Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: Global Mom

Global Mom, by Melissa Dalton-Bradford
Genre: Memoir
Audible Audiobook Narrated by the author
You might like this books if you like books on mothering, travel, life in other countries, or memoirs involving family life.

I listened to the audiobook read by the author.

This was a nice listen to a compelling story that, even though my life is has different challenges from the author's, was relatable to me. It was obvious that she loves words like I do. I don't always get my writing right, but I sure have fun with it, and I felt this author's absolute love of literature and language.

As for her "exciting" life abroad? Every family goes through changes, challenges and heartbreaks, and Mrs. Bradford handles her ups and downs in a down-to-earth yet mindful way. Beyond the layer of what a tourist sees in a foreign land, there is a population of humans living lives that are pretty much like most other human lives. If we haven't lived abroad, I think we tend to infuse life overseas with a movie-like dose of fantasy. The movies don't talk about the confusing grocery shopping, or the exhausted headache that comes at the end of a day of trying to speak a foreign language (I spent one summer in another land, so I know a little). I was glad about her appreciation of the local cultures where she found herself living. I loved that she learned the languages and honored the cultures. I could relate to her passionate mothering and her support of her husband's career. I liked that she found things to do for herself and made a life with personal meaning as she went along, rather than waiting for life to happen in some way. I was sad for her that she experienced depression, loneliness and other hard things. I love that she actively engaged in her surroundings and circumstances. If I'm to be influenced by this book, I would say that I get to do all those things too, and it might be easier for me since I live in the country of my birth. I don't have to copy her life or wish for her life.  I can make living in Suburban Washington DC as interesting as I want it to be.

It's brave to write a book, especially one that isn't made up, but instead is basically the opening up of your journal, your memories and your whole self. I put my personal stuff out there all the time on my blog, so I admire this author's willingness to share what she has experienced. I'm disinclined to criticize a memoir as much as I might fiction, because this is simply what is. Yes, she's lived a life that could induce comparison to my more ordinary-seeming life, but the fact is that she did the same everyday stuff that I do. A dirty diaper is a dirty diaper. Same with a struggling teenager or a car that needs repairs. Being in a foreign country doesn't make all that glamorous. In this book, she really just tells about how she made it all work as best she could. Like me.

Part of the story is centered around a deep and painful loss, after which she still had to keep breathing and moving and working.  I hope that if I ever got the chance to meet this author, that she would feel that I'm on her side. We should all be on each other's side, regardless of what might seem to separate us.

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