Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dream New Dreams: Jai Pausch (2012)


Dream New Dreams:  Jai Pausch (2012)

Jai Pausch has written an exquisite new memoir on her life as a caregiver to her cancer stricken husband, Randy Pausch. Mr. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the celebrated author of The Last Lecture.  In this book, Jai Pausch examines her happy marriage with Randy and the details regarding his famous battle with pancreatic cancer.  She writes eloquently about her struggles in caring for three children under the age of six while helping her husband deal with his last months of life.  For example, “This shuttling between Randy and our children had to be one of the most difficult and stressful times of my entire life (Pausch, 46).  In this story, Jai prevails and maintains a strong relationship with her husband, Randy, but is also brave enough to retain the help of a psychologist, Dr. Reiss.  During this painful time, she manages to provide a normal, healthy existence for her young children.  In the end, Randy Pausch lost his battle against pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of the disease.  In reading this memoir, readers will feel a connection with Jai in her grief while Randy battles his pancreatic cancer and after his death.

Dream New Dreams is a triumph and Jai Pausch is a hero. She tells a sobering and devastating tale but in the end, she prevails. Today, Jai is remarried to an caring man and her children are flourishing.  Please make sure to read this heartbreaking story of resilience and love.  Also, if you have not read The Last Lecture, it is a wonderful companion to this very essential read as we all have been affected by cancer sometime in our lives. Randy Pausch has taught readers to embrace life and Jai Pausch has informed us that it can continue after a devastating loss.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vertical: Rex Pickett

Vertical:  Rex Pickett

 I found this book through the new genre of social media and wanted to read it due to my fascination with the movie, Sideways. Usually, I read books before seeing the characters in a movie. It was interesting to follow Miles and Jack in their new written adventure called Vertical after getting to know them in the critically acclaimed film, Sideways.
In Vertical, Miles (aka Rex) and Jack embark on a road trip to the Oregon wine country with Miles’ elderly mother, Mrs. Raymond, and her pot smoking caretaker, Joy.  Jack and Miles have been showered with massive amounts of fine wine due to the success of the movie Shameless (aka Sideways).  The characters from Sideways get to live in the fast lane as superstars of the wine industry. Women and wine come at them in droves. Unfortunately, this hedonistic lifestyle is wearing on Miles and he must get his ailing mother and her beloved dog to live with her sister in Wisconsin.  As the novel progresses, Miles becomes sober which causes alienation in his relationship with Jack.  The blogger does not want to add spoilers but this book is just as poignant or even better than Sideways. Miles has matured and delved into a deeper relationship with his mother.  Jack seems even more shallow and it is evident that they do not have much in common without the the common denominator of wine.  Vertical is an important story of growing up and saying goodbye to parents and a latent adolescent life.  Miles is wiser and more sober than in Sideways but a more productive person in the aftermath.

I am confused as to why, Vertical, is not a bestselling novel and Academy Award winning film because Mr. Pickett is a brilliant writer. From the Internet and twitter posts I have read, this wonderful book and film sits in wait for the go ahead from the brilliant director, Alexander Payne.  Please, Mr. Payne give it a go.

FYI:  Sideways is now an award-winning play in Los Angeles starring John Colella, Jonathan Bray, Julia McIlvaine, and Cloe Kromwell.  Soon to be coming to a theater in your city!

Art Show: Windows by Colleen Gianatiempo

630 Court St.
Martinez, CA 94553
Open Mon-Fri 11am-3pm Sat 9am-1pm

Artist: Colleen Gianatiempo