Happy October everyone! Hope you are enjoying the cooler weather. I know I am. Today I’m excited to introduce you to Christine Rice. She has several books published, and I’m featuring her memoir, My Not-So-Ordinary Life. Check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
My Not-So-Ordinary Life chronicles the author’s life from her preschool years to present day. There are neither big reveals nor dark confessions, just a tale of a life lived. While she labels her life to be unordinary, there seems to be a pervasive familiarity to it as well. We all have known people who have traveled down similar paths.
So, what is this memoir really about? It’s about her life experiences. We all have our stories to tell, Christine chose to let us in to hers. We see her as she witnesses the dissolution of her parent’s marriage, growing up between two households, and reaching a point where she rebels against the authority represented by her parents.
Believing herself to be sufficiently grown up, she moves out of her father’s home, and into an apartment with her then boyfriend. Soon she ends up dropping out of school, beginning a series of (mis)adventures, and the meat of her story.
To what end?
This is what has been puzzling me. What is the motive behind the her book? Is this a tell-all book? No. Is it a learn-from-my-mistake narrative? Not quiet? There is no sense of remorse, no shame, no moment of “What have a done?!”
And maybe that’s the point. It’s a glimpse of “how I got here,” and not “I made a boo-boo.” She’s not whining, nor is she asking for sympathy. It’s a matter-of-fact take on her travel through her not quite thirty years of life. Any lessons to be gleamed from the manuscript is solely at the readers discretion and not the motive of the author.
What her memoir is about is the fact that we all have our own life to live, and we all have to learn our own lessons. Some lessons come easily, and others are more difficult to acquire.Here are a things I picked, in no particular order:
- Life is hard, and sometimes we make it harder, but we can also make it better.
- We are all ultimately responsible for our own successes and failures.
- A wrong choice is no reason to quit. It’s a learning exercise.
Again, this is my take. You may interpret it differently, and that’s okay.
I will admit that I had no idea how to critique this book, that is until I realized that I had been looking at this the wrong way. This is less of a novelization than an essay. While it may use storytelling techniques, it’s point is not to tell a story but to describe a journey of hardships and what I hope to be self-growth.
Is there more to the story? Probably, but I believe she chose these key events to highlight the impetuousness of youth and the consequences therein. At no point do you have a sense that she’s given up, even when she seems to be wandering aimlessly. A new goal quickly emerges.
A few times, I wished I could reached back through time and space and shake her furiously and ask her “What the hell are you thinking?” I had to temper my own judgmental tendencies and look into myself and my own life’s choices. Sometimes I fared better than she, but I made my own choices, and some were not all that great. You can check out the rest of my blog if you don’t believe me.
How would I rate this book? I have to say that it is well-written, upbeat, and has a positive overall tone. If you’re like me, you may want to ask her why she did what she did, but at the end I hope you will be mollified that she is heading in the right direction.
While she may not be a celebrity with a tell-all book, or a politician with a soul-cleansing mea culpa attempt, this is still worth reading. Maybe it’s not an attempt at a public confession, but she does open herself up to criticism. Whether it’s merited or not, who am I to say, but she’s not a quitter. For that, she has my admiration and my respect.