The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter has been on my to-read list for YEARS.

I’ve been intrigued by it. The cover features the author, Carson McCullers, who wrote this in 1940 when she was only 23 years old. I was still dependent on my parents and eating easy-mac when I was 23- I can’t imagine sitting down and writing a classic novel.

(Google the author’s life- such a tragedy. She battled alcohol addiction, tumultuous relationships, and her husband’s suicide before dying at 50 from a brain hemorrhage.)

McCullers’ first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, explores the spiritual isolation of outcasts in a small town of the Southern United States. One of the main characters, John Singer, is a deaf-mute who lives in a boardinghouse. Despite his disability, he attracts close friendships with misfits. The book hits on racism in the deep south, poverty, loneliness, and the struggles that come with the American dream. Parts were difficult to read. For instance, an African-American father struggled to cope after his teenage son is unfairly sent to prison camp and gets both of his feet sawed off for talking back to the white guards.

I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars and here’s why: it was depressing and slow. (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is to literature what August and Everything After is to music.)

McCullers is a gifted author and her books are easy to read (no flowery showoff lauguage like many modern authors) but LORD the book was depressing and the sadness just didn’t seem to end (it was around 350 pages). I kept waiting for something to happen, but there didn’t seem to be a true climax.

The book DID cause me to pause and meditate on the plight of African-Americans in the south and the way they were treated because of the color of their skin. It was courageous for McCullers to have written these things in the 1940s when she risked persecution herself.

Have you read this? What did you think?

    The Dinner List

    If you could have a dinner party with any five people- dead or alive- who would you choose?

    That’s the premise of this book- The Dinner List– by Rebecca Serle.

    I chose this book because it came up in my Goodreads feed as a book one of my friends was currently reading. I thought the cover was lovely (totally judged a book by its cover), liked that it was short (only 263 pages), and it was available at my local library (no waiting list ??).

    I’d give this 3 stars out 5.

    Mindless read, sappy sad love story, and somewhat thought provoking. On her thirtieth birthday, the lead character, Sabrina, chose to have dinner with her deceased and estranged father, Audrey Hepburn, her deceased former fiancé, her college philosphy professor, and her BFF. The book has a sad and unexpected ending (I don’t want to spoil anything), and I finished the book feeling unfulfilled. It was just okay.

    What I liked about this book was the different perspectives of life that each of the characters offered. For instance, the protagonist, Sabrina, struggled with feelings of abandonment and resentment after her father left their family as a child and then died before she ever had chance to address her issues with him. After leaving them, the father got remarried and had another family, almost as if Sabrina was dispensable. As the story unfolded, it came out that the father had longtime struggles with alcoholism and that he deeply regretted how things went down with Sabrina and her mother. There are two sides to every story!

    Ok my turn. If I could have dinner with five people, I’d choose Jesus, Dolly Parton, Oprah, George Washington, and my deceased paternal Grandma.

    What say ye? I want to hear your five!

      Cheers to the Dorm Friends

      Parents of soon-to-be college students: make them live in the dorms for at least the first year.

      I met some of my lifetime best friends in the dorms freshman year of college at the University of Florida. Three of us in the photo above all met while living in Trusler Hall and the other two- also strangers to each other- lived together in some Thomas Hall (across from what was formerly The Purple Porpoise) didn’t even have air conditioning.

      At first, I begged my parents not to make me live in the dorms. When I got the dorm assignment, my heart sank because it was so far from everything else on campus and I didn’t have a car or a desire to figure out the bus schedule. The one perk of my dorm was a Blimpie sub shop downstairs where the girls and I would go in the middle of the night to buy essentials like chips, ice cream, and gum.

      Despite my initial lack of enthusiasm about the living situation, God was like “move over and let me show you what’s up!”

      I made a lot of friends in college who I still keep in touch with today, but nobody quite understands you like the dorm friends.

      They were there when you broke up with your high school boyfriend. They were there when you aced or failed your first exam. They were there to help you pick an outfit for a fraternity or sorority social. They saw how you reacted when your roommate hogged the phone, which was a landline because that’s all we had back then. They were there to tell you if your clothes were wrinkled. They were there to encourage you to study for an exam instead of hitting up a big party (or the opposite). They were there at 2 a.m. to share your order of cheesy bread and ranch dipping sauce (e.g. Pokey Sticks).

      Dorm life isn’t supposed to be the Ritz. Things like shower shoes, sharing a room with a stranger, walking far to get to class, being under the thumb of an R.A., shoving as much food as you can into a tiny rectangular fridge are all part of the experience. It’s what makes college fun!

      My friends from the dorms and I live in five different cities. Once a year, we trek to a different location for a reunion. It takes effort- something that’s hard with careers and families- but the effort is worth it.

      Cheers to the dorm friends.

        Streamline Your Morning Routine with Cascadian Farm

        The Champagne Supernova + Cascadian Farm Organic Cereal

        On school days, I’m usually struggling to get my family out the door without being late for work or school. I don’t have time to make anyone a five-course gourmet breakfast with eggs, bacon, toast, and the whole shebang. Shoot, I barely have time for my regular duties as a morning hair-stylist, shoe-tier, and assistant tooth-brusher.

        Luckily, Cascadian Farm’s New Gluten Free Honey Vanilla Crunch cereal is the perfect weekday food solution for the busy parent. (Which is all of us!) Not only is it simple to prepare (just add a bowl, milk, and a spoon), but it also TASTES delicious. My kids don’t even realize that what they are eating is organic and nutritious.

        Cascadian Farm’s new cereal collection comes in a variety of flavors: cinnamon crunch, honey oat crunch, and gluten free berry vanilla puffs. 
        Let me tell you about Cascadian Farm.


          Advice About Therapy


          I’m not a therapist and have no background or training as a mental health professional.

          However, I’ve received my own therapy and have encountered literally hundreds of psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, and counselors in the decade of my practice as a lawyer. Hear me out.

          1. It is okay to break up with your therapist. If you are seeing a professional for personal therapy, child therapy, or marriage counseling and you find them to be ineffective, stop wasting your time or money. Find someone else. It doesn’t mean the therapist isn’t good- it just means they aren’t good for you. This rings true if you’ve seen the therapist for two sessions or two years.

          2. Do your research before seeing a therapist. Do not hire the first person you find in the yellow pages. They are not all created equally. If you are dealing with substance abuse issues, you need to see someone who specializes in substance abuse. If you are dealing with infidelity, you need to see someone who specializes in infidelity. If you are dealing with chronic depression, then you need to see someone who is able to prescribe medications. If you need marriage counseling, you might need to consider a man versus a woman and whether they have a passive style (e.g. sits back and asks how something made you feel) or an active style (e.g. isn’t afraid to voice his or her opinion and calls things as they see them.)

          3. You get what you pay for. This is hard for me to write because I know it will frustrate those who lack financial resources. I also know that there are some excellent low-cost therapists- but the lines to see them can be frustratingly long. (I’m not implying that only good therapists cost a lot of money and if they charge little money, then they are automatically bad.) From a global perspective and what I’ve seen in 10 years, the better therapists are expensive. There is a reason they are able to charge high rates for their services. If you can afford to go to a therapist that you need to see and you are financially able, this is an area that I wouldn’t skimp- even if it means you’ll have to cut corners in other areas of your life.

          4. Be careful who you share your secrets with. It’s great to be open to our friends and colleagues about our journeys, but use care in who you share things with. A person who gossips to you will gossip about you. There are a lot more wonderful people in the world than bad, but there are also people who will be careless with your secrets or could use them against you later. xo

          Cheers to happiness!

            Gear up for your Morning Workout with Cascadian Farm

            The Champagne Supernova + Cascadian Farm Organic Fruit Infused bars

            Before I had kids, I worked out whenever and wherever I wanted. I didn’t have to plan ahead to go kayaking, biking, or to a workout class. I could wear what I wanted. I could leave the house when I wanted. I could eat breakfast or a snack before or after the workout. I had all the time in the world. 

            Some of my favorite workouts are simple walks on the beach, where I have time to breathe in the salty air, feel the sand on my feet, and hear fish jumping and seagulls squawking. I like to be alone with my thoughts and truly have time for myself before the day gets busier. 


              Don’t Blink

              When you’re in high school, can’t wait to get out of the house and away from your parents’ rules.

              When you’re in college, you want to graduate, make money, move to a cool new city, and be out in the real world.

              When you’re newly employed and in your early twenties, you can’t wait for the promotion, get married, and start the rest of your life.

              When you’re engaged, you’re planning a wedding. You get caught up in the minutiae of choosing your bridesmaids, the flowers, the band, THE DRESS, and the guest list. And then you blink and the day is over.


                Don’t Sweat Your Pet with Febreze and Swiffer

                May is National Pet Month!

                I’m an animal lover. I love dogs, cats, rabbits, horses,
                even cows. Give me all ‘dem animals (except reptiles… those can go somewhere else!)

                Before we had kids, we had two black labs. You can read about them here.

                I loved those dogs. When I was at work, I would literally sit at my desk and wonder if they were thinking about me at home. I even once asked my veterinarian if he thought dogs could feel love. He looked at me like I was weird and then said “yes, of course!” (After that, the vet also stopped calling me to report about the dogs and instead, called my husband, but that’s a sensitive subject for another time.)


                  Say Goodbye to Bugs with Zevo

                  In Florida, the only thing worse than hurricane season is bug season.

                  They’re everywhere: on my clothes, stuck to the side of my house, and all over my windshield. Their presence is a nuisance and they completely deter me from wanting to go outside.

                  When any bugs invade, most of us are faced with choosing between two evils:

                  1. Using traditional insecticides, knowing they’ll kill the bugs, but also worrying about the chemicals being used inside the house; or
                  2. Using sprays advertised as safe and natural that make us feel better about using them, but they perform poorly and don’t actually kill the bugs.

                  With Zevo, you don’t have to choose. 


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