Book Review: Never Stop Dancing by John Robinette and Robert Jacoby

It is said April is the cruelest month and for John Robinette this is true. In April of 2010 he lost his wife Amy.

When it comes to losing a spouse there are countless books about and by widows by not a whole lot about widowers. The only two I can think of are books written by Rob Sheffield and Mathias Freese.

Now there is another: Never Stop Dancing.

Divided into four parts named in the four seasons starting in the summer after Robinette lost his treasured wife Amy and it’s aftermath.

Encouraged by his friend Jacoby, Robinette was asked to share his experience as an act of therapy and healing and Never Stop Dancing conveys both of their stories.

Robinette goes into heartbreaking detail about losing Amy from her sudden demise to moving on finding someone new to love like planning her funeral, cancelling her credit cards, to experiencing the stages of grief, not to mention being a single dad to two boys deeply entrenched in their own grief. And all of it truly pierces your heart.

And there are tales of why Amy was so loved. Described as Robinette knew her true self, Amy seems almost too good to be true, but one person I wish I new personally.

Jacoby also shares his experience helping his friend cope and his story is also necessary in conveying Robinette’s path of bereavement and healing.

Never Stop Dancing isn’t just about losing a spouse. It is also a story of male friendship.

This book is written in exquisite detail and when you finish it you just want to everyone a huge group hug.

Book Review: Nina’s Memento Mori by Mathias B. Freese

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I have no doubt my much appreciated readers remember the name Mathias B. Freese. I reviewed his memoir When I’m Alone.

Mr.Freese is back with another memoir, this time about his relationship with his late second wife, Nina. This memoir is called Nina’s Memento Mori.

Two lovebirds in their.golden years, Mathias and Nina meet in a very modern way-e.harmony.com.  They bond over troubled childhoods, failedrelationships, heartbreak, shared interests, and so on. But they connected the way that knows no age-true blue love.

One way Mathias and Nina bonded was through a shared love of movies. Freese uses various film terms like fade-in, dissolve, close-up, and director’s cut. And Nina’s Memento Mori is divided into five parts:

  1. Ticket, please
  2. Four Takes
  3. Intermission: Tesserae
  4. Cutting Room
  5. Coda

As a movie fan-especially of the classics-I loved this clever touch.

Throughout Nina’s Memento Mori are photographs. Some are of Nina as a little girl with blonde curls, wearing pinafores and smiling in a way that belies here problematic homelife. And then there are photos of Nina as young woman, slender and, gamine. Her face is both stoic and lovely, determined to overcome her past as only she can. She has a beauty no longer welcomed in an age of plastic Instagram models and reality show manneqins.

Freese writes in a style that is sensitive and compelling, but never maudlin and self-pitying. He writes so vividly of Nina and their marriage that I can’t help but see this book  in cinematic form. Who should play Nina? Then again perhaps Nina Memento Mori is best served not touched by celluloid. I am satisfied to see Nina in my mind’s eye.

“We Interrupt This Blog For a Special and Important Announcement!”

Meet Charlotte Laws. To call her a “Renaissance Woman” is an understatement. She’s lived nine intriguing lives. Now she shares her story in her memoir Undercover Debutante: The Search for my Birth Parents and a Bald Husband.

Author Bio according to Laws:

“Charlotte Laws has authored best-selling books as well as over a hundred articles in noted publications, such as the Washington Post, Salon, the L.A. Daily News, Huffington Post, Gawker, Newsweek, and the Los Angeles Times.

 She starred on the NBC show The Filter and has been a weekly political commentator on BBC television for the past three years. She has appeared on CNN, Nightline, Fox News, MSNBC, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Late Show, and Larry King Live, and she has been the subject of articles by the Associated Press and in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Post, the Guardian, and the New Yorker, to name a few.  

 Laws was a Los Angeles politician for eight years and worked with the FBI. She has experimented with twenty-eight occupations, some of them quite unusual. She has been an executive director, an actress, a cab driver, a private investigator, a stand-up comic, a backup singer for an Elvis imitator, a city commissioner, and a bodyguard for a prostitute.  

 Laws penned the award-winning books Rebel in High Heels and Devil in the Basement, and she was voted one of the “thirty fiercest women in the world” by BuzzFeed.

 She has a doctorate from the University of Southern California as well as two master’s degrees and two bachelor’s degrees. She completed postdoctoral work at Oxford University, England.

 Laws is an internationally known animal advocate and anti-revenge porn activist (often called “the Erin Brockovich of revenge porn”).

 She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her three rescue dogs, and an assortment of rescue hens.”

If anyone deserves some publicity from Bookish Jen it is Charlotte Laws, and that why it is an honor to publicize Laws’ memoir, “Undercover Debutante: The Search for my Birth Parents and a Bald Husband,“ which comes out on August 15, 2019.

According to Laws, her memoir is a funny and fast-paced read about her life and recently won an award from the highly-respected Publisher’s Weekly. You can pre-order Undercover Debutante: The Search for my Birth Parents and a Bald Husband at the Barnes and Noble website today!

The following is a brief blurb of her memoir:

“But who is this former Atlanta debutante who gave up riches for hardship, who gave up security to become a penniless single mom with an assault rifle pointed at her bed?  Undercover Debutante is a memoir about Laws’s young adult years in Los Angeles.

 Her adoptive dad was the Captain Hook of her existence, always ready to take a verbal swipe at her. Laws searched for her birth parents and learned that the dark world of devil worship had touched her family tree.

 She worked as a maid, go-go dancer, and private eye. She was held at gunpoint by one man and almost killed by another. She faced romantic heartbreak and sexual infidelity, dating an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ and a clinically insane psychologist. She even had a crush on a dead guy. 

 There were celebrity adventures as well. She crashed star-studded award shows and private parties. She finagled past Secret Service. More than once. She interviewed the president and went on the worst date of her life with a well-known sex symbol whom later died from drug abuse.  

 Did she ever marry? Did she meet her birth parents? Did she learn what matters in life?

What’s the true story of America’s most endearing rebel?”    

Well, I don’t know about any you but I know I’m definitely intrigued by Ms. Laws and her memoir sounds like one hell of a ride and read.

To learn more about Charlotte Laws and her memoir, The Undercover Debutante, check out the following resources:

Charlotte Laws Personal Website

Undercover Debutante Website

Wikipedia Page

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