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Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Expected, November 3, 2009
This review is from: Replacement Child - A Memoir (Paperback)
Over the years, I've read dozens of self-published memoirs, some okay and others really missing the mark. I've even had some authors send me rude emails for giving less than stellar reviews. Those who know me well know I'll be honest, sometimes blatantly, and I'm not one to hold back an opinion.

After shutting down all but the children's review page for Roundtable Reviews and notifying all publishers of the site format change, I received a copy of REPLACEMENT CHILD in the mail. How someone got my mailing address without first emailing me, I don't know. In the end, I shelved it for a while not sure if I wanted to bother doing a review on Amazon or not. With my freelance writing work, I'm busy enough that I don't read as much as I once did. But, yesterday, we had a semi-warm sunny day, so I decided to take an hour and enjoy the sun before the snow flies.

The book opens with a bit about the author. She's also a freelance writer. Her writing style seemed open and honest, and the first pages intrigued me to keep reading, which is always a good sign. However, I also know that with many self-published books grammatical and spelling errors generally abound. Surprisingly, I found the entire book had been edited well and I found no errors. With self-published novels costing far more than mass marketed, a well edited novel is a must in my eyes.

REPLACEMENT CHILD is Judy Mandel's memoir. She was born into a family struck by tragedy when an American Airlines jet crashed into her parents' apartment building killing a sister she'd never know and another sister who suffered severe burns over much of her body. A few years later, Judy was born to be the replacement child to fill the void in her parents' hearts. She often felt overshadowed by her deceased sister and learned bits and pieces of the crash by eavesdropping because her parents didn't really talk about it with her. All she knew is one sister was horribly scarred and an older sister had died.

I'm sure writing the memoir was cathartic. Memoirs, while very personal to the writer, do not always grab the audience. The reader must be able to sympathize with the author or the connection is lost. Because this memoir involves a plane crash I'd never heard about, I found myself interested to learn more. The emotions the author feels come through clearly. The narrative itself moves back and forth in time blending present with past as new thoughts trigger old memories. All in all, I found myself intrigued with the story and ended up reading it in one sitting because I wanted to reach that final note pulling everything together.
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