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From the award-winning author of I Knew You’d Be Lovely comes an empowering and disarmingly funny memoir about grief and illness—and the wit and wisdom it takes to survive it. As a child, Alethea Black drifts between her father, a brilliant mathematician who is also her best friend, and her mother, a frank and outspoken woman on fire. After her father’s death, Alethea i From the award-winning author of I Knew You’d Be Lovely comes an empowering and disarmingly funny memoir about grief and illness—and the wit and wisdom it takes to survive it. As a child, Alethea Black drifts between her father, a brilliant mathematician who is also her best friend, and her mother, a frank and outspoken woman on fire. After her father’s death, Alethea is left unmoored, a young woman more connected to life’s ethereal mysteries than to practical things such as doing laundry or paying taxes.And then, just when life seems to be getting back on track, she’s suddenly racked by crushing fatigue, inexplicable pain, and memory loss. With her grasp on reality fading, and specialist after specialist declaring nothing is wrong, Alethea turns to her own research and desperate home remedies. But even as her frantic quest for wellness seems to lead to confusion and despair, she discovers more about her own strength than she ever could have imagined—and becomes a woman on fire herself.


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From the award-winning author of I Knew You’d Be Lovely comes an empowering and disarmingly funny memoir about grief and illness—and the wit and wisdom it takes to survive it. As a child, Alethea Black drifts between her father, a brilliant mathematician who is also her best friend, and her mother, a frank and outspoken woman on fire. After her father’s death, Alethea i From the award-winning author of I Knew You’d Be Lovely comes an empowering and disarmingly funny memoir about grief and illness—and the wit and wisdom it takes to survive it. As a child, Alethea Black drifts between her father, a brilliant mathematician who is also her best friend, and her mother, a frank and outspoken woman on fire. After her father’s death, Alethea is left unmoored, a young woman more connected to life’s ethereal mysteries than to practical things such as doing laundry or paying taxes.And then, just when life seems to be getting back on track, she’s suddenly racked by crushing fatigue, inexplicable pain, and memory loss. With her grasp on reality fading, and specialist after specialist declaring nothing is wrong, Alethea turns to her own research and desperate home remedies. But even as her frantic quest for wellness seems to lead to confusion and despair, she discovers more about her own strength than she ever could have imagined—and becomes a woman on fire herself.

30 review for You've Been So Lucky Already: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    I'm around 4.5 stars here. One of my favorite quotes is, "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind." It's certainly a good philosophy to have in life, but I've also begun applying it when I read memoirs. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, although I've definitely read more of it over the last few years, mainly memoirs of one sort or another. At times I am utterly amazed at what the individuals recounting their lives have gone through, and overwhelmed not only at their I'm around 4.5 stars here. One of my favorite quotes is, "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind." It's certainly a good philosophy to have in life, but I've also begun applying it when I read memoirs. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, although I've definitely read more of it over the last few years, mainly memoirs of one sort or another. At times I am utterly amazed at what the individuals recounting their lives have gone through, and overwhelmed not only at their ability to face their challenges, but their generosity in sharing those struggles with the world. Some memoirs are more harrowing than others, but that doesn't mean that every person hasn't had to pull themselves up from their rock bottom. In her new memoir, You've Been So Lucky Already , Alethea Black recounts not only the unknown-to-her reserves of strength she needed to tap into when dealing with a long struggle with a mysterious illness, but she also touches on her life leading up to that struggle, from her relationship with her father when she was younger to feeling unmoored, unmotivated, and unsure of what path her life should take following his death. "In some ways it's a comforting thought. All your frustrations, all your joys, all the moments when everything went wrong, when it was hard to believe anything would ever feel normal again, when you actually split off from yourself and observed from a slight distance, which seemed safer, especially when your life exploded right at its midpoint, affording you a crystal-clear view of the heartbreak you caused, the love you absorbed, the deaths that unmoored you, the illness that razed your existence to a pile of terrifyingly beautiful rubble—it's comforting to feel that, somehow, you've borne them all before. And you have this shadowy memory that it was worth it, so you'll do it again. You'll do it all again and again." This is an emotional read, but it is gorgeously written. Even when Black recounts her lowest moments, visiting specialist after specialist who cannot find anything wrong with her and do not heed her requests to be tested for parasites, experiencing unbelievable pain, fatigue, memory loss, and crushing despair, she uses words so vivid you can almost feel twinges of what she did. There is such a "you are there" feel to this memoir, which leads you to wonder how you would react if you were a friend or family member trying to help her during this period of time. I read Black's debut story collection, I Knew You'd Be Lovely (see my review) several years ago, and it was one of the best books I read that year. Her storytelling ability, even if it is her own story, has only gotten stronger since then. This was difficult to read at times, but I kept marveling at her generosity in sharing so much of her vulnerability with us. This is a book about the strength, humor, and intelligence it takes not only to survive one of the most physically debilitating times of your life, but the wisdom of simply surviving and thriving every day. I read this as part of Amazon's First Reads program, and the editor who selected this book said, "This is essential reading for anyone who has struggled in life, who has been ill, who has been labeled a hysteric, or who has loved someone who has sought, fruitlessly, for relief from their pain." Doesn't that apply to almost everyone in some way or another? Amazon First Reads and Little A provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.

  2. 5 out of 5

    david

    I dig this chick. Who the hell knows what this story is about (or life for that matter) but I liked it. A (david) bullet point review: She’s a tough gal. She’s quite bright. She’s a real person. She has had all sorts of problems. She writes about them. She’s wicked funny. Very girly for men who can handle it. Otherwise, this ain’t a guy’s book. Alethea, yeah man. I feel ya, I know ya, I like ya. And I am endorsing your book. Okay? And thank you. It was a pleasure to read. (And perhaps we can meet over I dig this chick. Who the hell knows what this story is about (or life for that matter) but I liked it. A (david) bullet point review: She’s a tough gal. She’s quite bright. She’s a real person. She has had all sorts of problems. She writes about them. She’s wicked funny. Very girly for men who can handle it. Otherwise, this ain’t a guy’s book. Alethea, yeah man. I feel ya, I know ya, I like ya. And I am endorsing your book. Okay? And thank you. It was a pleasure to read. (And perhaps we can meet over dinner and speak about some future projects. Chez Panisse? French Laundry?)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition

    Very Funny Alethea Black is a zany character, but funny and likeable. Her memoir is poignant and awkward at the same time - so funny! I mean, I hope she meant for it to be funny,! I especially liked the chapter where she describes her aversion to airplanes - that was hysterical!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    "The unsick wear their good health so cavalierly. They possess the most exquisite gift—an ermine cloak studded with magic gems—and they just drag it about, wiping their sweat with it. I used to do the same thing."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katy Askeland

    Odd Maybe I just didn't get the point of this book. I usually really enjoy memoirs, but the only reason I got through this one is because it's mercifully short. It seems like huge pieces of her story are missing and left unexplained. This just wasn't for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kim D

    What the heck did I just read? A very disjointed first-person chronicle of an undisclosed or undiagnosed mental illness. I can't reconcile what this was supposed to be.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cari

    You've Been So Lucky Already by Althea Black was my Kindle First selection for the month of September 2018. Even though I primarily stick to fiction, I must say that I have a strong fondness for a well-written memoir. While for some, the strength of a memoir comes down to the extraordinariness of the author's life... Did they survive a Holocaust? Did they write their memoir amidst a losing battle with stage IV cancer? Was their childhood spent bouncing from foster home to foster home, enduring he You've Been So Lucky Already by Althea Black was my Kindle First selection for the month of September 2018. Even though I primarily stick to fiction, I must say that I have a strong fondness for a well-written memoir. While for some, the strength of a memoir comes down to the extraordinariness of the author's life... Did they survive a Holocaust? Did they write their memoir amidst a losing battle with stage IV cancer? Was their childhood spent bouncing from foster home to foster home, enduring heinous abuse and somehow they still managed to find fulfillment and success despite crippling odds? Sure, I've read these memoirs and wiped away the tears that they sent rolling down my cheeks; however, for me the strength of a memoir does not stem from the amount of tragedy featured in the author's life... It is 100% about the the voice with which their story is told. Did I, as the reader, feel every success and every failure endured by the author? Did I, as the reader, find myself able to view the world in all its wonder through the lenses of the author's eyes? Did the author's story make me weep due to their ability to extend their pain to me through well-crafted sentences? Or, even more difficultly, did they manage to make me laugh with their candidness and willingness to display their not-so-glorious moments? Alethea Black's memoir did all of this and more. I'm absolutely in love with her writing style, which infused humor with aching nostalgia; moments of brilliance with moments of insanity; and moments of triumph scattered amongst a series of failures. Yes, I cried. Yes, I laughed. Yes, my heart fluttered a bit every single time she mentioned her dachshund, Josie. Alethea's wit and eccentricities were endearing and her constant wavering between optimism and pessimism was realistic and introspective. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. When she told me the ring was lucky, I said, “Oh, good! I could use a little luck!” but the gypsy woman fixed me with a sharp stare and held up a mirror. “You’ve been so lucky already,” she said.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Soly

    Boring, nonsensical, and convoluted, without any meaningful contribution to the story line. Not to take away from the tragedy of conventional medicine's failure to adequately diagnose and treat this patient properly, but this could have been dealt with in a chapter or two. But that's not what this book is about...it's nothing more than a journal of endless rambling thoughts by a distraught person (that has really nothing to do with solving the woman's problems). To say it is the most boring book Boring, nonsensical, and convoluted, without any meaningful contribution to the story line. Not to take away from the tragedy of conventional medicine's failure to adequately diagnose and treat this patient properly, but this could have been dealt with in a chapter or two. But that's not what this book is about...it's nothing more than a journal of endless rambling thoughts by a distraught person (that has really nothing to do with solving the woman's problems). To say it is the most boring book I have ever read would be putting it mildly. The author would have been better to have locked all this information up in her diary so that no one would ever have to read it. I'm sure to her it is personal and meaningful, but to the rest of us, it's just plain boring.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I have had this book on my Kindle for little awhile, and I just haven't been motivated to read it. Finally, last week, I decided I should start reading some of the books on my Kindle shelf to make room for new books. (Why not? I'm home. As is almost everyone else. But I digress.) Alethea struggled through her teenage years, her parents divorced in dramatic style and then her father passed away. She struggled to find herself and then, when she did start to settle down, she got very ill. She spent I have had this book on my Kindle for little awhile, and I just haven't been motivated to read it. Finally, last week, I decided I should start reading some of the books on my Kindle shelf to make room for new books. (Why not? I'm home. As is almost everyone else. But I digress.) Alethea struggled through her teenage years, her parents divorced in dramatic style and then her father passed away. She struggled to find herself and then, when she did start to settle down, she got very ill. She spent a lot of time and effort going to doctor after doctor to seek help and find a diagnosis. If ever there was book about how the medical field dismisses women's symptoms, this book is a screaming, crying, foot-stomping example. Alethea finally did find a doctor to diagnosis her and help her recover, but she really suffered a lot. And somehow, in the midst of all this woman's pain and heartbreak and frustration, I liked the book. I started reading and couldn't stop. My favorite moments are Alethea's epiphany in the cemetery at midnight on New Year's Eve (I could feel my heart racing) and the crazy moment when she thought she was going to be attacked in her grandmother's house at 2 a.m. (again, heart racing) and every moment she described her little dog. Dachshunds are adorable. I think I would give the book 3.5 stars, maybe 3.75 stars. Such a story! I'm not sure who I recommend it to though. It is pretty dark at times. I guess I would recommend it to anyone who is willing to suffer through someone else's illness to find hope.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Turquoise Brennan

    Love a writer who is such a wide ranging reader... Also doesn't make herself the victim in her upsets but more just a human ..no hiding in this book. Ranks high on my list in style , directness and living

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenifer Jacobs

    Alethea Black wrote on of my favorite books, I Knew You'd Be Lovely. I have been obsessively checking to see if she wrote another since devouring that book. After reading this hilarious, revealing, vulnerable, and poignant memoir, I can see why another book wasn't forthcoming. If you or anyone you know has suffered from a 'mysterious' or 'hard to diagnose' illness, particularly such as lyme disease, fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue, her description is agonizingly profound, and will give so much Alethea Black wrote on of my favorite books, I Knew You'd Be Lovely. I have been obsessively checking to see if she wrote another since devouring that book. After reading this hilarious, revealing, vulnerable, and poignant memoir, I can see why another book wasn't forthcoming. If you or anyone you know has suffered from a 'mysterious' or 'hard to diagnose' illness, particularly such as lyme disease, fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue, her description is agonizingly profound, and will give so much insight into the battle they are fighting. I highly recommend this memoir!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paris Abell

    I LOVED this book! She's funny. She's moving. She's insightful. So so good. A must-read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Amazon first read from 2018. Thank goodness this was a free book. It was all over the place. I have no business rating someone else’s experience in life. But this experience probably didn’t need to be put into book form.

  14. 5 out of 5

    OraLee Kirkham

    Dissappointing I'm not sure exactly what I expected when I chose this book, but it was not the mostly blame-others-or-my-unique-circumstances attitude that took up the majority of Black's memoir. My 2 children are of her generation but they focus their energies outward toward others rather than all toward themselves. From the beginning, Black portrayed herself as a "free spirit"--refusing to use an alarm clock, always late for appointments, and treating her own time as more important than that of Dissappointing I'm not sure exactly what I expected when I chose this book, but it was not the mostly blame-others-or-my-unique-circumstances attitude that took up the majority of Black's memoir. My 2 children are of her generation but they focus their energies outward toward others rather than all toward themselves. From the beginning, Black portrayed herself as a "free spirit"--refusing to use an alarm clock, always late for appointments, and treating her own time as more important than that of others. Very me-centered. I realize the author had a terrible illness and I was interested to see how she found hope. I too have illnesses: as a 6-weeks-early preemie, I was born at home; later diagnosed with an incurable progressive lung disease that has limited my physical activity; breast cancer resulting in a bilateral mastectomy; and now having chemo for brain tumors--all of those things have taken time and attention by me and others. But it is possible to be concerned for others' needs too, and to share encouragement with another even when we walk through the darkness of pain. I thank God for a wonderful Church family ,the prayers of many friends, old and new, my own family, and the reality of Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Black's story was not finished at the end of the book. Hopefully she has found meaning and purpose outside of herself.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heather Fineisen

    Hit or miss in this volume. When the Author writes about her dad she shines. When the story turns to the quest to define her illness it's easy to get bogged down in the details. Later chapters are back to being funny, often ironic, poignant, relatable. Overall, a quick easy read worth the distraction. Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mesha Gee

    Another quick read for me, but I wasn’t super excited about the book. The beginning drew me in and then it’s almost like the writing style switched for part two and I almost gave up the book. But i powered through and the plot picked up again when she got her illness but then it seemed like it drug on. I started to think maybe she wanted this to drag on because it’s kind of how it was for her illness. I love reading memoirs because I do enjoy reading about people’s lives and the lessons they lea Another quick read for me, but I wasn’t super excited about the book. The beginning drew me in and then it’s almost like the writing style switched for part two and I almost gave up the book. But i powered through and the plot picked up again when she got her illness but then it seemed like it drug on. I started to think maybe she wanted this to drag on because it’s kind of how it was for her illness. I love reading memoirs because I do enjoy reading about people’s lives and the lessons they learn but this one just wasn’t super exciting for me. Like I said, interesting parts but not interesting all around.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kira

    I read 70 out of 191 pages because the book is fairly well written but I simply could not stand the author. Even though she was beginning to get her act together after bumming around on a small inheritance from her father, failing job interviews, I know from the book description that soon she will become ill and I can't imagine how whiny she will become then. I will want to feel sorry for her but I won't be able to so I'll feel guilty and who needs that? I knew when I went a whole week without g I read 70 out of 191 pages because the book is fairly well written but I simply could not stand the author. Even though she was beginning to get her act together after bumming around on a small inheritance from her father, failing job interviews, I know from the book description that soon she will become ill and I can't imagine how whiny she will become then. I will want to feel sorry for her but I won't be able to so I'll feel guilty and who needs that? I knew when I went a whole week without going back to it that I wasn't going to finish it. Still, I gave it another try today but no. Not even for the cute 2.5 pound miniature dachshund. Just no.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This book confused me. It began with a litany of things the narrator had to be glad about not doing so I was thinking it was postmodern. Then it veers into a more traditional memoir style. I felt like I came in in the middle of a conversation.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Krueger

    Eh...2 1/2 stars maybe. I thought the first half was random thoughts with no direction. Second half was better but none of it was funny

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lee Broyles

    Not worth reading. Worse book l have read, and it was my free prime book for this month. Waste of time. Why would anyone publish it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Ugh!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I liked this so much I chose to read it instead of sleep one night, and sleep is one of my favorite things. I wasn't always clear on where in time the story was, but the rhythms the words made in my head were so great that I didn't mind. I didn't always agree with the author's choices but her writing helped me understand why she went the way she did on some things.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mary Blowers

    A don't miss I so enjoyed this book. Narrator did things I've done and thought things I've thought. Maybe her journey can help me as I am chronically fatigued as well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hollie

    My little sister told me I had to read this book, said it was the funniest book she’d ever read. I have to say, with so much gratitude, it’s perfect that I read it immediately. Tears of laughter more than once and some heart warming fuzzies, too! Easy quick read, well worth the time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shari Ring Wolf

    Well written, timely subject So many people are sick nowadays with rare illnesses. More people than we realize are sick with a myriad of viruses, imbalances, and disorders that didn't used to exist or have not yet been discovered or named. They eventually find themselves struggling alone. Many are blamed for their illness. It's not easy to get on Disability and nobody gets enough money through Disability payments to actually live on. As our food becomes less healthy and more toxic, and our air an Well written, timely subject So many people are sick nowadays with rare illnesses. More people than we realize are sick with a myriad of viruses, imbalances, and disorders that didn't used to exist or have not yet been discovered or named. They eventually find themselves struggling alone. Many are blamed for their illness. It's not easy to get on Disability and nobody gets enough money through Disability payments to actually live on. As our food becomes less healthy and more toxic, and our air and water contains more poisons, more and more people are succumbing to debilitating and devastating "mystery illnesses". The author does a brilliant job of showing the reader how people are treated by medical personnel, family, and friends. Lots of people are unaware of how loyal they are to their belief systems, convinced that life and the world are sane, sensible, and wrapped nearly with no loose ends. Belief in that system trumps belief in their sick friend's credibility. The author shows this in her memoir, and she is kinder towards those people than I would be. Perhaps this is because she is writing from the perspective of a person who finally found the problem and solution and is no longer too ill to function as a human being. Many, many people don't find their answers. There is a brief character in this book who is diagnosed with Lou G. disease. There was a time that this disease had no name, it was a mystery. Epilepsy was blamed on mothers, demons, and the old standby: it's in your head. People die after decades or a lifetime of being miserable with unexplained illnesses. It's easy to be optimistic and see the lessons once the horror is behind you. I was glad to read that Alethea Black has her health and her life back. I'm very grateful she so eloquently described what it's like to be chronically ill with a mystery illness. I guess people who have to live out their lives without a clear diagnosis or relief from symptoms are too unwell to write a book. Thankfully, this was not the author's story. This book has me realizing that I want to believe that the lives of people stuck with mystery illnesses are not wasted and futile when they don't find their answers. A sad subject, for sure. The authors background as an editor was evident. Blessedly, there were no glaring typos, no wrong use of words, and no commas randomly placed. Ms. Black has a huge vocabulary and writes beautifully.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really enjoyed her writing style. I couldn't help but be drawn in to her sort of clumsy and whimsical life. The section about her illness was very captivating for me because I had a practically identical health saga, as have many many people. Yes you end up struggling very much alone and yes no one believes you. Mine was lyme so I can't help but wonder if she had lyme or an associated coinfection. Her illness struck right after a wonderful summer spent outdoors in disease infested upstate NY. I really enjoyed her writing style. I couldn't help but be drawn in to her sort of clumsy and whimsical life. The section about her illness was very captivating for me because I had a practically identical health saga, as have many many people. Yes you end up struggling very much alone and yes no one believes you. Mine was lyme so I can't help but wonder if she had lyme or an associated coinfection. Her illness struck right after a wonderful summer spent outdoors in disease infested upstate NY. A lot of people with these infections spiral into an abyss and try everything to get well. Somehow after endless suffering the immune system can regain the upper hand and they manage to put things in remission. People attribute their regained health to whatever potion or cure they were most recently experimenting with. I can't help but think this may be the same thing. She doesn't mention investigating these diseases at all but she certainly must have looked into it considering everything else she did. I really loved how she described her health spiral and losing control of her mind and body so truthfully. She could recount all the depravity she experienced from a removed watchful perspective, like it was happening to someone else but with the details she gives you also experience the first person perspective. I actually laughed out loud when she said she had suddenly become someone she wouldn't even trust to vacuum out her car. It's so true. In the middle of so much suffering and desperation you catch a glimpse of yourself and also wish you could just write yourself off as a weirdo. What I gained from seeing her version of this experience was a bit more insight into how completely something like this stops everything in your life and reorients you to an extreme level of dysfunction. All the difficulties and weaknesses you carried throughout your life that maybe would never have been a big deal are suddenly combined with this massive serving of misfortune. Your life story certainly takes another turn. I liked how the author painted a picture of her life with it's struggles from the beginning and then added the extreme episode of illness and struggling so you could see how the two uniquely blended. Everyone's health struggles are the same in a lot of ways but we make our unique mark on them with our individual lived experiences. I got this book for free as an Amazon First offer.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Too Much Drama Way too intense for me. Every high was Mt. Everest. Every low was the Grand Canyon and every misfortune was intensified by her inappropriate response. By the end I was skimming just to finish. And tell me please how she lived with no job, no discernible source of income, infinite medical bills and a pocket full of maxed-out credit cards. Truly one of the more annoying books I’ve read in a long time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    twilight gecko

    i loved this book, i read it in one sitting.. snow storm outside, curled up by the wood stove and read.. she writes intelligently and i appreciate that.. she actually added new words to my repertoire.. i felt her emotions.. completely enjoyed every word, every paragraph and want to read more from her..

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lc

    Quirky author and quirky style. Enjoyable quick read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Somehow, sometimes, some words just go beyond grabbing one’s mind and soul and saying here it is. Alethea Black’s words do just that. “You’ve Been So Lucky Already,” Black’s memoir, demonstrates the unassailable requirement of great writing — connecting to the reader, making them care and want and, I suspect, nod their head while saying some variation of ‘Oh yes, this is it, this is true.” Becoming a successful writer now does not mean Black’s path was easy. It was not. Yet away with any woe-is-me Somehow, sometimes, some words just go beyond grabbing one’s mind and soul and saying here it is. Alethea Black’s words do just that. “You’ve Been So Lucky Already,” Black’s memoir, demonstrates the unassailable requirement of great writing — connecting to the reader, making them care and want and, I suspect, nod their head while saying some variation of ‘Oh yes, this is it, this is true.” Becoming a successful writer now does not mean Black’s path was easy. It was not. Yet away with any woe-is-me screed or appeal for sympathy. No, a screed becomes a creed, to discover the why and how of what happening, to see the latest checkpoint in life as one more unique step that gets her whole in ever way possible. And thus so does a reader. Her enriching, encompassing eloquent effort embraces us, shows us the wit and wisdom it takes to survive life’s fast balls thrown at the head, and invites us to share the seeds of how she became the incredible person she is now. Black’s writing style is clearly her own, one that that has become beloved to me after reading but the first sentences of her novel “I Knew You’d Be Lovely.” I was curious — and I had set the bar high — to see how or if that lusciously subtle detailed cascade of words that swept me and so others away could continue in book two. One of short stories. It does. That cascade erupts again when natural in “You’ve Been So Lucky Already,” yet now it has become a literary delta to include brooks that babble and churn, eddies that swirl and rivulets that find their way into almost every place in your mind. Banish any thoughts that a style for short stories does not work well for a memoir, or that “rules” exist for this genre. Even if true, why apply them to quiet this unique voice? There are chapters in life, for certain. And life really does not flow seemingly straightforward for most. No need for a memoir to do so. Black has a wonderful writing style that is of our 21st century and one that is worthy in the line of those rare artists who can write the true word. My hope is, in paraphrasing a line from the book, maybe she will stay like this forever, because I’ll just keep on reading.

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