Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Rest of Her Life

I received a pre-pub copy of a book by a new young writer named Laura Moriarty. The back cover had recommendations by two of my favorite writers--Jodi Picoult and Jacquelyn Mitchard, so that was enough to make me want to read it. About two chapters into the book, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading it because the plot is basically about a family whose world is shattered after their 18 year old daughter hits and kills a young girl. The daughter was talking on her cell phone and ran a stop sign.

As the mother of two girls, 22 and 19, this seemed a bit too close to home. I have a dear friend who lost her daughter at age 16 in a car accident that also killed a man and his two little boys.

But the story goes beyond the tragedy and examines the mom--her life, her childhood, her relationship with her children. I have often said jokingly that I think that a mother's guilt must begin at conception. This book is a touching reminder that every mother deals daily with guilt and with trying to be "a good mother." Young author Laura Moriarty, with a three year old daughter, shares the complex dance of emotions with a surprising wisdom far beyond her years. This is a great book for a discussion group.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fireworks over Des Moines!

As the Yankee Doodle Pops concert enthralled thousands of people gathered on the lawn of the State Capitol and the fireworks began, we noticed several added bonuses this year-the colorful sparkles were magnifed and reflected in the buildings of the skyline (especially the Ruan building), the American flag was positioned to fly proudly directly in front of where the fireworks were their grandest, and the lines at the Kybo's were short. From the mellow sounds of Jazz in July to the frosty experience of nitro ice cream, Tuesday night's concert was the best place to be on a summer night. The Iowa State Capitol, with its beautifully remodeled front steps and lawn, ranks right up at the top of any tourist "sight" that I have ever seen! Give a rose to everyone involved in a delightful evening that was as American as the sticky caramel apples the vendors carried through the crowd!