This past summer I read quite a few memoirs. I love reading the words of the person themselves sharing their lives. These four are all secular memoirs from people with a somewhat different worldview then me.
None-the-less I enjoyed them all.
The first was Drew Barrymore's memoir 'Wildflower.' (I love this cover, it says so much about Drew!) I listened to this one on audio from our library. It's read by Drew herself and I enjoyed listening to her tell her stories.
One of my favorite Drew Barrymore movies is 'Everafter.' There is just something about the Cinderella story that gets me every time. It reminds me to be kind and courageous, even when the world around me is not. It also makes me think about my Savior and how He has rescued me... Anyway back to the memoir. : )
Drew shares different parts of her life experiences in each chapter and in no particular order. Coming from a very dysfunctional family and living on her own since she was 14, you would think she was a messed up girl, but instead I found a woman who is open to learning, a great mother and maturing as she gets older.
There were a few chapters I could have done without reading, one in particular, she shares a 'spiritual experience,' that I cringed at. I pray she one day meets the One who made her, loves her unconditionally and came to die for her. He's far greater than any 'spiritual experience.'
Warning: This book contains several curse words.
The second was a book called, 'The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss' by Anderson Cooper and his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. I listened to this on audio as well, and it was read by the authors. I really enjoyed the conversation style of the book being read by mother and son.
I felt a real sadness in listening to them speak though. They have both been through some tragedies that have been extremely hard on them. First the death of Anderson's father when he was 10 and then the suicide of his brother when he was in his twenties.
The reason they wrote this book was to get to know each other better and have nothing unsaid, as Gloria is 92 and nearing the end of her life. (I do have to say she looks amazing!) I found this encouraging and an important message: to take the time to really get to know your loved ones.
I really respected that they could discuss topics they did not agree on and yet still show love and respect for one another. I didn't agree on some of their worldviews either.
Gloria believes positive thoughts have power to bring on positive things in life, but like Anderson, I don't agree. This way of thinking has not only infiltrated the world, but also the church. I believe bad things happen to all of us because we are sinful creatures in rebellion to a holy God. He came to save us from this, and uses the bad for good to those who love Him.
God always wants our good, that's what love is.
There's no positive energy or thoughts that have power. This is an illusion. This doesn't mean we don't try to look positively on things, just that our thoughts don't hold some kind of power over God's good will.
Warning: This book contains a few curse words, and some talk on sexuality.
Thirdly, I read Leah Remini's book, 'Troublemaker.' Leah grew up in the religion of Scientology and I felt burdened for her as she shared her story. So much undoing to be done. I am so proud of her though for standing up, speaking out and leaving, when it was not an easy thing to do.
Leah was 8 when her mother joined the 'church of Scientology.' It's all she has known for most of her life. The dedication the 'church' requires is outrageous and so consuming. I just wanted to yell...there is freedom from this!!
The true God only requires you to respond to His call of repentance and grace, to be saved.
No working up levels of spirituality.
Just respond to His call to know Him and love Him. God is about relationship, and true salvation is free!
I could go on and on about the foolishness of this cult, the bondage, the robbery of money and soul, but I will get back to Leah...
I loved her heart. She is a brave woman and I am thankful she has the support of her family, who left the cult with her. She still struggles with what she was taught, and I sincerely pray for her that God will bring her complete healing.
Warning: Leah uses the 'F' word often, so be prepared for a lot of cursing if you decide to read this book.
Lastly, I read Dick Van Dyke's memoir, 'My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business.'
I Love Dick Van Dyke on his TV show 'The Dick Van Dyke' show and his part as Bert in 'Mary Poppins.'
He is a joy to watch as an entertainer and I respect that it was important to him to keep his entertainment clean.
He was born in 1925, (another 90+ year old who looks amazing for his age!), to a poor family and shares stories from his youth as well as how he got into show business. I really enjoyed reading these stories.
But I did feel an uneasiness reading some of his book and I will explain why.
Dick Van Dyke was raised in church and at one time he seriously wanted to become a minister. He never did, but was an elder in his church for many years. Then he had a fall out, and left the church. The fall out was in regards to racism and I wholly agree with why he had to leave, but to dismiss God and church all together, really disturbed me. He later went on to have an affair and leave his wife.
His beliefs confused me and sounded more liberal than Christian at times. I finished the book wondering if he had ever really met Jesus.
Overall I felt a sadness after reading this one.
Warning: This book contains a few mild curse words and the Lord's name in vain.
One thing I was reminded of as I read each of these memoirs was that people need Jesus. I know that sounds cliche, but its how I felt. All of these people are sweet, loving and caring, but there was an emptiness and sadness in their words. They need the Savior, the One that can and does love them unconditionally. Please pray for each of them.