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The Things We Do for Love: Stories of My Life Paperback – June 14, 2010
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...nothing upon her shaky earthquakeprone ground of memory and
emotion gets completely out of hand, no matter how rough the road... Somehow, somewhere, humanity and decency manage to prevail, arriving at a destiny. --Allen Tobias, examiner.com
A mine of personal experience mingling with universal emotion ...This is writing so intensely honest, that the reader is forced to look at his or her own life in an entirely new way. --Magdalena Ball, The Compulsive Reader
About the Author
Ruhama Veltfort's poetry and fiction have appeared in Whispering Campaign, The Antrim Review, The Noe Valley Voice, Sound Journal, and Moonfish. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Whispers of a Dreamer (Hollow Reed Press, 1983) and Miles on the Bridge (Wordrunner Chapbooks, 1997), and a novel, The Promised Land (Milkweed Editions, 1998). A new collection of her poems, Translation of Light, is forthcoming at www.echapbooks.com. She lives in San Francisco, California.
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This is really a fully developed life story, when read in entirety, and not just completely separate stories, even though there is not an adherance to chronology, and even though each story fully stands on its own. I couldn't put it down, not because I needed to know the next in a sequence of events, but because I wanted to know more about the author and her fascinating life and perspective. The book taken as a whole does build and you want to find out where she's taking you. The final chapter is dynamite (brought tears, in fact), and, part of its beauty results from what you've already learned about the writer.
It's just really great writing. She's a very engaging story teller, and the detail remembered brought back my own memories, like watching a movie of places I'd been and people I'd known.
It's really a tale of becoming a mother and learning to juggle one's yearning for experience with real devotion to one's offspring, but also to one's soul. A deeper love is discovered, one that transcends attachment to our hopes for The Right Man (or Woman).
THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE appears to be structured loosely as a trilogy of memoirs. The first part invites the reader to Ms. Veltfort's childhood in Cape Ann, Massachusetts and surrounding environs. This section of the book provides the reader with a chronologically linear perspective of her young life and the family and friends who populate and shape it.
Then suddenly, mid-chapter (Your Fortune: Love and Marriage) a radical departure from the usual anchors of time and location transports the reader into her fractured young adulthood, a pulsing montage of lovers, marriages, children, drugs, rock stars and friends whose lives reflect the so-called times. In this second part, chronology disappears, leaving the reader at times confused as to the where and when of happenstance. But this shift from linearity is no oversight. A disjointed life deserves a narration consistent with chaos, uncertainty, and one woman's struggle to make sense of it.
The final and longest chapter of the book constitutes the end of the trilogy. It is called, "The Trauma of Birth," a title associated with Ms. Veltfort's status as granddaughter to Otto Rank, the famed Viennese psychoanalyst and close associate of Freud who posited that reaction to birth is instrumental in the formation of the newborn's personality and in the general human condition. In this chapter, Ms. Veltfort somewhat turns her back to the reader and instead speaks more directly to her son, given up for adoption when the author was 23 years old. Thirty-one years later she discovers the young man living only five blocks from her in the Mission District of San Francisco. What follows is the tale of a reunion so poignant yet free of sentimentality that the reader is forced into contemplating how she or he might have handled this most unusual of circumstances.
This reviewer rates Ms. Veltfort's memoirs a full five stars and strongly suggests that you procure a copy of the book while it remains in its first edition.
HARRY HUGHES, author of THE BAIT SHACK and the soon to be released HORSESHOES.