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BOOK REVIEW: WRITING HOME

 

by Cindy LaFerle
294 Pages, Hearth Stone Books - Royal Oak, Michigan

Cindy LaFerle’s most recent book Writing Home is a compilation of the daily columns she has written for newspapers over the last ten years. The reader is swept easily into her reality and rides along as she navigates the typical working mom’s daily travails, told with plenty of humor, irony, and wit laced throughout her account of daily life. In fact, LaFerle makes her experience as a working mother (emphasis on mother) engaging and dramatic as she leads us through her intellectual and emotional challenges.

Each day’s column allows readers to empathize with her about the familiar difficulties of balancing work and family. The reader will appreciate the added humor and insight which may be applied to any workplace or by anyone who struggles with life’s trials and inconsistencies.

Although it seems as if we are reading casually about the life of an ordinary person, albeit witty and able to turn a phrase, gems of wisdom and knowledge are smoothly inserted into our minds and the reader might just find herself a little wiser and more tolerant after each essay. Some may even be led to make a few sage perceptions of their own.

LaFerle does all this while generously sprinkling her prose with bits that make you laugh out loud so heartily that anyone in the room will demand to know what’s so funny. She reminds me of an educated Erma Bombeck with a tad of a modernized Aesop; she is humorous but also allows for the pitfalls in life which color her stories with wisdom and introspection and force you to recall your own similar situations.

Her musings cover a wide spectrum of the conundrums of life: be prepared for insightful passages on child rearing, discovering, loving and losing pets, the empty nest period and extended family, but also enjoy her philosophical take on the working ethics of persons such as herself:

  • What to give and what to take when creating an enjoyable, or endurable social life (this includes specific tips and anecdotes on screening one’s calls)
  •  Keeping oneself looking “the part” of a successful woman, aided by that certain little black dress.

LaFerle bucks us up while she traces through the triumphs and tragedies of having a family, especially one that is fallible and aging, as we sometimes forget we all are.

She leaves us with hilarious yet applicable advice for how to be the happily aging human, and it is obvious from her tidbits of sagacity to her boulders of common sense that she is well aware that the unexamined life is a life unlived. I will leave you with a few of her well shaped and inspiring musings on aging with wisdom. Some of these she has taken from others,  while the wisdom of others is obviously her own.

  • “Practice generosity , it makes you beautiful. Pay compliments, give up grudges.”
  • “Keep bottled water in the basement. The world is a crazy place.”
  • “Stop worshipping celebrities. There are many stellar individuals in the neighborhood, and they are probably not in legal trouble.”
    And last one is my favorite:
  • “Travel while your joints and bowels still work. See the wonders of this magnificent world.”

With all the insight and humor that seems inherent to this writer, observer, and chronicler, one hopes that she will take to the idea of writing a book with the continuity of a novel, so one can see what her talent will offer in a slightly different genre but with her gifts flowing as generously as they do in her daily ruminences.

RH       

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