Book Review: Ruby by Cynthia Bond

This book I am going to tell you about is not just any book. It's Oprah's Book Club book, which whether you like it or not, you know you're going to appreciate the writing and quality at the very least. It's going to be beautiful and moving. It's Oprah. 

"The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her—this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction."

I think the only way for me to describe this book to you is to use the word haunting.

Like, you have to close the book because you're afraid to continue. Not haunting like there's ghosts. Haunting because the sadness seeps into your bones. 

This book contains the most beautiful prose I have ever read. 

The book is a little cryptic and some of the imagery is hard to follow. 
First, there is Ephram. He is a black man in his 40s with a past that causes him to hang his head. He lives with his sister, Celia, who he calls Mama because she has practically raised him. 

Because his real mama ran naked through their church picnic years ago and died in a mental hospital. Because his daddy was hung from a tree in the woods. 

Ephram is in love with Ruby, a woman he barely knows, one that he has known from afar except for a short encounter as children. I honestly couldn't tell in the beginning of the book where the story was going. It's very cryptic, but the gist of it is this: We all have demons, but how powerful those demons can become depends on our ability to overcome them. 

 People who think that because someone's skin is a different color or because a person is a woman, they are less. There is a lot of "adult" content in this book. There were times where I was cringing. Other times, I had to stop completely. But I had fallen in love with the characters so much that I felt protective over them so I had to keep going to make sure they were okay.

Ruby's character was the hardest. She was forced into prostitution at the age of 6.  In adulthood, the woman who Ephram sees walking the roads day in and day out is a shell. She's haunted by so many demons she's barely alive. The amazing author spares no details in Ruby. You get all the details on Ruby's experience in a brothel as a young girl, her struggles with the ghosts of her babies that never made it into her arms, the terror that follows after years of abuse and mistreatment, have turned into demons that haunt her where ever she turns. As the story unfolds, the answer to where and who those demons originate from shocked me, as I am sure they will you, as well. 

Throughout the entire story, I wanted Ephram and Ruby to connect just so that they could protect each other and help each other heal but stories from the past that kept coming up made me realized how utterly tragic their lives were, it seems impossible that they would ever overcome them.  

 I know Oprah chose this book because it is so big. The sadness is so big, the characters are so big

Read it if you don't mind reading about a little sadness. But thankfully, you'll also read about human resilience and love that reaches beyond tragedy to give hope. 

What Do Moms Do: A Post Inspired by a Wonderful Book

What Do Moms Do?

It's a question that will never be fully answered. Mostly, because us moms never actually stop doing. The minute one stage or task or tear is done, we are on to the next. We are a treadmill, an infinity sign, a constant stream of mothering. Of tssking. Of "what were you thinking?" of "please, just one more hug." 

We are a never ending cycle of trying to capture a moment on cameras one minute to not wanting to miss a minute in real time.

So what do moms do?

What do moms do when they are sad? They cry, they call their own mothers. They watch commercials that make them cry, like this one: 

What do moms do when they are happy? They marvel at the wonders they created. They take time to appreciate each freckle, eye crinkle and loose tooth. And they brag. 

Oh, how we love to brag. We earned those bragging rights. 

What do moms do they are frustrated? They yell. They eye roll. They consider writing a scathing review on Mr. Clean's Facebook page because the Magic Eraser failed to do its job. (That may be just me...) They let their kids quit soccer mid season. They throw around grandiose phrases like "I've never been this mad before" and "I'm leaving to go get a pop and never coming back!" (maybe that's just me again?) 

What do moms do when they forget things? They call their best friends and fellow moms. A village, it takes. Whether it's calling on them to go into my house and deliver the forgotten Valentine's box to the preschool or bringing extra snacks to soccer games, I don't know what I'd do without my little gang of fellow mother hens.

What do moms do when they are proud? They beam. They cry those kids of happy tears that come out of nowhere and just don't stop. They watch videos on their phones over and over again. They tell the same stories to as many people who will listen. They make art displays out of stick figure drawings that takes up the whole living room wall. 

I'm not the first mom to ask the question regarding what it is we actual do...we've all been answering that question since the beginning of time...but one amazing mother and daughter duo took it a step further and wrote a children's book about it... 

Amy Houts & Emily Bush wrote this sweet book and my kids and I love it. 

My favorite part was seeing myself in the pages. I was proud of myself because LOOK, I've done that for my kids, too! I've let them stay up past bedtime and I've scared away the scary things.  I'm apart of the biggest team: the mom team. The stay up passed your bedtime time, the tough love team, the that's-not-how-you-load-the-dishwasher team. 

Do the mothers on your team a huge favor and give What Do Moms Do as a Mother's Day gift this year. Passing on the love is just what moms do. 

You can buy What Do Moms Do Here on Amazon or from the author's website.

What are some of the mom things you do for your little ones that you hope they'll remember?  

Times When Parenthood Was My Favorite Thing in the World

I have been an emotional mess these past couple of weeks and it's all Parenthood's fault. I cry all the time, I stare off into space and mentally play a slow song in my head and I eat way more Twizzlers than usual. I haven't seen the final season yet SO DON'T TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS. (Although I have found some episodes on Youtube but I don't know how long that will last so I don't want to jinx anything). Anyhooters, here are my favorite moments of the most amazing show: 

When Julia stays at the school for Victor, all day. Sits in the parking lot while he is inside at school all day, just so he can see her while he plays at recess. Just so he can be comforted.

When Haddie gives Max the weighted blanket before she leaves for college and he looks so peaceful.

When the Braverman Four get together for a sleepover.

When Christina didn't say a word when Haddie's heart was broken, and that was enough.

When Max gets the vending machines back. 

Adam's face when Max announced he was running for class president.

Jabar's fist pumps in the rain when his parents tell him they're getting married.

When Amber finds a rat in her apartment and her mom comes in the middle of the night to rescue her.

When Christina tells off the bully who is mean to Max at school and Adam floors it in the get-a-way car.

When Amber is sad and Sarah curls up on the hide-a-bed with her to make her feel better.

When Jabar teaches Crosby how to pray.

When Christina and Adam tell Haddie everything is fine after surgery and send her back to Cornell.

When Christina and Max slow dance. 

Oh, and Joel. That's really all this post was about. 

And yes, yes, yes, I know that there is so much more to this show but these are the parts where I had to push pause because of the tears or the laughs. I didn't even get to some of the other major parts, but I have stuff I have to get done. Like watch more Parenthood on Youtube.