book reviews, healthcare, Reality TV

Repost: Dr. Pimple Popper’s book… Put Your Best Face Forward

Here’s a repost of a book review I wrote in January 2019. It appears here as/is.

Until a couple of weeks ago, when someone mentioned the name Sandra Lee, I thought of the tall blonde chick who used to do “semi-homemade” cooking shows on the Food Network.  But, just as I’ve lost touch with today’s popular music and television shows, I also missed out on Dr. Sandra Lee, dermatologist extraordinaire, popularly known as “Dr. Pimple Popper”.  Sandra Lee, as I pointed out in a recent post, made a big splash on YouTube… or should I say she “busted out”… posting disgusting videos of herself removing cysts, pimples, and lipomas. 

Dr. Lee became so successful that The Learning Channel (TLC) gave her a show of her very own, called Dr. Pimple Popper.  She showcases patients with unsightly blemishes who visit her in her southern California practice, where she practices dermatology and does cosmetic and surgical procedures.  Apparently, a lot of people make appointments with her after watching her videos on YouTube.  She even had one patient come to her all the way from the Philippines.

I must admit, I binge watched everything and, as much as some of the videos turned my stomach, even enjoyed the show enough to decide to read Lee’s book, Put Your Best Face Forward: The Ultimate Guide to Skincare from Acne to Anti-Aging.  Although I’m definitely not a beauty fanatic, I do find medical subjects interesting.  I’m also at that age when zits are less of an issue than wrinkles and red blotches are.

On her television show, Dr. Lee is very friendly, personable, and warm.  She comes across the same way in her writing, which is chatty and conversational.  Her book, which was just released on December 31, 2018, consists of an impressive 285 pages of information about how to keep your skin healthy and glowing, along with some anecdotes, and a few of Lee’s thoughts on the vast array of medical professionals who now offer cosmetic procedures. 

As someone who once aspired to work in healthcare, I was surprisingly interested in Lee’s comments about all of the people who are now offering services designed to make people look better.  Why do they do it?  Because people tend to pay out of pocket for those services and doctors can make more money.  Lee writes that everyone from dentists to physicians’ assistants are getting in on the game, even if they aren’t necessarily qualified.  Therefore, it’s very important to do your homework before you see someone for cosmetic procedures not covered by insurance.

Dr. Lee also has some interesting thoughts on collagen fillers and “Botox”, which is the popular name for the botulism toxin used to temporarily paralyze certain muscles in your face that makes you look older.  Apparently, Botox gets a bum rap.  Dr. Lee thinks it’s “amazing” and uses it herself, although she cautions against using too much of it.  Also, what we think of as “Botox” has evolved from what it was even fifteen years ago.  The technology is changing rapidly and now, instead of using a bovine derivative of the “toxin”, new drugs are used.  But, just as we tend to think of all bandages as “Band-Aids” and all copiers as “Xerox”, people think of Botox as a catchall term for that medicine that people use to look younger. 

Aside from her thoughts on choosing the right person for cosmetic procedures, Lee also offers tips on how to take care of your skin.  Naturally, she is all for sunscreen and moisturizers.  She writes that some products, such as eye creams, are kind of a waste of money.  A good moisturizer that works for your skin will probably be fine for your eyes, too, despite what the marketing professionals try to tell you.  She cautions readers to avoid smoking and to wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun, even in addition to wearing sunscreen.  I also enjoyed reading her thoughts on liposuction, which many people know little about.  She explains that liposuction is not for weight loss, but for contouring.  Also, it’s apparently a physically demanding procedure, but she finds offering it fun and rewarding on many levels.

Although Dr. Lee does take a couple of opportunities to pitch her skincare line, SLMDskincare, she mostly keeps the product pitching to a minimum.  I appreciated that, since I think it’s a huge turnoff to read a book that is basically an ad campaign.  She does explain that the “golden age” of medicine has passed, and today’s healthcare environment is not like it was when her father practiced dermatology.  Apparently, a lot of doctors are leaving healthcare practice, mainly because of insurance companies.  I can believe it.  However, it does appear to me that Dr. Lee is extraordinarily lucky, clever, and talented.  Besides being a doctor, she’s also a classically trained musician and plays guitar.  She’s pretty and bubbly, and that will likely get her far in our image obsessed culture.  On the other hand, I must admit she also has a very pleasing personality, which makes her success less likely to inspire jealousy among the masses.

Personally, I enjoy Dr. Lee’s show because each case has a compelling story behind it.  It’s gratifying to watch Dr. Lee change someone’s life just by improving their appearance.  This book is like a companion piece to Dr. Pimple Popper.  I bought it on Kindle, but I actually kind of wish I’d gotten a hard copy.  It’s a good reference book that begs to be consulted, which is easier to do with an actual book.  She includes some pictures, which are also easier to find in an actual book.

Overall, I think Put Your Best Face Forward is a good read, especially if you care about keeping your skin looking great.  I would recommend it, especially to those who also like watching Dr. Pimple Popper.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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dogs

Repost: Dog hair in my foot…

As I try to figure out what today’s topic will be, here’s a repost from March 23, 2012. I am reposting this because it was a very popular post for years and got 26 comments. Sometimes, I’m amazed by what topics people think are interesting. Some of my most mundane blog posts get thousands of views, while the ones I think are especially interesting get ten hits. Go figure. I am reposting this as/is, so pretend it’s 2012.

I’ve had dogs for a good portion of my life.  I’ve also always loved to go barefoot.  Somehow, despite these two truths, it wasn’t until recently that I experienced my first “dog hair splinter”.  In the last two days alone, I’ve had two of them.  I walk around on the bare floor and suddenly feel a sharp pain in my foot, almost like I’ve stepped on a glass shard.  I sit down and look at the sole of my foot.  There it is.  A long white dog hair.  I pull on it and out it comes.  Instant relief!  Isn’t it odd that stepping on something as innocuous as a hair can hurt so much?

I wondered if I was the only one who ever experienced this phenomenon.  I did an Internet search and, lo and behold, there were several Yahoo! Answers and messageboard posts about people who had gotten dog hairs stuck in their bare feet.  Apparently, it’s an occupational hazard for people who groom dogs professionally.  The risk of a nasty dog hair splinter is a good reason to avoid wearing sandals while washing canines.

It’s hard to believe I lived so many years without ever bearing the pain of a hair so sharp it sticks in the tough, callused, soles of my feet.  You learn something new every day, I guess…

This is my sweet departed beagle, Zane, who died in 2019. I miss him so much! He loved sitting in my lap and giving me kisses. When he was younger, he’d put his head between my boobs.

Who knew this little cutie pie could hurt me so much with just one hair? I should mention that Zane is the only one of my dogs whose hair ever got lodged in my feet.

And here are the original comments!

26 comments:

  1. Ms Read’s ClassDecember 14, 2013 at 1:48 AM I have had a black lab and now have 2 Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. It happens more than once a day. Very painful. 
    1. knottyDecember 14, 2013 at 2:10 AM Funny because I have had dogs most of my life and that was the first time. It’s happened more times since then and I get a lot of hits on this blog from people looking for info on dog hair splinters!
    2. Bad DogNovember 20, 2015 at 5:57 PM Happens to me all the time, never happened to my husband, he’s seen me tweeze them out so he knows it’s true, but he said he’d never heard of it happening before and blames my weird dog (black lab velcro dog) who he’s always claimed is an alien pretending to be a dog lol he says she’s trying to get a tracker in me so she knows where I am at all times. Who knows? He has got a PhD so he might be right 🙂
  2. UnknownFebruary 23, 2014 at 2:19 AM I too suffer from these painful hairs. I’ve got 4 Boxers and I get them every now and again. I just had one that I coukdn’t locate until I started to dig and there it was, tucked all the way into the skin…it was there for 3 days, I just couldn’t find till now. Nice little hole I now have in my sole. So relieved I’m not the only one this happens to, because my family thinks I’m nuts! 🙂
    1. knottyFebruary 23, 2014 at 3:12 PM Oh yeah. I think it’s one of those things you don’t believe until it happens to you.
  3. AodhnaitFebruary 26, 2014 at 11:22 PM Never realised this could happen!
  4. UnknownJuly 8, 2014 at 6:46 AM I thought I was the only one 2. I just pray that they don’t get stuck in my foot. 
  5. My Psychic SolutionsAugust 25, 2014 at 4:45 AM The ball of my foot is swollen even after removing the hair yesterday. Painful as can be… I’m going to sound like a freak calling the dr… My sweet puppy is a Pit-lab mix pure white. 
  6. UnknownDecember 22, 2014 at 7:15 PM Omg! I’m so glad I seen this! I thought I was the only one! Haha. And my family thought I was crazy when I told them about it. My boyfriend asked if I was sure it wasn’t a piece of my own hair. I said nope! It was a coarse white piece of dog hair stuck in my foot! And it began to get infected, I had to pull it out and clean it up with some rubbing alcohol. Blah!
  7. Wild ChildJune 14, 2015 at 5:52 AM I’m so glad you posted this! Now I don’t feel like such a weirdo and thinking this only happens to me! 
    1. knottyJune 15, 2015 at 6:50 AM Since I wrote this, it’s happened a few more times. I get a lot of hits on this post. It’s evidently a very common problem that no one ever talks about.
  8. UnknownSeptember 5, 2015 at 12:49 PM I just dug a hair from our dog out of my husbands foot. I’m not sure how long it was in his foot but it was infected. Once I finally got the skin open pus came out. One little black dog hair was sitting there. My husband is a diabetic and the hair created a 2or3 cm deep hole in his foot. 
    1. knottySeptember 5, 2015 at 8:00 PMThat sounds awful! I’m glad you were able to get the hair out. Hope your husband’s okay.
  9. AlexisAROctober 27, 2015 at 4:28 AM i almost never go barefoot and don’t even wear sandals except to get in the pool, so I’ve never experiences the phenomenon. Our dogs are golden retrievers, although we don’t know how pure their bloodlines are since they were pound puppies. I don’t know if golden retriever hairs hurt more or less than other dogs’ hair.
    1. knottyOctober 27, 2015 at 7:45 AM I am barefoot all the time. This has only happened to me a couple of times. I am shocked by how many people find this blog because of this post. I had no idea it was such a prevalent problem.
    2. MPavsweetNovember 8, 2015 at 8:21 AM I went to work tonight and after my shift I felt like a had glass in my foot. Got home found I had a black pinprick spot on my foot, had to use tweezers to get it out. oMG it hurt like hell. It was so long too! It was all curled up in there. 😭 
    3. knottyNovember 8, 2015 at 5:11 PM Ouch!
  10. UnknownNovember 16, 2015 at 3:59 PM My husband doesn’t believe me when I tell him about this happening. Growing up, we had a Boxer and my mom and I were constantly getting hair splinters! Now my husband and I have a sweet Catahula baby and it has happened twice to me. He never goes barefoot, so he has no idea of the pain.
  11. herald manJune 5, 2016 at 9:30 PM I have got a yellow labrador and twice i have had a course hair go into my foot,once into my heel this one went straight in and felt like i was treading on a needle when i walked,had a look and was amazed when i saw it there,the next one went in under my little toe and hurt like a paper cut does it was there for a fortnight until i got my wife to look and she dug it out with a needle then pulled the 3cm hair out with tweezers it was totally in the skin .
  12. UnknownSeptember 19, 2016 at 12:25 PM this has happened to me also and I couldn’t understand it. WTF, I have my Dog’s hair trying to grow into my foot, unbelievable! At least now I know that I’m not the only one, thank you everyone!
  13. NTDecember 13, 2016 at 5:55 PM This happened to me this morning!! So awful. This is my first dog. He is a half chihuhua, half Jack Russel. So cute! So smart. But I had a stabbing pain in my foot. I finally looked, and there was a 1.5 cm white hair stuck in my foot like a needle. I pulled it out. Now I am scared, my husband is a type one diabetic, this can’t happen to him. Worried! The pup isn’t even a year old. I bathed him yesterday, I guess I really mussed up the fur. 🙁 🙁 🙁
  14. NTDecember 13, 2016 at 6:08 PM Does anyone have advice? How do I prevent this from happening again? I bathed the dog yesterday. It’s freezing outside, so I was towel drying him indoors. I was roughing up his fur. What do I do? My foot still hurts. I can handle this but this could permanently hurt my husband. Advice? Help?
  15. UnknownJuly 23, 2017 at 1:37 AM HAHA! Same thing happened to me today. Had to google it to make sure I wasn’t crazy. My pup actually looks a lot like yours! 
    1. knottyJuly 23, 2017 at 7:10 AM It happened to my husband the other day for the first time. It amazes me how many people have this happen and show up on my blog.
    2. UnknownMarch 22, 2018 at 2:45 AM I have had one be there just thetiotand pull it out.. however recently I felt a sharp pain n looked didn’t see anything wasn’t hurting so I went on about my day and now a weeklaterwmy foots all swollen and it feels as if I have a splinter it’s very painful butitsbu actually imbedded itself in my foot.everyone in my family picks on me neverhavinev heard of such a thing.
  16. KateFebruary 5, 2019 at 9:23 AM Great post!
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book reviews, healthcare

Repost: My review of Sickened, by Julie Gregory…

Here’s a repost of a book review I wrote for Epinions.com in 2005. It appears here “as/is”.

Over this past weekend, my husband Bill and I ventured out to the local Borders bookstore in search of a DVD of the fabulous film Baraka. After I got my hands on a copy of the movie, I started looking through the books, leaving Bill to continue mulling over the movies. I wandered into the psychology section, where I happened to run across a misplaced copy of Julie Gregory’s 2003 book, Sickened: A Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood. Those of you who regularly read my book reviews may know by now that I’m a sucker for books about psychological disorders, especially personal accounts. Gregory’s book looked like it was right up my alley. Unlike a lot of folks, I had heard of Munchausen by Proxy (MbP). But I hadn’t ever read a personal account by someone who has actually suffered through it.

For those who don’t know about MbP, Gregory has included a foreword written by Marc Feldman, MD. The foreword explains in laymen’s terms what Munchausen by Proxy is. I’ll try to offer my own take on what I understand MbP to be. Simply put, MbP is a syndrome in which a person purposely and repeatedly makes another person ill. Victims of MbP are repeatedly submitted to medical care in which they endure endless tests, procedures, hospitalizations, and surgeries as doctors try to find the sources of their mysterious and debilitating symptoms. Most of the time, victims of MbP are children, and the perpetrators are their mothers, as was true in Julie Gregory’s case. Gregory was also abused by her maternal grandmother. Ironically, her parents moved her away from her grandmother in order to protect Julie from her grandmother’s abuse.

Julie Gregory was lucky enough to survive her ordeal and make it to adulthood relatively healthy… at least physically. Born to “crazy” parents, Dan and Sandy, Gregory spent most of her childhood in the backwoods of southern Ohio. Her mother, Sandy, had also endured a tough childhood and was, as a teenager, initially married off to a much older man named Smokey. Smokey taught Sandy how to trick ride horses and pose as he threw knives at her. When Smokey later died and Sandy became a widow while still in her twenties, she found herself taking up with Julie Gregory’s father, Dan. Dan had spent a very short time in Vietnam before he was exposed to Agent Orange and medically discharged. Julie literally describes her father as “crazy”, but after reading her book, I was left thinking that her mother is far crazier.

Trying to convince people that people in the medical community that her daughter suffered from heart problems, Sandy Gregory regularly shuttled Julie to doctors throughout her childhood. When a doctor found nothing wrong with Julie, Sandy simply carted her off to the next one. She gave Julie pills, the identity of which Julie never identifies by name. She tells Julie how she’s supposed to be feeling and admonishes her to “act sick” for the doctors so that they can help her “get well”. She starves Julie as she forces her to work very hard so that Julie is chronically tired and feeling weak. Julie also misses many days of school, almost failing a grade because of her chronic absenteeism.

Sandy Gregory, who simultaneously took in foster children and war veterans as a means of making money, pored over medical books and became well-versed in the jargon so common in a medical environment. She convinced a cardiac specialist that Julie needed to be catheterized. Gregory writes of this experience she endured as a skinny, fragile 13 year old child at the Ohio State University. The hospital made her feel safe. She was fed, cared for, but also left alone. She didn’t want to leave the safety of the hospital and go back home to her parents.

As I read this book, I really felt sorry for the child Julie Gregory was. It seemed like no one had a clue what she went through. And when Julie finally did speak up as a teenager, after years of enduring her mother’s sickness, she ended up being shuffled into the state’s child welfare system. She poignantly describes the plight of teenaged children who are in “the system”, making the point that even though she had done the right thing by talking to a caseworker about what her parents had been doing, she ended up being punished for her efforts. It almost made me want to become a foster mom myself.

Sickened is a fast and interesting read. Julie Gregory writes about her experience using vivid prose and humor. She includes pictures of her family as well as a sampling of medical notes and letters from the many doctors she saw over the course of her childhood. I got a good idea of what Julie’s family was like, particularly her mother, who really sounds like she wasn’t playing with a full deck. Julie Gregory does a fine job of capturing her mother’s voice so that I was able to get a real sense of who her mother was. And Julie Gregory has a knack for colorful similies and descriptions so that her story held my attention.

With that said, though, I did find a few weaknesses in Sickened. First of all, I think that this book could have used a good editor. I noticed that at times, Gregory wrote in past tense. At other times, she wrote in historical present tense. It wasn’t enough to be confusing, but it was noticeable and somewhat annoying. Secondly, I think this book is a little short on content. I would have liked to have read a little more about MbP from Gregory’s perspective. She does include, toward the end of her book, the story of how she came to figure out that she was a victim of MbP.

Today, Julie Gregory is supposedly an expert writer and speaker about MbP. Yet in Sickened, she provides very little analysis about MbP, instead forcing readers to rely on the foreword written by Dr. Marc Feldman. She doesn’t tell readers how she came to be an expert of MbP either, aside from just being a victim. According to the notes about her, Julie Gregory, who lives in Ohio, is a graduate student at the Sheffield University in England. She doesn’t reveal what she’s studying or what subject she earned her undergraduate degree in, so again, I was left wondering how she became an expert. Moreover, about two-thirds of this book consists of Julie Gregory’s experience as a child. The last third is the story of her progression into young adulthood. The last section feels rushed in comparison to the first. It seems to me that Gregory’s story is compelling enough that she could have taken a little more time with the ending and told her readers a little more about what her life as an adult has been like.

I also want to comment about this book’s cover art. It’s partly why I picked up this book in the first place. On the cover of the paperback edition of Sickened, a very young, skinny, Julie Gregory is pictured in a too short dress with a toy under her right arm and her left hand at her eye, as if the camera had caught her wiping a tear. She looks very vulnerable in the picture. Whoever decided to use it for this book’s cover obviously knew how to catch the consumer’s eye while pulling their heartstrings. The pictures in Sickened are also somewhat revealing of Julie Gregory’s plight. She’s shown in two snapshots posed as if she were a model. Gregory explains that her mother would periodically have her pose for Polaroids and then she would send the pictures to modeling agencies or keep on hand in case Sandy ran into “a nice older man” who wanted to see Julie’s pictures.

Although Sickened is a book about a fascinating and somewhat sensational topic, I haven’t run across any other personal accounts of people who have been affected by MbP. For that reason, I think this book is a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in learning more about the MbP phenomenon. However, I also believe that anyone who really wants to learn a lot about MbP will need to do more research to supplement what they read in Sickened. This book is long on personal drama and short on facts and figures. The drama keeps the book entertaining, but the lack of facts and figures makes it less useful for those who want to learn something concrete about Munchausen by Proxy.

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book reviews, LDS, religion

Repost: My review of Bringing Elizabeth Home…

Here’s a repost of an Epinions review I wrote in 2004. It appears here “as/is”. A whole lot has happened since 2004– to include Ed and Lois Smart’s divorce and Ed’s coming out as gay. I’m reposting the review for the sake of history, and because I think some people might find it interesting.

The first time I saw Ed and Lois Smart’s 2003 book Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope, I was tempted to purchase it. Their beautiful fourteen year old daughter Elizabeth was kidnapped from their Salt Lake City, Utah home on June 5, 2002. The Smarts’ other daughter, nine year old Mary Katherine, witnessed the abduction and alerted Ed and Lois Smart after Elizabeth and the kidnappers, later revealed to be Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, were gone.

I remembered how the summer of 2002 was a summer plagued by a rash of child abductions. A couple of those abductions had ended tragically– five year old Samantha Runnion was killed soon after she was taken, but not before she was brutally molested by her captor. Elizabeth Smart had, against all odds, survived her abduction, reuniting with her family in mid March 2003. And Elizabeth Smart’s story is a bizarre one indeed. Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee were revealed to be believers of a fundamentalist branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. According to news reports, Brian David Mitchell meant to make Elizabeth one of his wives.

The Smart family fascinated me. On the front cover of Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope there is a lovely picture of Elizabeth and her parents, and on the back cover, the whole family of eight is pictured. The Smarts seem to espouse the epitome of the American Dream. Ed and Lois Smart are well off financially, and they have six beautiful children. I wanted to know what lingered beneath the surface of the Smart family’s attractive facade. Nevertheless, I had read negative reviews about Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope, so I passed up the book.

Then last week, my husband went out of town for a meeting and I found myself with some extra time to do some reading. It wasn’t long before I found myself purchasing Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope. I finished the book in a few days and am left with my own feelings of ambivalence about the Smart story. On one hand, Ed and Lois Smart are not professional writers and they were telling the heartwrenching story of their daughter’s abduction. On the other hand, Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope was ghost written by Laura Morton, who, according to information on the book jacket, has written a total of eighteen books, six of which were New York Times bestsellers. Unfortunately, I would have expected more from someone who has had such an auspicious career in writing.

While at times, I found Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope to be a warm, touching story, the writing is sometimes awkward and repetitive. Also, although the book is supposed to be written entirely from the Smarts’ point of view, the authors don’t seem to be very selective about their usage of pronouns. For instance, the chapters that are supposedly written by Ed or Lois as individuals read like personal narratives and employ the pronoun “I”. In other chapters, “we” is used, but so is “Ed and Lois”, as if the story is being told from a different point of view. It makes for awkward reading.

This book doesn’t shed a lot of light on the case, either. Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope doesn’t offer many more details than what was already printed in the news or portrayed in the television movie that was made about Elizabeth and broadcasted last fall. There are, however, a couple of interesting chapters about Ed and Lois Smart’s extended family. There’s also a lot written about Elizabeth’s love for playing her harp. Mary Katherine also plays the harp. I don’t know of any kids who play harp, so it was interesting to read about that. The book also offers some very nice pictures of the family. Again, however, it seems like I had already seen some of them in magazines.

The thing I liked the least about Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope was the “preachy” tone in the book. Yes, I understand that the Smarts’ faith had a lot to do with keeping them sane while Elizabeth was missing, but the book, particularly at the beginning, is very heavy on quoting scriptures from the Book of Mormon and the D&C (Doctrine and Covenants), which is another LDS document. If readers aren’t members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, they might not understand some of the significance of the quotes.

Speaking of quotes, the Smarts start most chapters off with one, and they are generally from LDS sources– either the Book of Mormon, or the D&C, or perhaps from a well known LDS leader like church president Gordon B. Hinckley. Again, it seems to me that the Smarts might have forgotten that they might have readers who have no understanding of the LDS Church. On the other hand, the inclusion of the LDS quotes may have been by design– to get more people to investigate the church. All one has to do is contact LDS missionaries and they can start learning about the church and possibly become a member. In any case, it seems to me that some folks might find all the LDS stuff included in this book off putting, particularly if they don’t believe in God or going to church. That said, I will also mention that before I picked up Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope, I figured I would be reading something about the Smarts’ faith, so this aspect of the book didn’t surprise me much.

The Smarts continually contend that they want to protect Elizabeth’s privacy, and I respect that. On the other hand, I do find it curious that they published Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope, if they truly wanted to protect Elizabeth’s privacy. They write that they were hoping to put some of the false information to rest. It seems to me that the Smarts’ book is really more about how Ed and Lois Smart dealt with Elizabeth’s absence than Elizabeth’s ordeal, and to the Smarts’ credit, they do seem to convey that idea in the book. However, they had to know that people would buy this book expecting to read about what really happened to Elizabeth. The Smarts include a few details, but those who want to buy Bringing Elizabeth Home should realize that they won’t get the whole scoop.

I don’t think that Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope is a terrible book. It’s just that it doesn’t reveal that much more than what the public already knows about the Smart case. The writing is not as strong as it should be and there’s some preaching in this book that might turn some people off. Nevertheless, the Smart case is fascinating and if you want to know everything that’s out there about the Smart family, you might find reading this book worthwhile. On the whole, however, I think that most people would probably do well to skip it.

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book reviews, celebrities

Repost: Please pass the Penicillin…

Here’s a reposted book review from Epinions.com. I wrote this on February 6, 2013, and it appears it was penned for a “lean n’ mean” challenge (reviews under 500 words). As you can see, I wasn’t impressed. The review appears as/is.

What was I thinking when I downloaded Peggy Trentini’s book, Once Upon a Star: Celebrity Kiss and Tell Stories (2012)?  I must have decided to buy this book after reading something especially depressing or boring.  It’s been on my Kindle for awhile, though, and after my last book, I decided it might be fun and refreshing.  Well, now having read this book, I can honestly say there’s nothing refreshing about it. 

Who the HELL is Peggy Trentini and why did many stars fuck her in the 80s and 90s?

Pardon the crass language, but honestly, that’s really what Once Upon a Star is all about.  It starts out innocently enough.  Trentini writes about growing up on Newport, California, the daughter of strict Catholic parents who didn’t want her wearing makeup or dressing stylishly.  She was supposedly a straight A student, though you’d never guess it from her writing, which is chock full of typos and grammatical errors.  One day, Trentini’s friend talked her parents into allowing a makeover.  From then on, Peggy was “pretty”… and being pretty apparently leads to being a wh*re.  At least in Los Angeles…

Trentini expends few words on her upbringing.  She jumps right into how she came to Hollywood at age 18, her dreams of being an intellectual (groan) apparently given up in favor of becoming a celebrity.  She writes of being cast on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and then getting a part in her first film, Young Doctors In Love.  Before too long, she and Sylvester Stallone are screwing each other and Trentini spares no detail… or maybe the details were just lifted from a fantasy novel.  From there, it gets much tackier. 

Each chapter is yet another tawdry tale of how some star thought Peggy was “irresistible” and had to have her, usually just for the night.  They’d have wild sex, get drunk, and then break up, lather, rinse, repeat.  As I read about each celebrity and recalled other celebrity memoirs I’d read about some of them, I wondered if Peggy ever caught diseases from her escapades.

Aside from being a starf*cker and B grade actress, Trentini was also on the “Swedish Bikini Team”, which was an ad campaign for one of the worst beers ever, Old Milwaukee.  It’s only fitting that she would be selling a product that has led to so much cheap, meaningless sex among college students. 

I’m certainly no snob when it comes to reading material.  I knew this book was going to be trashy when I bought it.  However, even for trash, Once Upon A Star just plain sucks harder than Trentini ever could.  Trentini writes of all the celebrities she’s screwed, then tries to seem like a nice, normal, girl next door.  It’s not believable or authentic, and she’s not someone I’d want to know.  She comes off as a shallow narcissist who still has a lot of maturing to do, despite now being in her 40s.

Seriously?  Skip this book

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