Archive for October, 2019


In which I struggle to understand the reasoning for risking everything you hold dear in life for the guy from Dude, Where’s My Car? CBR11 Review 45.

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First off, this was not a book I would have ever read on my own. My book club chose it for October. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate a celebrity memoir, I just don’t have any feelings one way or the other about Demi Moore.

Or at least, I didn’t. Now I guess I have a few.

Demi “tells all” in this book, which starts off with a drug overdose, complete with an out-of-body experience. She definitely knows how to hook the reading audience. With immediate promises to spill all the dirt about her marriages, her kids, and life in the Brat Pack, she makes big promises – which she mostly keeps.

Demi had a ridiculously chaotic childhood. Filled with alcoholism, paternity secrets, infidelities, and constant cross-country moves, Demi had trouble fitting in and making friends at school (she was never in the same school very long). She also had a chronic kidney problem, keeping her in the hospital frequently. Eventually, Demi’s parents split up and she lived with her mom in Los Angeles.

After starting a random friendship with Nastassja Kinski, Demi decided to try modeling and acting. She got a few modeling gigs, and soon moved out on her own. It should be noted here that Demi’s decision to move out is based upon her mother’s HORRIBLE and UNFORGIVEABLE parenting. Demi was on her own and living with an older man when she was only 15 or 16, already drinking hard and experimenting with drugs.

Demi gets married, gets discovered, and starts making movies and taking ALL of the cocaine. By the time she is hired for St Elmo’s Fire, she is divorced and known as such a hard partier, that the production puts her in mandatory rehab or she can’t have the job.

Demi drops a lot of names – Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Jon Cryer, Charlie Sheen. She describes going to a random party one night and meeting Bruce Willis, the start of their whirlwind courtship and marriage, with the birth of Rumer Willis not long after.

She talks a lot about her body and the clear eating disorder (while never named) she had for many years. She talks a lot about her relationship with drugs and alcohol. And it was clear that she would replace one addiction with another – replace drinking with exercising. Replace drugs with intense parenting. She did not do anything half-assed. She was all in on whatever was going on in her life.

EXCEPT for her marriages and relationships.

Demi admits that she was so busy always being who the man in her life wanted her to be that she never got to be herself.

She and Bruce split up after 3 kids, but stay friendly, living across the street from each other in Idaho.

And then she meets Ashton. And this is where I started yelling at her through the Bluetooth in my car.

She was not only in love with Ashton, she was addicted to him. And it caused her to make some crazy mistakes which ended up ultimately ruining her marriage and damaging her relationships with her children and Bruce.

It seems like Demi is in a pretty good place right now, so I assume getting all of her story out was cathartic for her.

I guess her story was interesting, if only because most of it took place in the public eye. Vanity Fair! StripTease! GI Jane! Emilio! Bruce! Ashton!

But I wasn’t all that enthused about it. I had issues with the writing – while I never doubted that this was Demi’s story, I had trouble believing that she “wrote” this book. And I so disliked her after her disastrous decisions while married to Ashton that I had trouble staying invested in the rest of the book. I’m glad she seems healthy and happy now, but I’m in no hurry to stream any of her old movies and relive her glory days.


If Uncle Stevie’s name is on it, odds are I’m going to read it. CBR11 Review 44.

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Its no secret that I am not a huge fan of flying. I understand that it is the safest way to travel. But I usually choose to drive if I can. I like to be able to choose my own route, to leave when I want to leave, to stop when I want to stop. I like to be in control of my journey. I think the lack of that control in an airplane is part of what makes me uneasy. Oh, and the fact that I’m in a metal tube shooting across the sky is another part.

So the odds were good that this book about the potential horrors of flying was going to get under my skin. And some of it did, quite a bit.

Here is a list of what is included in this collection:
Introduction by Stephen King
Cargo by E. Michael Lewis
The Horror of the Heights by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet by Richard Matheson
The Flying Machine by Ambrose Bierce
Lucifer! by E.C. Tubb
The Fifth Category by Tom Bissell
Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds by Dan Simmons
Diablitos by Cody Goodfellow
Air Raid by John Varley
You Are Released by Joe Hill
Warbirds by David J. Schow
The Flying Machine by Ray Bradbury
Zombies on a Plane by Bev Vincent
They Shall Not Grow Old by Roald Dahl
Murder in the Air by Peter Tremayne
The Turbulence Expert by Stephen King
Falling by James Dickey
Afterword by Bev Vincent

I listened to this audiobook on and off over several months, and to be honest, can’t even remember what some of these stories were about without looking them up…but I’ll do my best to try and figure out which one was which.

Highlights for me included:

Cargo, a story about a young guy in the military who was assigned to the cargo plane that flew the bodies of the Jamestown victims – mostly children — home after the mass suicides. What happens on the plane might even be worse than what happened with Jim Jones. This story was narrated by the great Santino Fontana, and he really made me feel for the young officer and the other military members on the plane.

The Fifth Category, which was suggested for the compilation by Owen King. Those Kings know their stuff – this one creeped me out. A former intelligence officer, infamous for his involvement in places like Guantanamo, wakes up completely alone on a plane. What was real? What was fabricated? And why?

Diablitos, a mesmerizing and horrific tale about a poor young idiot who decides to make money by smuggling South American artifacts back home to sell to rich Hollywood art collectors. Things do not go well for this guy, and for everyone else on his flight. And probably the rest of civilization.

You Are Released, by Joe Hill, who I’m finding has more and more to say about the state of current affairs. Like his dad, he isn’t afraid to name names and point fingers. In this short story, North Korea nukes Guam and the US retaliates, all while this small group of characters is on a flight. Unsure of where they are going and what they will find when they get there, this one scared me beyond belief.

And of course, we have to talk about the all-time classic, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. There’s a reason that Richard Matheson is so respected and revered by authors like King and Hill. His ability to create a feeling of horror – in a story that literally EVERYONE knows – is unmatched. So much creepier than either the Shatner or Lithgow Twilight Zone versions. David Morse reads this for the audio version and he truly becomes Robert Wilson.

And yes, there is a “new” story by Stephen King in here…and it is fine. It feels like an old story, one that he wrote decades ago, but pulled out of a drawer and tweaked to add modern vocabulary and technology. It wasn’t that scary or threatening, but I still liked it. It reminded me a lot of Everything’s Eventual – a mysterious organization paying excellent money for someone to not really do anything at all, and it somehow makes a difference between life and death for everyone involved.

The absolute scariest thing in this collection was learning that James Dickey’s epic poem was based on the true story of a stewardess who was sucked out of a plane in 1962 and fell to her death. I can’t even imagine the terror of that poor woman.

None of the stories were bad, I just didn’t feel like they all belonged in the same collection. Yes, they were all about flying, but they didn’t all fit together too well. We had hard scifi, classic who-done-it tales, a lyrical poem, and zombies. Overall an interesting bunch of stories, but the lack of cohesion brought it down a star for me.


“He still woke up some days and believed for fifteen seconds or so that he had something to do, until he remembered he didn’t. The sixteenth second was a killer.” CBR11 Review 43.

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I hadn’t heard of this lovely book until Dustin wrote about it over the summer. And then I saw it EVERYWHERE. On every list. In every store. Every day on every social media platform. Apparently, I had to read it.

I’m quite glad I did.

Evvie Drake has been widowed for about a year. She has barely coped since her husband died — she doesn’t leave the house much, she doesn’t really socialize with anyone (ecxept for her best friend, Andy), and she hasn’t been working. But her isolation isn’t caused by the reasons we might think, like sadness, grief, or despair.

Evvie doesn’t know how to handle the fact that the night that her husband — the town’s golden child — died, she was in the process of leaving him and his incessant emotional abuse.

Scrambling to make ends meet and to keep up the payments on the enormous home her husband bought (without asking her or showing her!), Andy convinces her to rent out the downstairs apartment to a friend of his, a former Major League Baseball pitcher named Dean.

Dean has had recent troubles of his own. He’s a World Series winner and used to date Hollywood actresses and models. But now, he’s got “the yips,” which according to wikipedia, is:

The yips is the loss of fine motor skills in athletes. The condition occurs suddenly and without apparent explanation, usually in mature athletes with years of experience. It is poorly understood and has no known treatment or therapy. Athletes affected by the yips sometimes recover their ability, which may require a change in technique. Many are forced to abandon their sport at the highest level.

The yips manifest themselves as sudden movements at crucial moments, and occur most often in sports in which athletes are required to perform a single precise and well-timed action such as golf and darts. The condition is also experienced by snooker players, bowlers in cricket and pitchers in baseball.

Dean thinks that maybe, a year hiding out in rural Maine, not thinking about baseball, might help him figure out what’s wrong with him, and what he can do next, now that he can’t do the one thing he’s always done.

And so, Evvie and Dean are brought together, and quickly make a deal: she won’t ask him about baseball and he won’t ask her about her husband. Evvie and Dean grow closer and become friends, with the possibility of “something more” when Evvie is ready, but they can’t tiptoe around the forbidden topics of baseball and husbands forever.

I adored this book.

It works as a story about small-town Maine. It made me want to get in my car and drive however-many hours to Portland, to enjoy some beer and lobster and whoopie pies.

It also works as a story about friendship. Andy (and Monica, his girlfriend) was not just a supporting, stock friend character. We knew and cared about his life and his daughters, and when things got sticky between him and Evvie, they couldn’t work things out fast enough.

It works as a story about baseball (or really, and professional sport), and the fascinating time period when an athlete suddenly isn’t an athlete anymore. What happens next?

It works as a story about dysfunctional and abusive relationships, and the PTSD for the survivors of such treatment. Tim was, pure and simple, an abusive asshole. Evvie’s inability to share the truth of her relationship with Andy or her dad (who was adorable) was raw and real.

And it works as a romance, although I wouldn’t qualify this book as a “romance” per se. Evvie and Dean are intelligent adults, both working through their own crap, who know that they want more out of life. They just need to figure out how to get what they want.

I was sad when I finished this. Now I just need to wait for the sure-to-be-disappointing movie version that can’t possibly live up to the standards I’ve set in my mind.


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