Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book #48: Fabookulous December 15, 2010

Burnt Toast by Teri Hatcher

Book description:

Like most women, Teri Hatcher learned her first lessons through her mother. And like many women, her mother had a hard time putting herself first. If a piece of toast got burned, she ate it herself, giving the better slices away. While this act of love and sacrifice was well intended, it also taught a lesson that is hard to unlearn: Your own satisfaction is not worth a slice of bread.

With Burnt Toast, a heartfelt, funny, poignant, and inspiring manifesto on this philosophy, Teri Hatcher reveals her life in unexpected ways, in the hopes of keeping other women from eating the burnt toast, and explaining why you’ll never get a second chance if you don’t open yourself up to the possibility.

If you’ve ever given up something good and taken the worst for yourself; if you’ve wondered if you’ll ever have sex again; if you’ve found yourself planning to fail rather than expecting to succeed, then you’ve eaten the burnt toast…and Teri Hatcher would like to have a word with you!

When I choose to read a book written by a celebrity author, it is usually because I am a fan and want to know more about them. But I wouldn’t necessarily say I am a “fan” of Teri Hatcher’s. Sure, I still tune into Desparate Housewives but for some reason I have a hard time separating the actor from the role and I think of Teri as Susan. Which is pretty much what I got out of this book too.

The amount of information she shares in this book is shocking; from no sex on her honeymoon to intimate massages to her favorite body parts, you’ll be surprised and almost feel like a voyeur. It’s so surprising because most celebrities spend so much time fighting for their privacy and hiding things about their personal lives, that to read the things this one penned almost feels absurd. And in the first 50 pages it is evident that this is someone who is VERY insecure. It’s a constant topic of discussion in this book. *sigh*

I have never before read a book that quoted the title so much. (She even recognizes this at one point and says “It is the title of the book” to which I thought of that childhood saying, “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!”) The idea is intriguing (moms and many women will sacrifice themselves to put others ahead) but to repeat the same thing the same way so many times gets tiring.

At times, the book is laugh out loud funny and that’s apparent when she offers stories of adventures with her daughter (who, clearly, and in a sweet way, is the love of her life.) Teri shares her challenges in being a single parent and how she had to overcome everything from getting all of the “intruders” (spiders to lizards) out of her home alone to her daughter’s first away trip with dad, leaving her home without her daughter. These stories made me reflect on my own childhood as my mom was a single parent as well. As children, you don’t realize your moms (or dads) have to deal with things they might not want to (bugs–eek!) but they do anyway to show you they are in control and able. That is really sweet 🙂 Teri has a lot of those stories about times she wanted to react a different way than she did because she knew her daughter’s eyes were on her.

While this isn’t my all time favorite memoir (but who said it had to be?) parts of it offered a smile and some chuckles. Would I recommend it? Only if you are a Teri Hatcher fan. Few books have been jointly reviewed by both LibraryLove and myself this year and this is one of them. Check out LibraryLove’s review of Burnt Toast  if you haven’t already seen it!

3/5 stars


Status update for the year: As I kick into high gear to finish this challenge, I’ve now got an audio book going (you know, driving/getting ready/anything that keeps progress progressing ;)) as well as another book. Stay tuned for some reviews to spit out from Fabookulous!


Book #45: LibraryLove November 5, 2010

Burnt Toast and Other Philosphies of Life by Teri Hatcher

Book description~From America’s most beloved comedic actress and the star of Desperate Housewives comes a personal, heartfelt, and often very funny manifesto on life, love, and the lessons we all need to learn — and unlearn — on the road to happiness. Teri Hatcher secured her place in America’s heart when she stood up to accept her Golden Globe for Best Actress and declared herself a “has-been” on national television. That moment showcased her down-to-earth, self-deprecating style — and her frank openness about the ups and downs she’s experienced in life and work. But what the world might not have seen that night is that Teri’s self-acceptance is the hard-won effort of a single mother with all the same struggles most women have to juggle — life, love, bake sale cookies, and dying cats. Now, in the hope that her foibles and insights might inspire and motivate other women, Teri opens up about the little moments that have sustained her through good times and bad. From the everyday (like the importance of letting your daughter spill her macaroni so she knows it’s okay to make mistakes) to the rare (a rendezvous with a humpback whale — and no, he was not a suitor), the message at the heart of Burnt Toast — that happiness and success are choices that we owe it to ourselves to make — is sure to resonate with women everywhere.

This book definitely found me at just the right time. Burnt Toast has been taking space in my bookshelf for about a year although I’ve been wanting to read it since it was published in 2006;  I never got around to it. Then, I decided I needed a quick and lighthearted read and picked it up…

Since October 25th (12 days and counting), after complications from back surgery, my mother has been in the hospital in critical condition. My dad and I have taken turns everyday being there to advocate for her when she couldn’t speak for herself and to make sure we were there for her comfort. Thanks to free Wi Fi and VPN access to share drives, I’ve got ample time to work and read from mom’s bedside while she rests. Last week was probably the scariest week I’ve ever lived through; not knowing if my mom would survive a 7-day spinal fluid leak, blood clots, and a laundry list of issues.

“It’s so hard to let things sit messy. To let life be messy. To live in and with the mess. But sometimes you can’t figure everything out on your timetable. SO you have to look for the moments when it’s not so hard to tell what your coice should be. Shooting stars or aspirin? Mysteries of the galaxy or dental floss? Those are the easy ones. It’s not always that simple. It takes work to not try and fix things all the time.  Sometimes you just have to let it sit. “

Anyway, the point of all of this is that times like these really make me thankful to have my amazing network of support. Life, mobility, and our health are all things we each take for granted everyday. Reading Hatcher’s memoir was just what I needed to keep my spirits up and keep me motivated so I could be the rock my family needs me to be right now.

Like me, I’m sure you’ve taken the broken piece of pie or the less perfect cut of lasagna or, as the book suggests, the burnt toast, so others could have the better, more perfect serving while you ‘took one for the team’. But there comes a time that you realize that doesn’t quite set the right example to your children or loved ones when through your actions, you  don’t feel you deserve good things in life.

“What you see in the tabloids is not what you and I have in common. Buying coffee. Pumping gas. Who cares about that stuff? It has nothing to do with who you are. The real story of what we have in common is emotional , truthful, and human. It’s how we try to live and love and find happiness, and work toward finding peace in ourselves and in the world.”

If you’ve ever seen Hatcher do an interview, you too would see how down-to-earth, relatable and humble she is; it’s shocking to think she’s an award winning actress on a prime-time hit TV show (among other accolades). This book was such a refreshing and great read this week and something that helped me get through a very frightening time. She shares her heartache, the joys of raising her daughter Emerson, and her practical and insightful parenting tips that I hope to apply someday, along with hilarious follies of dating and motherhood. I bet when you think of Hatcher and her glamorous days on Seinfeld, Lois & Clark or Desperate Housewives, you wouldn’t imagine her and her 7-year-old daughter roadtripping up the Pacific Coast Highway in a Scooby-Doo 70s VW van with no heat or a/c.  Or could you imagine Hatcher and Emerson taking freezing cold showers at campsites and laughing hysterically?  Pick up this book to read what I mean; Burnt Toast is a quick, fun, and uplifting book; I couldn’t help but smile throughout it and I know you will too.

“Remember to give and take. Society is so good at asking us to give. Drive the carpool. Lead the Girl Scouts. Hand make a costume for the school play. Cook dinner for your husband. Everyone’s asking something from you. Teach your child that you deserve adult time. You need to teach them how to put a slide of bread in the toaster, wait for it to brown to perfection, pull it out, and enjoy it. You need to show them that if you’re distracted and the toast gets burnt, you’ll try it again because you’re worth it. You value yourself. You need to show them that you know how to take what you deserve. That’s the best way to teach your children to value themselves.”

5/5 stars

45 down, 7 to go.

In progress, ROOM by Emma Donoghue…