Author: Claudia Sternbach
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Buy The Book: Amazon
From the Publisher:
Kisses, even the ones that don’t happen, can be the trace of what’s constant when life changes. In childhood, when what seems to define everything is competition—for style, for knowing, for experience—a kiss is the first first. When a girl’s father moves out and chooses a new family, a kiss on the head from him may be the trace of constancy that she wants most.
Later, such things take on a different flavor. Sometimes the kiss she wants doesn’t come. Sometimes the one she wouldn’t have is forced upon her. From time to time, the one she has kissed before is lost to her.
Some kisses are final. When things are most hectic a kiss can be a celebration. And when circumstances grow threatening—to a woman, her family, her sister—a kiss becomes the reassertion of the most vital connections.
The rich story in these essays rings with good humor and with moving wistfulness. Throughout, Sternbach maintains a perfect balance between them as her story moves from the bittersweet desires of childhood on through loss and love.
Reading Lips is the tale of one woman who is just trying to get life right. (Summary provided by Unbridled.)
I was very excited to finally get a chance to read Claudia Sternbach’s Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses, and I was not disappointed. Reading Lips covers a broad expanse of Sternbach’s life. From tumbling off the roof of her elementary school and living to tell about it all the way to her struggle with cancer in her adult years, Sternbach never misses a beat. She manages to keep the reader in the palm of her hand as she shares a life story that performs a spirited dance between humor and sadness.
One of the most humorous passages from the memoir was about how Sternbach kind of went on a date with a San Quentin prisoner. Other funny parts included her brief foray into international diamond smuggling and a piece on the birth of her daughter called “Nothing Like The Movies” that made me truly glad I opted for c-sections. As humorous as the memoir of any major comedian, Sternbach’s Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses has the added bonus of being heartwarming and touching. The chapter entitled “Motivation”describes Sternbach’s view from the bedroom rug she found herself unable to move from for long lengths of time when undergoing cancer treatment and literally gives the reader a new perspective from which to think about the disease. The author’s portrait of herself as an adolescent desperately missing her father after her parent’s divorce is a running storyline throughout the memoir. The story of Sternbach’s relationship with her father haunted me long after I finished the book. In short, Sternbach left me wanting more. And wanting more is always a good thing.
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