My Thoughts: I have issues with reviewing memoirs. So much so that I almost turned this book away at first. I think there is a lot of pressure to try and enjoy a memoir because it is actually the story of someone's life. If you don't like the book...was their life not good enough? Were their hardships not entertaining enough to keep you interested? Was their story not heartfelt enough to make you tear up? These are the thoughts that go through my mind when I read a book about someone else's life. I can't stand the pressure of feeling so obligated to like a book, that I am not even thinking about the story as I read. It's a total turn-off. Luckily, Lisa had me so immersed in her story that I didn't even have a chance to think about that pressure. I was completely into the story and aware of nothing else (my poor children were forced into video games all day to keep them quiet while I read. Such good little monkeys they are). Lisa is a fantastic storyteller and I love the way she writes. Not only from the heart, but like a REAL person. She writes the way most of us think...except it makes sense. Love it!!
During a time when being gay meant being shunned by the world, a young Lisa met her soul mate and hung on to her principles throughout the hardships of hiding her relationship from the world; her parents, her friends, and later...her co-workers. Her life was forged before she even finished high school when she didn't see what others saw..."How could loving someone be wrong?".
From her parents not understanding her (and practically imprisoning her), to a little more understanding, to eventually moving out of home and beginning her life with her true love Lisa's view on her life never wavered. She had it all planned out, and it was to be great. Like most teenage dreams, however, life became a living nightmare. We see her through her rise to freedom and her party scene, to her undeniable confusion with her own identity and sexuality and her eventual fall from high to the depressing low. This is life. No pretty pictures. No hiding what's real. This is what I loved about this book. She tells it how it is. Nothing is as important as that.
One things that got me about Lisa's story was how she names herself and her partner, Selina, Special, Gifted, Prophets...living in The Place. I loved it. She took her relationship with another female, when they were young and living in a world where this was soo not the norm, and she put such a terrific spin on it. Like this was their time to shine, their special secret, their right above all others. This showed me so much into Lisa's personality and views on homosexuality. If only everyone thought that way then (and now, come to think of it), what a Place it would be.
You have to give it to Lisa Vaughn. She threw her entire adolescent experience, from the naive pre-teen to the fall-from-grace as a young adult, into this tell-all book. It is the perfect coming-of-age story for any confused youth because it takes us into the mind of a teenage girl in the midst of an identity crisis. It shows us what we can overcome if we stick with our beliefs. It tells us that life may not be what it seems from the outside looking in. What story is there that is more powerful than that? None that I can think of.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely without a doubt. I would read it again and when my daughter comes to an age where the language is appropriate (although let's face it...kids grow up too quick and know all about sex and drugs WAY too early for my taste as it is) this would definitely be considered a staple for her reading list. What teenager doesn't have the same thoughts and feelings Lisa had in this book? None that I know of. That's what makes it so special.
If you are looking for a read that is quick, easy and speaks volumes...The Gifted Ones if definitely a must-read. I have not read a more powerful and inspiring book yet this year, or last...maybe even ever. This is for sure a new favorite on my list...where will it place on yours?
I want to thank Lisa Vaughn for the opportunity to read and review The Gifted Ones. It was a pleasure to read (in one day...wow).
For more information on Lisa Vaughn or to get your own copy of The Gifted Ones (do it, do it now) click here!!
My Rating: 5 Stars *****