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Girl with the Crooked Smile - Stuck In A Moment ... and the Pearls of Wisdom that pulled her through it Paperback – April 5, 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

What's refreshing about Girl with the Crooked Smile is that Darah doesn't just address suicide loss. She faces a range of trials and tribulations, and doesn't always handle it perfectly. It's a process, and she learns that she luckily receives many 2nd chances. At the end of each chapter, she shares the lessons she learned by reflecting on the coping skills she used in each crisis. It was utterly enjoyable to get to know the GWCS (the title is reflective of 2 injuries that permanently changed her appearance).  Her resolve will surely inspire many survivors.--American Association of Suicidology


Darah Zeledon's Girl with the Crooked Smile was a wonderfully inspiring read. It was painful and yet funny. There was none of the "poor me" syndrome about it; it was more like Darah telling us to come with her on her journey and experience everything for ourselves. And boy did she manage to draw you in to the extent that you felt as if you were there. No reader will be able to put this book down - you will laugh, you will cry, you will experience the pain and the joy that Darah and her family went through. And you will be glad you did. I read this book in four hours flat. - Readers' Favorite

"Darah Zeledon's Girl with the Crooked Smile is certainly an encouragement to anyone who has had trials in this life. Her strength, faith and attitude to persevere in the most trying of circumstances jumps off the page and into your soul. I was intrigued and glued to the pages by her resolve to keep going and wanted to know what propelled her to do so. Darah's book is both heart-wrenching and heart-warming and it was a joy to get this intimate look into her life." --Chris Bonavita-Plunkett, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Non-profit guru

"This amazingly written memoir will take readers on an emotional roller-coaster as the writer walks them through her life--a story of nightmares, dreams and ultimately, of hope. You will find the pearls of wisdom that encapsulate each chapter incredibly inspiring--a true lesson of maturity from a very grateful author." --Sally Sacca Abadi, Professional translator, Advocate

"This book got me, right where it really counts. The part of you that's terrified, hopeful, wistful, & determined, all at once, & never quite sure how thing are going to turn out. Her vulnerability is the shining thread that weaves it all together, & it's beautiful. This is not a look at me and see how fabulous I turned out read, but a look at a set of rotten cards, without regret or self-pity, giving us a chance to see her whole internal thought & heart process, eventually leading to the Pearls. They shine, because we get to feel what forged them."--Bethany Rule Vedder, Owner Thin Line Design


Zeledon's Girl with the Crooked Smile was a wonderfully inspiring read. It was painful, yet funny. There was none of the "poor me" syndrome about it - it was more like Darah telling us to come with her on her journey and experience everything for ourselves. And boy, did she manage to draw you in to the extent that you felt as if you were there. No reader will be able to put this book down - you will laugh, you will cry, you will experience the pain and the joy that Darah and her family went through. I read this book in four hours flat - I could not put it down. --Readers' Favorite

Sometimes the loss of a loved one by suicide is the defining tragedy in a person's life. There's a before and an after. There's a "New Normal";that many survivors experience. But sometimes a person's life can become messy, complicated,and full of simple bad luck; the suicide is just one drop in a bucket of overflowing tears. Such is the adult life of Darah Zeledon. While she was pregnant, Zeledon had to have brain surgery to remove a growing tumor. Soon after she crossed that hurdle, and while living out of the U.S. in Panama, she received the call that so many survivors have experienced: she learned that her younger brother, who she knew was struggling with his career path following college graduation,had taken his life. Given the responsibilities of motherhood,post-surgical healing, and navigating life in a foreign country, Zeledon had little time or space to grieve; a soul can take only so much. As she pushed forward with a dose of denial,she encountered more struggles, and she recounted her path to learning how to not just survive but thrive in the face of adversity in her simple- to-read memoir,Girl with the Crooked Smile;the title refers to the first of many storms she weathered in a ten-year span. Many survivor memoirs center on the loss of a loved one to suicide or the author s suicide attempt story.Surviving suicide is enough to fill many books, after all. What was, dare I say, refreshing about Girl with the Crooked Smile, is that Zeledon does not just address suicide loss.She faces a range of trials and tribulations, and she doesn't always handle it perfectly. It's a process, and she learns that she fortunately receives many second chances. At the end of each chapter, she shares the lessons she learned by reflecting on the coping skills she used in each crisis. For example: *Fight like hell until you can't fight anymore. *Preserve childlike innocence and take comfort in illusions if it preserves sanity. *Maintain dignity. *Stay actively engaged in life. It was thoroughly enjoyable to get to know the Girl with the Crooked Smile note: the title is reflective of not one, but two injuries necessitating multiply surgeries that permanently changed her appearance). Zeledon has a strong presence in social media and is considered a warrior in social media circles and on her website. Her resolve will surely inspire many survivors. --Ginny Sparrow, American Association of Suicidology

This book got me, right where it really counts. The part of you that's terrified, hopeful, wistful, and determined, all at once, & never quite sure how thing are going to turn out. Her vulnerability is the shining thread that weaves it all together, and it's beautiful. This is not a look at me and see how fabulous I turned out read, but a look at a set of rotten cards, without regret or self-pity, giving us a chance to see her whole internal thought and heart process, eventually leading to the Pearls. They shine, because we get to feel what forged them. --Bethany Rule Vedder, editor-in-chief, Heartloose and In My Middle

From the Author

I have poured my heart and soul into this book--oftentimes to the blatant disregard of all else--and have exposed my darkest, most discombobulated thoughts because I wholeheartedly believe the higher purpose is that important. If you take anything away from reading this book, I hope it is this: In this life there is no choice but to confront adversity head-on with courage, confident that eventually, time will march you out of it. When? How? Who knows? As counterintuitive as it seems, we must find comfort in the uncertainty, in the unknowable. And as we develop the coping skills necessary to trump through our toughest moments, we find ourselves stronger, wiser and more resilient.
   I know my story may not resonate with everybody. Yet, I most fervently believe that the Pearls of Wisdom I share here will offer hope and inspiration to most anyone, from any walk of life, going through a rough stint. I want to make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel. And most of all, empower you to live your life--the good, the bad and the ugly--with the passion and spirit of a warrior.
   If you find yourself trapped in a dark space, as most of us inevitably do at some time or another, know you are not alone. Find that proverbial life raft--that friend, that special place, that creative outlet, whatever brings you light--and take hold.
   Never, ever, seek the easy way out--ending your life is no solution. There is always the promise of a better tomorrow. Keep pressing on. I am.
You don't know what you're made of until you are ripped apart.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: The Sterling Publishing Group; 2 edition (April 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988465620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988465626
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,040,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is hard to believe you are not reading fiction while turning the pages of Ms. Zeledon's book. What the author endured and conquered is unheard of, though her ability to describe with gut-wrenching honesty and detail is nothing short of inspirational. This memoir encapsulates one woman's visceral reactions to life's toughest punches. Darah is candid and frank,as well as mighty and strong (though she boasts to be a mere 5 feet 1 inches tall). Her love for her family and will to survive bounces off the page. I read the book in 24 hours. It was that beautifully written. I highly recommend this book for reading groups and anyone who has questioned their ability to fight adversity. Darah gives you the pearls of wisdom for both. Bravo!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this story of triumph over adversity.

Darah Zeledon has gone through a string of crises and tragedies over the last decade and has still managed to raise five healthy and happy little kids and maintain a good marriage. Instead of curling up in a ball and hiding under the covers, she dealt with one kick in the stomach (a brain tumor while pregnant) after another (Loss of a sibling) after another (financial setback) by fighting back. She not only honestly and frankly tells about her journey in an easy to read, enthralling manner, she gives little "pearls of wisdom" about how to get through crises in your own life.

I'm definitely recommending this to a friend who is going through a major health crisis right now and would suggest you do the same. Even if you are not going through a major event, this book will inspire you to live your best life and not wallow.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Girl With The Crooked Smile is a gem. The writing is beautiful and Darah's story inspiring. It is far from a "poor, poor me" story, but instead a book about character, strength and determination. It is a story of love and how that alone can help conquer obstacles in one's life. The book is also a page turner. I couldn't wait to pick it up to make sure Darah ended up on her feet. Darah's words of wisdom at the end of each chapter are insightful and thought provoking. Clearly, Darah is a talented writer!
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I loved this book, and I'm not a fan of self-help kinds of things but this book is far from that. It's a memoir, with bonuses. It's funny, draws you in, and most of all it's not anything like "poor me" but more of a "come with me and feel what I felt" kind of journey. Intimate, raw, and vulnerable. The pearls are parts that I'll go back to when I get kicked in the teeth :). Darah is a remarkable woman, and I'll be glad to read more when she's got more to share, personal or not.
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Format: Paperback
Fantatastic fluid read! She is not only inspiring, but you can completely relate to her human conversational writing style. I couldn't put the book down. The universal message resonates with any woman who has every lived through any life changing event. Truly engaging and I hope to see more from this author.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As I reflect on Darah's book, there are many words to describe the emotions, thoughts, images, and connectedness that this narrative evoked in me. Previous reviewers have written excellent descriptions that inspire a reader to read this book. I choose to use the basis of writing , the ABC's to hopefully resonate with potential readers to learn more about Darah's journey .

A--Assistance from family and friends
B--Blessings
C--Caring
D--Determination
E--Energy
F--Fortitude
G--Gratitude
H--Helpful Husband, humor
I--Inspiring, Insighful
J--Joyful, Jouquain
K--Kind
L--Loving
M--Motherhood, Medical
N--Natural, Notable
O--Openess
P--Passion
Q--Quality
R--Resilence
S--Supporting
T--Truthful
U--Useful
V--Victory
W--Warm, winning personality
X--choose your own word
Y--Yahweh
Z--Zeal, Zeledon, Yes!,

No matter your stage in life, you can learn from Darah's wisdom.
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Reading about Darah's traumatic health problems, in addition to the other personal tragedies with which she had to deal, was truly a riveting and inspirational experience. The humor she injected into her narrative and the "pearls of wisdom" she shared with the reader were reminders of her humanity as well as the resilience of the human spirit. The lessons learned are easily applicable to anyone who has had to face any degree of adversity. It was not at all a depressing read. On the contrary, it was very uplifting. If Darah survived the things she went through, so can the rest of us!
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When I hit the quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt that begins Zeledon’s book I knew we were surely kindred spirits.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

I was hooked from the first scene in the book. The author describes attending her brother’s graduation from medical school and the accompanying antics with her siblings. I instantly fell in love with her irreverence and Joie de Vivre.

Yet even in this first scene, I had the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. And so it wasn’t. Zeledon, in fact, had a huge brain tumor. And she was pregnant. And that was jus the beginning.
Zeledon has only just begun to deal with one obstacle with which she will come face to face over the next six years. Time after time she draws on reserves of strength and courage that I began to think were bottomless. I admired her pure nerve, her raw power of spirit and strength of body as I read, with growing amazement, about the obstacles and adversities she met along her life’s journey.
But it was a bicycling accident that brought the author almost to her knees. Her willingness to reveal the very vulnerability of which I had come to think she wasn’t capable that put everything in perspective. A person who is invulnerable doesn’t seem real. By revealing this very vulnerability, Zeledon becomes much more than the “warrior mom.” She can stand strong with the best of us. But she also knows when and how to bend, to go with the flo, to ask for and receive help.
Thank you Darah, for writing this book, for being the warrior mom, for being willing to reveal so much of yourself to the world.
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