With Ballet in My Soul, Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario, Memoir by Eva Maze – Spotlight

Eva Maze’s memoir With Ballet in My Soul: Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario is set to be released in April 2017, published by Moonstone Press LLC.

A life spanning close to 100 years is noteworthy, if only because of its longevity. The rich life of a woman committed to a professional vision ahead of its time, filled with glamour, excitement, and adventure, is truly remarkable. Narrated in her own words, this is the story of such a woman, Eva Maze, who, from the time she left Romania as a teenager in 1939, dreamed of being a ballet dancer, and through a series a circumstances, became instead one of the most successful theatrical impresarios in Europe – with a career spanning more than 40 years.

Now in her nineties, Maze looks back at the path and passion that led her from Bucharest to the United States as an immigrant, and then, as a married woman, back again to Europe and Asia, where she found her professional calling.

Set against key historical events of the 20th century, including the building of the Berlin Wall, the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, as well as the rise and fall of Pan American Airlines, Maze’s fascinating past is brought to life through a combination of serious commentary and amusing anecdotes about the risks and rewards of the business side of theater and dance, some of the personalities who were part of those worlds from the 1940s to the 1990s, her own motivation for being an impresario, and her personal life. Her narration is supported by more than 250 captivating historical and modern images going back to her birth in 1922.

Representing artists and companies abroad from a vast array of talent in the performing arts of the time – including The Alvin Ailey Dance Company, The Living Theatre, and The Swingle Singers – this unique woman became a prolific producer of more than 100 different types of theatrical programs from the world of dance, music, mime, cabaret, and drama.

Chapter 1 – Bucharest

My dreams of becoming a ballerina were shattered when I was diagnosed with scarlet fever in the Spring of 1929. “I can’t see, Mamma. Mamma, I’m blind,” I kept repeating over and over again. My body shook, racked with a very high fever, and I couldn’t stop crying. “It will be fine,” my mother whispered as she held me in her arms.“ The doctor is coming.” My mother’s voice was calm as she tried to soothe me, but nothing she said or did seemed to help. I was seven years old, exhausted, and terrified. In my panic, I remember a doctor coming to our house to deliver the verdict.

It was not unusual in those days for a child my age to come down with scarlet fever, or what was also known as “brain fever.” Usually contracted at school, it would begin with a sore throat and rash, and once diagnosed, the entire family was isolated and quarantined. There were no vaccines or antibiotics then, and the child would often die.

Following a previous misdiagnosis – that of an ear infection – I was finally rushed to the hospital for an operation by a specialist, a 70-year-old ear, nose, and throat surgeon known as Professor Popovici. He ended up breaking the mastoid bones behind my ears to drain the buildup of fluids from my brain. In today’s world, this disease would have successfully been treated with antibiotics, but this was Bucharest, Romania, in 1929, and many medical advances lay in the future. The surgery was successful, and with two scars that, to this day, have remained behind my ears, I am indebted to Dr. Popovici for having saved my eyesight – and my life. While this was to be the most traumatic experience of my childhood, it taught me something perhaps more valuable that has carried me through life: to have courage.

As far back as I can remember, I had dreamt of becoming a ballerina, and though I eventually made a full recovery, my hopes of dancing on stage soon faded when my parents, concerned about my health, refused to allow me to exert myself physically in any way. Ballet classes I had previously taken and thoroughly enjoyed were now forbidden. I was their only child, and had almost died, so their overprotection was perhaps understandable, but I was very disappointed, especially since, prior to my illness, my mother had actually wanted me to study ballet. She had taken me to a ballet performance at the Opera House in Bucharest and, much to my delight, arranged for my first ballet lessons at the age of five. My teacher at the time – an imposing former Russian dancer named Madame Semeonova – thought I had a talent for ballet, and even offered me a scholarship. Once I had recovered completely, she did her best to convince my parents to have me resume my lessons, but they would have none of it. My mother had made up her mind that any strenuous activity, including ballet, would endanger my health.

I did, however, continue to dance around the house on my own, since moving my body to music came naturally to me. We all have different ways of expressing ourselves, and responding to beautiful music physically made me feel romantic and ethereal – as if I were floating on air. It would be another 13 years until I returned to my early love of ballet class when, as a young, married 20-year-old, I began training seriously in New York City. By then, I knew it was too late for me to have a professional career as a ballet dancer, though I continued to have a deep affection for the world of music and dance – and felt an almost mystical connection to it. Little did I know this feeling would eventually lead me to another fascinating career in the performing arts: that of managing and touring other talented dancers and artists. Though I myself would not end up dancing on stage in front of audiences around the world (other than in a few bit parts early in my professional life), I would do my best to work behind the scenes and instead, as what is known as an “impresario,” bring the wonderfully artistic world of dance – and other highly creative theatrical mediums – directly to the myriads of passionate spectators who support them worldwide.

Praise:

Lively, educational, and a fun romp through Europe’s professional circles, With Ballet in My Soul blends the artistry of performance and visual enhancements with an adventurer’s heart to provide a heady mix of travelogue, career journey and personal odyssey that’s hard to put down. – Midwest Book Review

A fascinating life story about a remarkable woman who had a thriving career as an impresario that lasted for more than forty years, With Ballet in My Soul is an excellent memoir about one woman’s world travels, and how the places we travel to can shape our lives. Growing up in Bucharest, Romania, the narrative told in Maze’s own words spans the course of her life, following her leaving Romania in 1939 and immigrating to the United States, with dreams of becoming a ballet dancer often on her mind. After getting married in Brooklyn, New York, Maze eventually returns to Europe, and then travels to Asia, finding her calling not as a dancer, but as an impresario, who put together many successful theatrical performances. With intriguing images following along the rich text, the life of Maze comes alive on the page, as real world events such as the building of the Berlin Wall, the Munich massacre, and the rise and fall of Pan Am airlines are discussed through Maze’s viewpoint. The story is told in a variety of styles, including straight-forward commentary and entertaining anecdotes detailing the business side of theater and dance, revelations about personalities who were part of those worlds across the decades, and Maze’s own motivation for being an impresario, with details of her personal life sprinkled throughout the text, allowing the reader to get to know the author in an intimate fashion. This is a well-constructed autobiography about a woman who has accomplished much in her years. With beautiful photographs throughout the book, accompanying a pleasing design that makes the memoir feel as if it is almost a scrapbook, the story is engaging, well-written, and constantly surprising.” – 5 Stars, Red City Review

“Although this memoir details the life of a remarkable woman, it documents many important historical world events. From life in England shortly after WWII, to New Delhi in the 1950s, to being a part of the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, to living in Greece during turbulent times, there is a wealth of interesting, factual material. She includes many photographs, newspaper articles, and personal artifacts throughout the book. In With Ballet in My Soul: Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario, Eva Maze shares many memories from her extraordinary life. Ms. Maze is an excellent writer, captivating the reader from the first chapter to the last.” – 5 Stars, Readers’ Favorite

 

 

Chasing Ghosts, not just An Adoption Memoir by Kamila Zahno – Media Blast

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All her life, Kamila had wanted to find her birth family. She hoped that retirement would give her the much needed time but a prognosis of incurable cancer put paid to that. They say curiosity kills the cat but not in Kamila’s case – it keeps her alive. As her own future shuts down, the past, that she had half-heartedly researched until she realizes that death is imminent, begins to open up. She discovers that her parents come from Switzerland and India. And that’s just the beginning…

This is the story of one woman’s quest for her origins – and some of the unexpected insights that lit up her path.

Purchase on Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chasing-Ghosts-just-Adoption-Memoir-ebook/dp/B01MCZ7W48/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1479154153&sr=8-1

Purchase for Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/chasing-ghosts-10?utm_source=indigo&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=retailer

Kamila Zahno is an adopted British/Swiss/Indian woman who writes about identity, adoption and living with cancer. She has just published her memoir Chasing Ghosts: not just an Adoption Memoir, the story of growing up as a mixed-race child in 1950s Birmingham, getting involved as a black activist in the ‘80s, and her recent search for her birth parents’ families. Her book was researched and written while living with a diagnosis of incurable cancer.   Kamila’s quest is interwoven with the attempts by her three adopted siblings to find their own birth parents. In 2015 her short story, The Search, an amusing account of her meetings with adoption counselors, was published in Tangled Roots: true life stories about mixed-race Britain. In 2015 she completed the Guardian’s year-long memoir writing course, tutored by Damian Barr.

She graduated with an MA in geography from Edinburgh University in 1974, followed by a master’s degree from the University of Western Ontario. She worked as a town planner for the London Borough of Southwark for several years, switching to a career in consultancy designing and implementing socio-economic policy for local and central government. One of Kamila’s favorite pieces of work was to facilitate local people to spend European Union regional grant money to address poverty in Tottenham, North London.

Kamila lives in north London with her cat.

Website – https://kamilazahno.com/

 

Extract from Chasing Ghosts: Darjeeling

A year after my mother’s death Dad scattered her ashes in Edinburgh’s Botanical Gardens. I left soon afterward to visit her family in Calcutta and her birthplace, Darjeeling, in an attempt to capture her spirit and to discover my own origins. I had the idea of burning a photo of Mum and scattering the ashes in Darjeeling.

In the afternoon I visited Tenzing Rock, named after the famous Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, who had actually climbed it in front of India’s first prime minister, Nehru. Located some way out of town, it was a pleasant walk on a quiet road. Certainly worth visiting, the sheer rock rose high above the road, but I didn’t fancy having a go at climbing it. Nearby, at North Point, was the start of the Ropeway, the cable car which travels over tea gardens down to the bottom of the valley. I was finishing a cup of chai at North Point when the Ropeway started up. I clambered in and soon I was completely alone soaring high over the Ranjit Tea Gardens for five kilometers. An eerily silent experience. There were no views of the mountains beyond but being swathed in mist was surely more atmospheric. I thought of Mum then and, if I had burned that photo, this would have been the time to scatter the fragments of paper on the valley below.

Just before reaching the valley the sun burst through the swirls of mist, creating a moment of clarity for me. Dad was right. Mum did love Edinburgh Botanics and her true spirit remained there, not in Darjeeling. Perhaps I had an overly romantic view of my mum being Indian and an unrealistic expectation that I would find that part of her – and of me – here in Darjeeling. Back in Calcutta, I had discovered her family background but Raadhika’s kindness and patience only fuelled my anger at being left out of this warm and loving family for so long. Pieces of my Indian heritage had been put in place by this trip, and I was thrilled, but it didn’t make me any more Indian.

And was it really my heritage? Who was I kidding? Just because I was Indian – partly Indian – didn’t mean this was my heritage. I had to face up to the truth that I had been running away from – Mum wasn’t my real mum. That’s why she felt that I didn’t belong to her Indian family. I needed to find my own family.

For more information on Chasing Ghosts see www.kamilazahno.com

Kamila’s Search for her Birth Family

This is a story and a half. I first started searching for my birth family in 1991 – the year after my adoptive mother died. It was a journey that was to take 25 years, a stop-start sort of journey with pauses and rests. For many adoptees, the death of their adoptive parents triggers a search for their birth family. It seems disrespectful somehow to seek out more families. Shouldn’t your adoptive family be enough?

I’d always been told that my father was Indian and my mother Swiss. I was fascinated by this mixture and was lucky enough to be adopted by a woman who was herself a Bengali from Calcutta. When Mum died I felt that link to India was broken. I set off to India for the first time to regain that link, but it didn’t work. I was a stranger wandering around India trying but failing, to fit in. My mum wasn’t my real mum, after all. I needed to find my own family.

That’s when I was first introduced to that strange being – the adoption counselor. In Britain, adoption was shrouded in secrecy for children born before 1976. After that, it became more open but for me, born in 1952, the whole thing was still secret. Birth parents couldn’t search for their children and adopted people had to go through an official process even to get their original birth certificates. The best place to start was the adoption services of the local authority so I arranged an interview with a lovely woman, Jenny. She’d been able to find some basic information – I was really pleased she confirmed that my birth mother was indeed Swiss and my father Indian. But her role wasn’t really to give me information, it was to test whether I was sane enough to take anything my adoption file might reveal. And to find out why I was searching and if I wanted to meet my parents. It was like an exam! I’ll always remember Jenny’s words: ‘Once you find out the basics, you might want to know a little more, then a little bit more, until finally you want to meet them.’ I told Jenny all I wanted to know for now was the circumstances of my birth. Having passed the exam Jenny then referred me to another adoption counselor, the keeper of my papers at the adoption agency.

That’s when I met the frosty Miss Keele who barred me from possessing my file – the story of my own life. But she did give me the letter my mother had sent to the agency to arrange my adoption. And that told me that she has been a Swiss au pair working north London and that my father had been an Indian student of engineering. And, unusually, in my file was a letter from my father saying he’d wanted to visit me in the agency’s nursery. Miss Keele told me that my mother eventually went back to Switzerland and I assumed that my father had returned to India once he had his qualification.

What to do now? Cold though she might have been, Miss Keele did give me the contact for an organization that could arrange to search further but when I asked them they said they didn’t have the resources to conduct international searches. I didn’t know how to proceed so I stopped looking – there was no Google to help me in those days.

It was not until my adoptive father died in 2007 that I took up the search again. Sixteen years after I first visited the adoption agency. A few years previously my sister Ellen had searched for her birth mother and she’d been given access to her complete adoption file. Adoption was no longer a taboo subject and it was recognized that adoptees shouldn’t be denied access to their own records. That whetted my appetite to find out more for myself. But this meant – guess what – yet another visit to that strange beast, the adoption counselor. I went through the same rigmarole but this time I was given my whole file to take away.

You’ll have to read my memoir Chasing Ghosts to find out what happened next!

For more information on Chasing Ghosts see www.kamilazahno.com

 

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Awakening East, Moving our adopted children back to China byJohanna Garton – Spotlight

COLORADO FAMILY EMBARKS ON UNIQUE YEAR LONG ADVENTURE TO CHINA

Johanna Garton explores adopted children’s roots in her poignant memoir  “Awakening East”

DENVER, CO — Just a few years after adopting son, Will, and daughter, Eden, from China, Johanna Garton and her husband made the decision to move their family across the world for one year to fully immerse themselves in their children’s culture and place of origin. Awakening East (Oct. 23; Marcinson Press) is the result of their epic adventure.

Beginning as a series of blog posts, Awakening East began to develop into a tale of humor, hardships and life lessons after Garton dived more deeply into the backstory and emotional journey each family member experienced while living abroad.

“We were each going through the same stressful situations in moving to a new country, but we had our own journey to overcome struggles,” says Garton. “When plunked in a foreign country and depending only on each other, the processes we each went through were amplified.”

While their year in China gave Garton broadened wisdom and understanding, she says her most memorable experience was visiting her son’s orphanage and daughter’s foster family.  “We adopted both children at the age of 12 months, so being able to piece together more details from the first year of their lives was invaluable.”

Garton’s hopes her memoir will inspire readers to understand that adoption doesn’t always have to be a backup plan, but another wonderful option in the choice of becoming a parent. She says, “At the end of the day, having a child call you Mom or Dad is the most important thing, isn’t it?”

About Johanna Garton

Johanna Garton fills her days as owner of Missionworks Consulting, a nonprofit management consulting firm in Denver. She leads workshops for parents on traveling back to China through the Chinese Heritage Camp in Denver through Regis University. For those looking for something a little more close to home, Johanna also developed Kids Yoga Speak  while preparing for her year in China. The program is based on Total Physical Response and teaches children Chinese by incorporating the language into a yoga routine. The program can be accessed through the website or through a downloadable app through iTunes.

Purchase on Amazon – http://amzn.to/2cH8Cud

Q&A with Author Johanna Garton

You are so candid and funny in sharing your journey. What inspired you to share your incredible story?

The story began merely as a series of blogs I wrote during our year in China.  The things we experienced on a daily basis were just so outlandish and so far from the norm of life in the United States that our following grew rapidly.  People were just very….curious and amused by our adventures.  When I got home, I decided to dive a little deeper into the emotional journey we’d all had, as well as the backstory and what led us to move abroad.  

Before I knew it, there was a story with an arc.  Moments of drama, humor, tension, intrigue.  On top of that, I suspected there were messages that would resonate with a variety of audiences.

What message do you hope other adoptive parents (or those considering adoption) get out of your story?

Most people approach the creation of a family with the same goal: wanting to be a mom or a dad.  Adoption isn’t typically front and center when most people plan to start a family, but I’ve always seen it as merely representing another road to the same end point.  I encourage people not to think of adoption as a backup plan, but as another wonderful option.  The journey to become a parent is laden with highs and lows – no matter how you get there.  At the end of the day, having a child call you Mom or Dad is the most important thing, isn’t it?

What would be one of your most surprising (or memorable) experiences from your time in China?

In terms of travel experiences, we all absolutely loved Cambodia and in particular, we fell in love with the ruins at Angkor Wat.  I found it completely captivating to watch the children enjoy the ancient ruins in the same way they would have enjoyed an amusement park at home…pure, childish delight.

But hands down the most memorable experience for me were the visits to our son’s orphanage and our daughter’s foster family.  We adopted both children at the age of 12 months, so being able to piece together more details from the first year of their lives was invaluable.

What was your biggest takeaway from your time abroad with your family?

I think I learned how different each person is when faced with adversity.  We each were going through the same stressful situations in moving to a new country, but we each had our own journey to overcome the struggles.  We took different lengths of time to adapt, and each of us had different coping mechanisms.  This concept isn’t something particularly earth-shattering, but when plunked in a foreign country and depending only on each other, the processes we each went through were amplified.

Have your kids caught the wanderlust bug?

Most definitely.  Will and Eden have become adept and eager little travelers.

What are Will and Eden’s perspective on your year abroad in China?

The children both talk about it frequently and fondly.  Our time there definitely instilled a sense of adventure in both of them that they might not have had otherwise.  Our mantra when we lived there, especially with Will was, “If you can do THIS, you can do anything you want.  For the rest of your life.”

You’ve pioneered a very engaging yoga program that also incorporates language learning for little ones. Can you tell me a bit more about Kids Yoga Speak and how the idea came about?

This actually came to fruition as we were preparing to move to China.  I wanted to teach them a little Chinese prior to our departure, and found the best way for them to learn the language was through movement.  The program uses short stories that incorporate a few words of Chinese.  Each story is set to a yoga routine so that children are moving and repeating the new word over and over, allowing it to sink in with physical motion.  

This is actually a well-studied theory of language acquisition called Total Physical Response, though I didn’t know that at the time we developed Kids Yoga Speak.  

That sounds much like how your book came about, too! Seems like a very natural process for you.

True!  It’s always so telling, isn’t it, to look back at the trajectory of your life and see how different experiences come together?  The Kids Yoga Speak project actually led me directly to the publisher for the book before I’d even finished the manuscript.  Now I just cannot WAIT to see where the book leads me!  

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love the process of sitting down and having no idea where I might go. It’s fascinating to me how even the simplest, everyday experiences can become stories with depth, humor and passion.

How has sharing your story changed your life?

It’s definitely made me more curious about the stories of others.  A lot of memoirists are introverts, and I’m no different.  I think I’ve developed a great appreciation for untold stories and I find myself constantly deflecting conversations away from myself and onto others.  Everyone has vast reservoir of life experiences and I love pulling those out of people.

 

*The purchase link to Amazon is strictly for your convenience. My Life. One Story at a Time does not receive compensation. 

Trouble Maker, Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini – Review

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching thirty-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology.

Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.

That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.

Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology’s causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she’d worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology’s most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.

But when she began to raise questions about some of the church’s actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a “Suppressive Person,” and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners—including members of her own family—were told to disconnect from her. Forever.

Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, Troublemaker chronicles Leah Remini’s remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly—from an author unafraid of the consequences.

Praise for Troublemaker
 
“An aggressively honest memoir . . . Troublemaker is the most raw and revealing Scientology memoir to date.”Entertainment Weekly
 
“Leah’s story is a juicy, inside-Hollywood read, but it’s more than that. It’s a moving story about the value of questioning authority and how one woman survived a profound crisis of faith.”People

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Leah Remini is an actor, producer, and writer. A fixture on television since the age of eighteen, Remini is best known for her beloved role of Carrie on the nine-season hit The King of Queens. Remini went on to produce and star in one of the earliest and most successful comedic web series, In the Motherhood, and appeared in the movie Old School alongside Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn. In 2010, Remini helped launch and co-hosted the first season of the CBS daytime hit show The Talk, and in 2013 she was seen on the dance floor in Dancing with the Stars. She currently co-stars in the TV Land comedy The Exes and TLC’s reality show Leah Remini: It’s All Relative, which she also created and executive produces. Remini finds great joy in her philanthropic work with numerous and diverse military, women’s, and children’s charities. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

My Review –

I was an avid watcher of The King of Queens and was anxious to read Leah Remini‘s book. The title alone, “Troublemaker”, is enough to grab anyone’s attention and it certainly grabbed mine! Her openness in revealing her life and journey into and out of Scientology is uncanny. Her words also show the courage and honesty with which she lives her life.

Leah’s journey began in Brooklyn, New York where she grew up. Her mother’s friend introduced her to Scientology, and Leah and her sister were indoctrinated into the organization as children.

After having lived the Scientology way for most of her life, things began to happen that make Leah question the practices of the organization. It is at this point she was labeled a “suppressive person” and she decided it was time to leave  the church. She was lucky, her family followed her, although some extended members cut off ties. There are many who have left the organization only to have their family and friends stay behind and stop all contact.

Leah Remini’s book is like sitting down and having a conversation with her. She is witty. She is funny. And, she holds nothing back. I was curious about her reality show and downloaded an episode from Amazon to watch. It was the episode where the family has chosen to do a group counseling session on the residual effects on the family after leaving Scientology. You can have no contact with any family members or friends inside the organization and this can leave a huge void. The family explored some of the guilt that Leah felt because they followed her out of the organization, leaving other family members behind.

After reading Leah Remini’s book, I researched other books on Scientology. The Unbreakable Miss Lovely is a book that tells the length that the Scientology organization will go to, to keep their secrets, which bears asking the question – If they think they are such a fantastic organization (I refuse to call them a church, they truly aren’t – it’s a cult, plain and simple) why do they go to such lengths to stay secret? One would think they would welcome the publicity in order to gain members. That in itself should raise a field of red flags for anyone contemplating the Scientology way of life.

I am giving the book five stars. It is a great book and contains a wealth of information; more than a book review can possibly provide. I can only hope that I have peaked your interest enough to find out more for yourself. The book is like sitting down and talking to Leah. She is exactly what you see – vivacious and full of life.

 Buy on Amazon

After reading The Unbreakable Miss Lovey, I dug a little deeper and found her book online. I downloaded and read it to find out for myself what the controversy was all about. Paulette Cooper’s book will scare the bejeebers out of you. Scientology is so far out there that it resembles a scientific movie.

In 1971, Paulette Cooper wrote a scathing book about the Church of Scientology. Desperate to shut the book down, Scientology unleashed on her one of the most sinister personal campaigns the free world has ever known. The onslaught, which lasted years, ruined her life, and drove her to the brink of suicide. The story of Paulette’s terrifying ordeal is told in full for the first time in The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, published by Silvertail Books. It reveals the shocking details of the darkest chapter in Scientology’s checkered history, which ended with senior members in prison, and the organization’s reputation permanently damaged. ‘A thrilling account of a reporter’s duel with a controversial church’ – Kirkus Reviews ‘A brilliant exposition of how a child who escaped the Nazis grew up to be hunted by the Church of Scientology’ – John Sweeney ‘A page-turner packed with barely believable facts. The details are worthy of John le Carre’ – Jon Atack www.theunbreakablemisslovely.com

If you are interested in additional information on Paula Cooper, you can google her name.

Discussion –

Have you read Leah Remini’s book? What did you think?

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My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee may be earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

My upcoming reading list

I love romance, but lately memoirs have grabbed me and just won’t let go. Here are a few nonfiction books in my future (and by that, I mean reviews!) All the books can be purchased on Amazon by clicking the link under the book cover.

I’ve already Leah Remini’s book and absolutely love it. Her honesty and candidiness is astounding. It is a book that will raise the hair on your arm as you read it. She is currently starring in her own reality show and I viewed an episode and can’t wait to share that with you as well. The book can be purchased on Amazon by clicking the link below.
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I am in the middle of reading John Early’s book and I have to say that it is inspiring. I have had to put it down and pick it up again due a number of things going on at the moment, but I cannot wait to finish it and share a bit of his widsom.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Amazon

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Buy on Amazon

These books will keep me busy for a while. There will also be a few romances (Linda Lael Miller – Once a Rancher (The Carsons of Mustang Creek)
for one) along the way so please stay tuned.

Please leave me a comment if you enjoy knowing what books are coming up. If you have any book recommendations of your own, please leave those. I love hearing about new books.

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee may be earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

 

The Shyster's Daughter by Paula Priamos

 

The Shyster’s Daughter is a wonderfully written charged memoir—utterly absorbing and packed with sharp details. Direct, evocative, emotionally honest, brave, and funny, Priamos’ voice shines.The Shyster’s Daughter is a suspenseful investigative journey, but its emotional core vibrates with Priamos’ homage to her deeply flawed and deeply loved father, and to their complicated and enduring relationship.”—Victoria Patterson, author of This Vacant Paradise and Drift

The last time my father calls is shortly before the anniversary of his disbarment to tell me he’s just cheated death. On his end, there’s background noise—a restaurant, a bar or somewhere far sleazier. Since the divorce he licks his wounds at a topless strip clubinGarden Grove called the Kat Nip.
The Shyster’s Daughter is a detective memoir of a Greek family living in Southern California in the late 1900s. The author, whose father was an attorney with clients who were often questionable characters knowing a side of him unseen by his family, looks into his death and finds more questions than answers.
 
Paula Priamos
 
Paula Priamos‘ writing has been featured in various magazines and in the anthology Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. She teaches at California State University and lives in Southern California with her husband and stepsons. This is her first book.
Guest Post
     In The Shyster’s Daughter I tell two different stories.  The first one is the story about my father’s mysterious death.  The night before he died he called to tell me he’d just cheated death.  A gunman in a ski mask had approached my father’s car and threatened to blow his brains out.  Typical of my father, a big mad Greek defense lawyer, he instinctively flipped the gunman off, then drove away.  The next morning my father was found dead.  This phone call has haunted me for years and it was only recently that I was able to confront what that’s meant to me, being one of the last people he spoke to leading up to his death.
     The second story is about being raised by my father and heeding, as a teen, his blunt advice on important things such as dating.  “Never trust a guy whose car is too clean.  A sure sign he wants to keep you in it too long.” Or my philandering yet charming uncle’s words of wisdom, (he briefly lived with us and was also a defense lawyer).  “I shouldn’t be telling you this,” he said to me, “but I don’t want you getting hurt by a man like me.  Make no mistake, they’re all like me.”
     In the book I tell dual narratives, sections every couple chapters titled “What They Told Me After He Died,” which the reader can participate in figuring out what must’ve happened to my father that night.  These quotes are from family members, former clients and shady people who knew him the last years of his life after he was disbarred for embezzlement.  The other narrative is linear and gives life to my relationship with my father, the sometimes comical ways he took care of me like spiking my orange juice with ouzo when I complained in the middle of the night of a sore throat or emboldening me with words of resilience when I felt at my weakest.
     My book has been called a detective memoir with shades of L.A. hardboiled noir.  And while I am flattered at those who take the time to analyze the construct, at the heart of The Shyster’s Daughter is a daughter who loved her flawed and oftentimes very funny father and became a much stronger woman for it.
My Review:
          Having read many memoirs over the past few years, I was not especially intrigued by The Shyster’s Daughter. The story has its uniqueness, as each memoir does, but I felt the story was a little mundane at times and I found myself skimming the pages. I was also a little distracted by the grammatical errors in the book.
 
          Having said that, the author did a great job immersing the reader into her Greek culture, and the way the culture reflected in the behavior of her parents, grandparents, and extended family.
 
          The author’s family definitely had its share of shadiness and troubles and I thought the title quite appropriate for the book. I thought it admirable that the author was so candid about her father’s shady business deals, something most of us might be tempted to hide from the world. The author also showed great courage in confronting the sexual abuse as well as her own craziness in stalking her father’s girlfriend. The fine line between loyalty to self and loyalty to children was crossed many times in the author’s life and her story reflects this.
 
          From the book: “The final lesson he (father) would teach the daughter who stood by him after the break-up of the family is perhaps one of the most important he ever taught me. It’s not so much that he didn’t want me to completely love Jim and start our own family, but rather that I remember to fulfill my dreams and goals along the way.”
 
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