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Cheap Cabernet: A Friendship Paperback – November 9, 2015
The Amazon Book Review
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From Publishers Weekly
A newly-dumped empty nester at only 39, Beck could do whatever she wanted, but had no friends with whom to do it. She needed pals, so she placed an ad in a Colorado newspaper to form a "smart, sassy women's group," with no idea what sort of response she'd get. A bevy of women responded, and Beck winnowed the lot of potential partners in crime to a half-dozen. One of them would change her live forever, and their friendship is the subject of Beck's mood-hopping memoir. They seemed to have little in common at first glance; Denise Katz was sophisticated, glamorous, successful, while Beck saw herself as a "stubby Catholic girl with thin hair." But the two struck up a fast friendship rife with adventure, even as Katz slowly succumbed to the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis. It's easy to see why Cabernet attracted a major publisher after it was self-published to great acclaim on Amazon. Though often full of treacle, Beck doesn't shy away from a frank, honest portrayal. Readers may not always like the book's versions of Beck and Katz, but they will identify with them.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Divorced with two kids by age 22, Beck reaches her late thirties “primed for hell and high water.” Looking for a partner in crime, she places a newspaper ad for a women’s group, and meets “high-wheelin’ and fun-lovin’” Denise—the perfect antidote to Beck’s years of struggle as a single parent. In her debut memoir, Beck focuses on their immediate, intensely fierce friendship—there’s scarcely room or air for anyone else, including Beck’s children. The good times are tempered by Denise’s deteriorating health, which ultimately strains the relationship—Beck’s life is beginning to soar just as her friend’s is slipping away. A lively, pull-no-punches storyteller, Beck writes with great affection even as she struggles to create a fully realized portrait of Denise, who remains elusive. Beck proves most effective when drawing on vivid, heartrending scenes from her past (fertile ground for future memoirs) to illuminate the present. As Beck blossoms from tentative and fearful to confident and composed, we come to see how, under Denise’s influence, she has traveled from there to here. --Patty Wetli --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
One of the particularly interesting aspects of the book was the role multiple sclerosis played in the life of Denise. At the time the book takes place, disease-modifying therapies were just beginning to hit the market, relatively unknown, and their efficacy was unknown. Fortunately there are great advances being made in treating MS offering hope to those who are newly diagnosed. This book, though, is an important reminder that while significant progress has been made, MS remains a disease which can rob people of their dignity. It's heartwarming to know that a portion of the sales of the book go to the National MS Society, particularly since this is the author's first book.
This book is a great book club selection and will promote interesting conversation in reflecting on friendships after reading this book.
I'm looking forward to her next book.
I was so moved by this book, that I immediately found the author's website and emailed her asking when it was going to be made into a movie! This is something I've never felt inspired to do...until after reading this book!
I laughed so hard I was crying in one part where she wrote about what her mother used to do to freak out people who had too much to drink (I don't want to give it away here). There was a scene where the author writes about a life defining day where she and her children were so hot and thirsty and the young girl who had access to the water refused to give them any (once again, I don't want to give away the whole scene). The author's writing here was so powerful....so intense.....it pierced my soul...and lingered with me for days.
Dr. Wayne Dyer has said that Friends are God's way of apologizing for your family. The friendship this book is about was definitely a Divine one as they were a gift to each other. And I do believe their friendship was a gift to me, too!
After reading this book, I was filled with so many different emotions.... compassion... love... sadness....joy.....and the awareness that we are all the walking wounded and no friendship should ever be taken for granted, especially our "connected" ones.
I do hope that when the movie comes out, they capture the jewels and the depth of this book as well as its humor. There are so many hidden, deep messages in here- I will have to read it again and again to capture them all.
Thank you so much, Cathie, for writing this book! I will be reading all of your future books!
Hooked from the first few pages, where we see Cathie and Denise driving through Colorado on their way to see Jerry Jeff Walker of "Mr. Bojangles" fame, I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen when the pair met up with the singer/songwriter and iconic fixture from my own 1960s youth.
Despite her illness, Denise is an economic dynamo with ideas that make boatloads of money, from the time she founded a barrette business to her ownership of a high-end, customized art framing business in artsy Boulder. The book follows four years of Cathie's rollicking, wild, emotional relationship with Denise, described in laugh-out-loud funny prose. While checking out a Moroccan restaurant, Cathie tells Denise the belly dancer "looks to me like she's dispelling afterbirth" - and then the pair proceed to try to emulate the dancer. What a hoot!
They share an "Ann Rule" obsession, and it is at one of the crime author's bookstore readings that Cathie realizes she can no longer deny or ignore Denise's hand tremors, unsteady gait and other symptoms of MS deterioration. The pair take a trip to Jamaica together, followed by a trip to Cuba, which is as magical and heartwarming as the former is disastrous.
Throughout their friendship, Denise stubbornly refuses help from Cathie and insists on being the mistress of her own destiny. Just how far Denise is willing to go to ensure control over her own life is a shock to the reader. I finished the entire book in one evening.