There are a lot of new readers here, so let me share a quick summary about From Head to Toe Book Discussions.
I love to read. Reading is my happy place. Barnes and Noble a heavenly place.
I read books across a variety of genres. I read for all sorts of reasons, but the thing I love most about reading is not the escape or adventure. It is the learning and the growth. I love books that make me think, books that cause me to question my assumptions, books that push me to become a better version of myself. I love when a book changes my life.
That is where From Head to Toe posts come in.
I review every book I read on Goodreads– the good, the bad and the ugly. If I really believe in a book, I leave a review on amazon as well.
But the books that change my life? Those are the books I talk about here. From Head to Toe posts give us a forum to discuss how the books we read impact us from the way we think (our heads) to the way we live (our toes).
You won’t find tidy book reviews here. You will find messy discussions that help us change our stories so we can change the world.
Excited? Me too. Let’s dig in!
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Truth: I wanted to write this post last June. I waited for two reasons. First, I wanted my mom and aunt to read Winter Garden so I could discuss it with them first.
Second, it was 90+ degrees outside. Writing a post about a book called Winter Garden in the middle of the summer seemed odd.
Ten months have passed; winter is about to end, and although I resorted to everything but reading the book aloud, my mom and aunt have yet to crack its spine. I can’t wait any longer. I must talk about this book. My secret hope is that this post will encourage them to put down what they are reading and begin Winter Garden right now! (hint. hint.)
Winter Garden is a hauntingly beautiful book about family. It is about secrets, assumptions, our past, our present and our future. It is about learning to live in the truth and learning to share that truth with the people we love the most.
It is about knowing and being known.
Although I am an only child, I can relate to Meredith and Nina Whitson. I have two women in my life who are sisters whom I love infinitesimally.
Meredith and Nina’s story as portrayed in Kristin Hannah’s Winter Garden taught me the importance of knowing my mom and aunt’s stories because they are intimately connected to mine.
How could any woman know her own story
until she knew her mother’s?
~ Kristin Hannah, Winter Garden
Not only does knowing another person’s story connect you to them, it answers questions, breaks down barriers and corrects assumptions about why they act and feel the way they do.
Our stories heal hurts and deepen relationships.
As Nina and Meredith listened to their mother’s story, they began to discover who they were. Anya freed her daughters by telling her story. She gave Meredith and Nina clarity about their strengths, their weaknesses, and their passions.
Nina stared at the woman who had raised her and saw the truth at last. Her mother was a lioness. A warrior. A woman who’d chosen a life of hell for herself because she wanted to give up and didn’t know how.
And with that small understanding came another, bigger one. Nina suddenly saw her own life in focus. All these years, she’d been traveling the world over, looking for her own truth in other woman’s lives.
But it was here all along, at home with the one woman she’s never even tried to understand.
~Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Our stories are one of the most intimate thing we can share. Every person’s story is an intricate mosaic of joy and sorrow.
Telling our stories is frightening. We assume rejection will follow. If not rejection, then judgment. This is seldom true, though. More often than not, telling our stories brings light and warmth to relationships that have, at times, been stuck in a long, cold winter.
I believe it is normal for daughters to forget that the women in their lives have stories. We see these women through the lens of parent, aunt, grandmother. We do not see their complexity, the women behind the roles. Getting to know the women who shaped us into the women we are is one of the greatest gifts we can give them, ourselves and our children.
Stories were meant to be told. We are meant to know and be known.
I really do hope my mom and aunt read Winter Garden. I want to talk about it with them for so many reasons- the beautiful story, the depth of history, the interesting characters, the lesson I learned- but I am going to stop waiting on them to crack open this story.
Instead, I am going to begin gently and respectfully cracking open their stories.
I am going to ask the questions I ponder, plan the trips I dream of taking with them, and listen well as they share all that makes them the beautiful women they are.
Winter Garden changed the way I live. It opened me up to the realization that my story is connected to my mom’s and that more than anything I need to know her well.
Who do you need to know? Leave a comment and share your story.