicated to the needs of single parents. It is a great read.

I should probably share the disclaimer that I originally took the five love languages quiz when I was a married parent. As such, I was a bit skeptical of how “real” this book would be for single parents dealing with issues like parenting, work, and dating. My skepticism was dispelled, and I found the book to be refreshing and respectful.

In the chapter on single parenting, Chapman addresses the fact that your children may not have the same primary love language that you do. This one struck home for me. My primary love language is physical touch, closely followed by quality time. When my teenage daughters took the quiz, they both scored with “gifts” as their primary love language. My first response was, “Uh oh. There is no way I can afford this.” Since then, I have learned that something as simple as adding a $1 “gift” to a grocery store or errand run and saying, “I was thinking of you today” can make my daughters’ days brighter. If a loved one tried to do the same thing for me, I would be polite, but I would probably be thinking, “How many calories are in that?” “Seriously, just give me a hug” or perhaps “This house has way too much clutter anyway”.

For most of us, The Five Love Languages for Singles is a great read and Chapman’s background as a pastor and references to scripture will be reassuring. If I have one criticism of this book, it is that Chapman assumes a heteronormative stance due to his specific religious beliefs. If you are an LGBTQI single parent, this book may be less likely to speak to you. Perhaps there are additional resources online that are more inclusive.

As many of us are spending more time at home with Covid-19, I am also happy to say that I found “my” free copy of this book via the Libby app from my local library. The Five Love Languages for Singles is an easy read, and might even keep our homes calmer and happier as we are spending so much time together!

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

~Liz

The Five Love Languages for Singles

Copyright 2014 by Gary Chapman

TWSM Book Review ‘Tara Road’

Tara Road is a great read. It is one of those novels that has you rooting for your favorite characters from start to finish. Although I am new to Binchy’s work, I am sure Tara Road will not be her last book that I read.

Binchy’s novel has a unique premise. Two women, Marilyn from America and Ria from Ireland, switch houses for a summer. A chance phone call leads them to consider this possibility. Both characters are primed for adventure by wanting to escape from personal pain and find peace and distraction.

As the story unfolds, the reader comes to know Ria from Dublin, along with her entire cast of family and friends, and Marilyn from California, a much more reserved woman. No spoiler alerts here, but there are secrets, twists, and turns that keep the reader turning the pages. Both women grow through the new experiences which they are thrust into by exchanging houses (and thereby cultures, and even family and friends) for the summer. By the end of the novel, they have become true friends.

Binchy nails the relationships of her characters in ways that can make you laugh out loud, gasp, or reach for the kleenex. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Tara Road:

When Ria and her teenage daughter went shopping for clothes in Chapter 3…

“I mean, it’s not even as if you were really old,” Annie said. “Lots of people your age haven’t given up.”

With great difficulty Ria forced herself not to take her daughter by the hair and drag her from the shop.

 

When Ria receives shocking news over dinner in Chapter 3…

“The noise in the restaurant changed. People’s cutlery started to clatter more and bang loudly off people’s plates. Glasses tinkled and seemed about to smash. Voices came and went in a roar. The sound of laughter from the tables was very raucous. She could hear his voice from far away.”

 

 

When Marilyn realizes how she has changed in Chapter 9…

“But Marilyn had been down that road before; she wasn’t going to travel it again. What had happened to Gertie’s husband was not her fault.”

 

Tara Road was part of Oprah’s Book Club in 1999. The fact that the characters use answering machines on their land line phones might make you smile, but with that exception it stands the test of time. The age of this novel also makes it easy to find at your local library or to buy used to save a few dollars. If you are looking for a novel that is full of warmth, empowerment, and hope, I highly recommend Tara Road.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Tara Road Copyright 1998 by Maeve Binchy

Liz is a technical writer by day and a humor writer by night. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. When Liz is not reading, writing, or searching for new books to review, she can be found practicing yoga or enjoying time with friends and family — usually around a fireplace or a lake. She is savoring the time that she still has with her daughters under her roof, yet she secretly dreams of being an empty nester who can travel more and not have to worry about other people borrowing her socks.

TWSM Book Review ‘Almost Everything-Notes On Hope’

Almost Everything:  Notes on Hope is a nurturing read. In this collection of essays, Lamott continues her tradition of speaking to her readers in her optimistic voice which says “I’ve been there, I’ve survived that, and I am still here loving and laughing.”

If you are new to Lamott’s writing, her background includes having raised her son as a single mom, leaning on her faith in God and her church home, having been a recovering alcoholic for many years, being an opinionated woman who is politically liberal, and now being a best-selling author, a wife, and a grandmother.

The thirteen essays in this book are bite-sized bits of wisdom and humor which will make you laugh, cry, and want to read more of her work whether or not your own views resonate with hers. The essays are also short enough that they can be read with that coffee that gets you started in the morning, during nap time for your little one, at the end of a long day, or while you are waiting up for your teenager to get home safely.

Lamott addresses big issues about life, death, love, faith, science, and hope through her essays, balancing big questions with a delightful mix of awe and laugh out loud humor. She meets herself and her readers where they are with complete honesty.

 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Almost Everything:

 

“Scientists say we are made of stars, and I believe them, although my upper

arms look like hell.” (From Chapter One: Puzzles)

 

“Almost every facet of my meager maturation and spiritual understanding

has sprung from hurt, loss, and disaster.” (From Chapter One: Puzzles)

 

“Don’t let others make you feel unsophisticated if you reach middle age

preferring Hershey’s Kisses. So many of your better people do. Also,

always carry a handful of Kisses in your backpack or purse to give away.

People will like you more.”  (From Chapter Seven: Bitter Truth)

If there is one negative that I would share regarding this book, it is that as an avid Anne Lamott fan, I sometimes tire of her re-sharing stories across her books. In chapter six, she included the story about her brother’s homework project that inspired the title of her book, Bird by Bird. Although I find this story inspiring, I believe she has referred to it in two other books. This was a small distraction for me, and other readers might find it endearing.

I recommend brewing a cup of tea, putting your feet up, and reading “Almost Everything:  Notes on Hope”.  You will be glad that you did.

 

Rating:  4 ½ stars out of 5

 Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

Copyright 2018 by Anne Lamott

ISBN 9780525537441 (hardcover)

ISBN9780525537571 (ebook)

 

Liz is a technical writer by day and a humor writer by night. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. When Liz is not reading, writing, or searching for new books to review, she can be found practicing yoga or enjoying time with friends and family — usually around a fireplace or a lake. She is savoring the time that she still has with her daughters under her roof, yet she secretly dreams of being an empty nester who can travel more and not have to worry about other people borrowing her socks.