MARY: The Mary Tyler Moore Story by Herbie J. Pilato

MARY: The Mary Tyler Moore Story is another impressive work by Herbie J Pilato. Paying respect to the iconic star, the author divides his book into eight acts, each of which he opens with a photo of Mary Moore. The biography is lively written and easy to read. While reading this book I experienced the feeling that for Herbie it was important to show Mary’s humanity more than her undeniable talent. Herbie brings to us numerous dialogues and opinions. Most people, whether those who worked with Mary daily or occasionally found common features in her personality – she was regarded as generous and lovable by all. Silverman’s words are convincing when we read in the book: “One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that this episode, along with many others, couldn’t have been done without Mary’s generosity. Very often a star – particularly a star whose name is the title of the show – will insist on having more lines of being more the center of attention. With Mary, it didn’t matter to her who got the spotlight that week. All she wanted was for each actor to shine, and for the show to be good.” We can find plenty of opinions in this book that outline Mary’s philanthropic nature.
“A delightful person and performer,” who was “sexy as hell, but…vulnerable…” when she fought with the heartache over the loss of her son. She was devastated that she couldn’t spend more time with him while he was alive, although she realized that her career came with a lack of free time – family time.
I liked the fact that this book is not just a biography. It is also an informative source of interesting views on TV production and consumers. A socio-psychological portrait of a TV consumer is given in the course of describing Mary’s career as it developed relying on people’s actual needs (as the Mary Richards character in The Mary Tyler Moore Show as she stood for women’s rights in terms of equal pay and career opportunities) and common preferences. The choice of programs and what the audience expects from them – as in the case of a film or a show – was an interesting piece for me. “The TV audience is different from the film audience. It won’t take a change in characters. In the film, people are expected to grow because of external pressures. But the TV audience wants to know what to expect, and when you try something different it upsets them.” Compelling, entertaining, and a touching read. I would encourage anyone interested in American culture to find a place for this book on their bookshelf.

Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Catherine Hyde has always been my hero among modern writers. The things she writesabout never get old, and thereby there is no chance for you to get bored with her books. Another thing that absolutely thrills me is that Hyde never imposes her opinion on us. She is not trying to shape our minds. Instead, she is creating room for us to consider and perhaps, for some of us to reconsider certain things. All her stories have one common line – her books send us adrift to look closely at the things we are saying and doing. In every line written by Hyde I can feel that her heart is sore for her characters. It seems to me as if she understands every bit of her protagonist, and together with him suffers the alienation of his parents, the public shame and the struggle with his choice. Joseph went to war, and came back home shortly thereafter, but he did not come back as a hero. Thus, his parents treat him with contempt. They do not even want to hear his explanation. “I just keep wondering, Joseph, what were you thinking?” His dad said, and didn’t even wait for his answer, “I don’t want to hear a word from you!” He expressed his pure accusation. No sympathy, no concern about why his son refused to follow an order. Both parents hide their son in the basement where he makes his modest living. The parents guard the other siblings in the most awkward way – and watch that they do not communicate or support each other. Aubrey is terrified to visit Joseph in the basement. Janet and Brad (parents) have scared Aubrey into believing that his brother is a traitor. Their pride is hurt, and they feel ashamed of their son’s action or lack of action.  Joseph faces military prison for refusing an order to go out at night and kill the enemies. He explained to his younger brother that he didn’t feel it right to do the such a thing since there were families with women, kids, and elderlies. “He has a wry way looking at the world,” Catherine Hyde let us know. I found the parents are alien to their own children no matter what their kids would choose to do. The fact that their children think of them as “Janet and Brad” rather than “mom and dad” brings up another subject to discuss “Were these parents made to be parents at all?” Of course, and as always, I highly recommend Catherine Hyde’s books with her touching message that appeals to our acceptance! It’s just impossible to regret reading them. Five stars forever!

90 Days to Live by Rodney and Paige Stamps

This book attracted me with its subtitle “Beating Cancer When Modern Medicine Offers No Hope”.  In the light of my own relationship with cancer, it sounded cool to me! Cancer has always been a painful subject to think about for me. My first introduction to it happened when I was six. Back then, I witnessed the death of my beloved grandmother. Even now, I still remember her last days. Then, my mom bravely battled the same type of cancer for twenty-five years.  

“90 Days to Live” by Rodney and Paige Stamps is a wonderful example of how you can win the battle with this monster! Searching for the remedies, refusing to believe the doctor’s terrifying doom, supporting each other with true love. Rodney and Paige brought to us a story of their love from the very beginning – when they met each other and began to chat. Page gave us a lovely external and internal description of her husband, and together with her, we can feel her sadness, worries and her true care for him. Rodney loves to joke a lot, and this trait of his helps him to remain positive and be the same husband and father as he was before the terrible diagnoses – cheerful and caring. I like the way they built their story and plot. Both chapters – Rodney’s and Paige’s – have a harmonious combination of scene and sequel, and their dialogues are very engaging. The chapters take turns switching between Rodney’s and Paige’s perspectives, and that fact makes the reading process easy flowing and entertaining. The fact that this book was written in the First POV is to my liking. While I was reading it, I could tell that these chapters were not something that Rodney and Paige struggled to write, because these chapters vividly represent their very own experience. It turned out to be great because all their feelings were transmitted to the reader naturally, evoking a sensation in them. Emotional and uplifting! I would recommend this book to everyone whether the person has any relation to cancer or not. Definitely five stars! Thank you very much!

Out Damned Spot by Ginny Stone

As I was about to write a review on “Out Damned Spot” by Ginny Stone, I could not avoid a little note of dedication to Ginny’s friends “who left this earth way too early because of bastardly cancer”. These touching words reveal to us the author’s personality. A strong, rebellious woman; often frankly harsh, although her heart filled with sincere love and care for those who not always accepting her sharp words and fractious actions. This book reminded me of the novel “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Blackman.  Ove appeared to others as an unhappy and annoying man, who didn’t care much of a choice of his words. Nobody had seen him smiled, and had been easily irritated by his neighbor-moron who could not park his vehicle properly. In another scene, Ove complained at the local retail store about the quality of the product, arguing over stupid marketing tricks. He could not hold his tongue off when witnessed somebody’s stupidity, but the man of his type is reliable in comparison to those who would smile in your face and then stab your back. Similar to Ove, Giselle is an irritable and intolerant person. But what is behind her awful manner? – Her fears and worries. She had been diagnosed with cancer, and now, she deals with an African medical system, which disappointed her a lot.  But she doesn’t need compassion. She sends her husband back home that he would not babysit her in the hospital. She refuses to take a wheel-chair ride. “Hell no! Anybody, but not me!” All she needs is that the people around her would fulfill her basic expectations. Isn’t a doctor supposed to treat the patient? Isn’t her daughter supposed to clean a mess after herself in the kitchen? With her temper-manner, Giselle pitted her entire family off, which interpreted her actions as pure rudeness. Yes, she knows all about it! And yes, she loves her family, but she is not the one to show it every often. This book is full of good sarcasm.   I laughed while reading. I would prefer to see some reduction in colorful language. The author substitutes it sometimes with some cool and made-to-laugh expressions. That’s the way to go with this book, I think. I would say this book must be transferred into a Deep POV entirely since it already has a subjective nature and distinctive voice. Some chapters are already written in Deep POV, and it sounds great, especially with all the silent monologues in this story. I like the way in which the author represents cancer – as “a great gobbling monster”.  Giselle is flirting with this monster. “Just turn it into an event,” the author appeals to us. “Something you can write about!”