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Naked: Stripped by a Man and Hurricane Katrina Paperback – April 17, 2014
The Amazon Book Review
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"She writes of the coming of Hurricane Katrina with quiet force, which foreshadows the ruin of her marriage and stable life ... The story has genuine poignancy." ~ Southern Literary Review
"A gripping story of love and life lost in tandem." ~ Dr. Lynn Cossman
"Every woman reading this book will find a little of herself in theauthor and a little bit of the woman she strives to be." ~ Amazon Review
"Powerful and emotional memoir about a woman who starts rebuilding her life. The starkness, rawness and candor with which the author has written the story is gripping. A story ofloss, redemption, survival and renewal that will inspire and motivate. The author pulls readers into the story, making them feel as if it is their journey. Thestory is empowering and can be equated to a phoenix rising from theashes." ~ Mamta Madhavan, Readers' Favorites
"In an age where we view each other with mutual distrust and antipathy, we need heroes more than ever. Julie Freed is, without qualification, heroic." ~ Dr. Nilima Nigam, Vancouver
"If you've ever felt like you've weathered a storm, read this. Not to see if her account "one ups you," but rather to let her story take you by the hand and have her journey open up your own sealed-away memories and emotions. Then you, like she, can acknowledge your own strength and resilience." ~ Amazon Review
From the Author
Q: Crises often seem to come in layered forms. You were dealing with the wrath of Hurricane Katrina and the dissolution of a marriage. Please tell us how the title is symbolic.
NAKED - Being authentic, being vulnerable, being alive. Both the title and cover image capture being naked in several ways. My body's naked outline is merged with a photo of my house after Hurricane Katrina. My body represents the text's raw candor I hope makes the reader feel as if she is beside me on my journey. It also captures the nakedness I felt for my community, as my surroundings were destroyed. And naked also refers to the freedom from material possessions and a dying marriage I ultimately experienced. Color inside the figure expresses the light and love I found within, despite all that dissolved into black and white around me.
Q: What parts of your upbringing helped you become a resilient and buoyant person?
My parents were strict and always challenged me to do more. But, they let me fail, they let me fall. They were not helicopter parents, making sure I didn't scrape a knee. They provided all I truly needed and allowed me to explore and learn on my own. I think this helped develop a decent level of grit and confidence.
As a family we also had to deal with cancer in our world when my sisters and I were all still quite young. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at 42. This changes the world for children and for a family. Mom was a fighter, a survivor - a role model. I learned early, life throws hurdles. We must keep jumping or we become frozen with fear.
Q: What are some of the topics in your book that readers will find interesting?
What an amazing planet we have been gifted. Our waters, beaches, forests, swamps, the air we breathe are all precious. We must protect and defend them. No matter how brilliant the diamond, how fast the car, how big the flat screen - Mother Nature wins. She can blow it all away. Material obsessions, in the end are immaterial. Love, family, friends, travel, ideas, creativity, inspiration, and time, time, time - These are my commodities. ... And a really good hot cup of coffee!
Q: Can you describe your writing style a bit?
Mathematics is a highly efficient language. Incredible relationships can be described with just a few symbols that are not culturally bound. Like music, it is a true world language. I've always looked for patterns and my writing works to weave those in both subtle and explicit ways. I think my logical and quantitative background also makes my prose clear and concise. With a music and math background I try to write succinctly but also rhythmically so the reader feels the ebbing and flowing of the story - my cadence as if I'm sitting across the table.
Q: Which authors have inspired you?
What authors have inspired me ... such a difficult question. Scientists, researchers, musicians, authors, my parents, my daughters, my husband, my friends, all kinds of people inspire me. I am a collection of all of these amazing people and the rich experiences they have brought into my life. But to give a "list" - Leonardo DaVinci fascinates me, Nora Ephron a hilarious New Yorker to adore, Jeannette Walls a brilliant journalist, Salvador Dali an enigma in an enigma, Billy Holiday makes me smile, Ernest Hemingway a succinct craftsman of language, Rodin's work breath taking, Annie Lennox an artist to admire, ... I could go on with the artists who have pioneered and whom I adore. I chose a quote from Maya Angelou to begin my book because people who keep growing and changing despite their fears are my beacon of hope for humanity.
Top customer reviews
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lifestyle imagined to be pretty perfect. I would recommend this book for a younger reader who may be experiencing a troubled marriage; I think it offers some helpful lessons about assigning blame, and about recovery from disappointment.
The past events are woven in chapters among hurricane-prep to hurricane aftermath stories. The author's got a lot of grit, and I admire her immensely.
She also had/has a lot of support. She deserves that support, ALL Katrina victims do. Still, I was struck by the amount of privilege she enjoyed: white skin, having a degree (and apparently, no student debt for that degree), insurance, savings, a job that didn't disappear (though her house did), an intact family of origin able to pitch in financially and emotionally... Even a vacation home her parents had bought in the area, that did remain whole, that she could move into while going back to work and beginning clean-up work. Her "rock bottom" was never as deep as some of the other Katrina victims, some of whom are still devastated. It's not something I begrudge her, at all, yay that she had those resources! Yay that she and her baby are thriving! Yet, it made it difficult for me to fully connect with her journey.
It's still an interesting and moving story, and she writes it well.