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A Normal Life: A Memoir

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In her critically acclaimed first book, Johnny's Girl, Kim Rich presented the story of her unconventional childhood as the daughter of an Alaskan mobster and a troubled showgirl. This new memoir picks up where Johnny's Girl left off, retelling the story of the author's nearly lifelong pursuit to live what she thought to be "a normal life." Rich tugs at your heartstrings as In her critically acclaimed first book, Johnny's Girl, Kim Rich presented the story of her unconventional childhood as the daughter of an Alaskan mobster and a troubled showgirl. This new memoir picks up where Johnny's Girl left off, retelling the story of the author's nearly lifelong pursuit to live what she thought to be "a normal life." Rich tugs at your heartstrings as you follow her journey toward normalcy, from her teen years, freshly orphaned, through her high school years spent couch-surfing at local families' homes, then through her itinerant college years, a failed first marriage, and a rising career as a journalist. Through frank and down-to-earth storytelling, Rich also tells of her grandfather's kidnapping, a frightening health crisis, and a six-year attempt to have children. In A Normal Life, Rich recounts her vivid story of being an ordinary girl faced with extraordinary circumstances-at seemingly every turn in life-with grace, humility, and wit.


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In her critically acclaimed first book, Johnny's Girl, Kim Rich presented the story of her unconventional childhood as the daughter of an Alaskan mobster and a troubled showgirl. This new memoir picks up where Johnny's Girl left off, retelling the story of the author's nearly lifelong pursuit to live what she thought to be "a normal life." Rich tugs at your heartstrings as In her critically acclaimed first book, Johnny's Girl, Kim Rich presented the story of her unconventional childhood as the daughter of an Alaskan mobster and a troubled showgirl. This new memoir picks up where Johnny's Girl left off, retelling the story of the author's nearly lifelong pursuit to live what she thought to be "a normal life." Rich tugs at your heartstrings as you follow her journey toward normalcy, from her teen years, freshly orphaned, through her high school years spent couch-surfing at local families' homes, then through her itinerant college years, a failed first marriage, and a rising career as a journalist. Through frank and down-to-earth storytelling, Rich also tells of her grandfather's kidnapping, a frightening health crisis, and a six-year attempt to have children. In A Normal Life, Rich recounts her vivid story of being an ordinary girl faced with extraordinary circumstances-at seemingly every turn in life-with grace, humility, and wit.

39 review for A Normal Life: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Belle

    This book was sent to me free of charge by the publisher. Now, I have never read Johnny’s Girl, and perhaps I would have had enjoyed A Normal Life much more if I had, but as it was, I gave this book 2.5 stars . Here’s why: Most memoirs don’t have pictures, but this one did and that was honestly one of my favorite parts of reading it. I found myself looking forward, searching for the next picture, and reading to understand the context when I got there. It made the story much more real for me. After This book was sent to me free of charge by the publisher. Now, I have never read Johnny’s Girl, and perhaps I would have had enjoyed A Normal Life much more if I had, but as it was, I gave this book 2.5 stars . Here’s why: Most memoirs don’t have pictures, but this one did and that was honestly one of my favorite parts of reading it. I found myself looking forward, searching for the next picture, and reading to understand the context when I got there. It made the story much more real for me. After all, seeing is believing. There were also some very humorous anecdotes. Kim Rich has a great sense of humor and even throughout some of her more trying points, when illness and death were stressing her and weighing her down, she would put in a comment or story that would make me laugh. (Now I don’t know if the added comments were actually said/thought in the heat of the moment, or if they were added in editing, but they did make the read a little bit better). My other favorite thing about this memoir was Rich’s honesty about her struggle with infertility and breast cancer. She was very real about what both struggles are like. Particularly in the case of breast cancer, she brought up some points that I had not really thought about before. What is the value of a women’s breasts? Is a mastectomy worth it if it means the cancer won’t ever come back, even if chemotherapy will do the trick? These are questions I would not have thought about, unless I was diagnosed suddenly, but these questions are deep. They’re important. And most of all, Rich provides us with her honest thoughts and answers to these questions. However, there were quite a few bits of A Normal Life: A Memoir that I just didn’t quite care for. The whole thing had the feel of an old grandpa trying to get his grandkids to sit still and listen to a story about his youth. There were parts that felt so unnecessary and pointless to include, details that served no purpose other than pages on a book. Rich is/was a journalist and that is evident in the way that her story flows, much like a history textbook, in which details and events tell the story, but don’t allow for emotional investment. Rich whines about critics saying she wasn’t emotional enough in Johnny’s Girl, but I understand their criticism; by not allowing herself to get emotionally invested in the material, she also prevents her readers from doing so. And if I am not emotionally invested in the characters, I see no reason to keep reading. One of the most annoying quirks of Rich’s writing were her reiterations. If she wrote about a detail that would be important to a story, there were time when she would reiterate it multiple times. Like, over and over. With. Periods. Between. Words. My thoughts while reading, “WE GET IT”. I understand that if a reader misses a detail, it sometimes makes the anecdote less effective, but it also is unnecessary to punctuate every word in trying to make a point, or repeat the point three times. It made me feel once again like my grandfather trying to tell me a story I didn’t want to listen to: giving me details over and over in an attempt to invest me in the story. Yes, there were parts that made me feel deeply for Kim, there were parts that made me laugh, and parts that made me (almost) cry. But for the most part, I felt unattached and uninterested. I really hope my next read is more interesting, and a little less dry and unemotional. What have you guys been reading recently? Has anyone else had the same problem, of feeling uninvested (and losing focus as a result)? Comment and let me know! I would love to feel better about myself.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Seham

    من العادي ان يحصل المرء على حياة عادية، و من الأمر المثير للإستغراب أن يجاهد لإبقاءها عادية. في هذه الرواية تجاهد الشخصية الثانوية على الفصل بين حياتها الخاصة وتلك العامة. سيصبح ما يعده المرء مجمعا يوميا عاديا، عيدا لمن يفتقده، و ستصبح حتمية ان يستيقظ على امل لقاء غيرهم احتمالا ضعيفا. ستصبح الضحكة الصافية من القلب حلية، و الكلمة التي لا تنتهي بغمزة منية، ستصبح مشاهدة التلفاز عذابا، و الخروج للشارع تحديا. ستستغرب حين يناديك شخص ما بالاسم ، و ستتعلم ان الحياة مستمرة رغم كل شيء. سيقول البعض ان هذا من العادي ان يحصل المرء على حياة عادية، و من الأمر المثير للإستغراب أن يجاهد لإبقاءها عادية. في هذه الرواية تجاهد الشخصية الثانوية على الفصل بين حياتها الخاصة وتلك العامة. سيصبح ما يعده المرء مجمعا يوميا عاديا، عيدا لمن يفتقده، و ستصبح حتمية ان يستيقظ على امل لقاء غيرهم احتمالا ضعيفا. ستصبح الضحكة الصافية من القلب حلية، و الكلمة التي لا تنتهي بغمزة منية، ستصبح مشاهدة التلفاز عذابا، و الخروج للشارع تحديا. ستستغرب حين يناديك شخص ما بالاسم ، و ستتعلم ان الحياة مستمرة رغم كل شيء. سيقول البعض ان هذا هو ثمن ان تكون من اقلية، و المؤلم ان تبدأ برؤية العالم بعين الأقلية. ليس الأكثرية قساة بل إن معظمهم كان ضحية لايادي تتخذ من الأقلية سببا لحروب و مجازر و فتن. هناك دائما من بشعل النيران خلف من يطفأها، و ينقل الكلمات مقلوبة على عاقبها. من لا يعنيه في شيء ان تكون للمرء عائلة او اسم، عمل او مستقبل، و ان ينكر حقيقة تدخله السافر فيها وفرض نفسه قسرا عليها. السلام...سلام الفكر و النفس و الروح، الحب الذي اصبح ذكره معيبا، رغم انه لابد من ان يرتبط بحب الله و العائلة و النفس. من لا يحب نفسه لن يمتلك القدرة يوما على حب غيره. من لا يتقبلها لن يتقبل وجود غيرها من انفس رائعة و مميزة فقط لكونها مختلفة. ليست الفكرة ان تتنكر لنفسك لقد خلقك الله بها، لا تنكر حقيقتها، تعرف عليها، و ابذل جهدك لتصبح افضل نسخة تعنون بها وجودك في الحياة. حافظ عليها وإن رفضها الجميع...قد تخسرهم...لكنك لن تخسر نفسك. هذه الرواية ستعلمنا انه ليس من المعيب ان تكون مختلفا ... وحقيقة ان بعض دروس الحياة اكثر قسوة من تصبح مجرد ذكرى. ستصبح ماض تقاوم لئلا تتذكره و حياة ستستعين بان هناك املا في إشراقها...و ضميرا يرفض الدم والعنف اينما وجد....و يسأل الله أن يعينه على السماح. هذا السماح الذي يعني ان تترك الماضي يرحل على امل بالا يعود....لكنه لا يعني ابدا ان تسمح لمن كانوا خلف دماره بان يكونوا جزءا من هذا المستقبل. ما داموا ليسوا افرادا من عائلتك او ذويك.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bleu

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  6. 4 out of 5

    Glori

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kayo

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sweetpea

  9. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Dreazy

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  11. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Ingham

  12. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nora

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elly

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Mccoy

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jamie K

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marilee

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jazmin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jes

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robbin La Vine

  24. 4 out of 5

    TLK

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelle

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tari Nejang

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim Taber

  30. 5 out of 5

    John Ceffalio

  31. 4 out of 5

    Michele

  32. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  33. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Johnson

  34. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Cooper Littlejohn

  35. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

  36. 5 out of 5

    Mari Mankey

  37. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  38. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  39. 4 out of 5

    Rachella Baker

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