Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

Let’s just start by saying I am not a Woman’s Fiction type of reader. I don’t really care for strong female characters and their life-changing stories. I usually read Thrillers, Horror and anything that has to do with death and being scared. But man, this book just melted my heart and I couldn’t get enough of it.

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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

How even in the most brutal situations, the is always hope, and sometimes even a little bit of happiness. What those people went though is awful, and to know that everyone in the world knew about it, but decided to do nothing, just pissed me off. I read many books on WWII, but always from the Russian or American point of view. I never even knew that the Soviets did this to Lithuania. It's just so sad.

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The Christmas Wedding review

A 60+ year old woman gets proposed to three times in one night, in a matter of 10 minutes. Yea right, like that ever happens. I bought this book only because it was by James Patterson, one of the most popular mystery writers out there. I did not like this book at all. I thought that since it was by James Patterson it was gonna have a real big mystery and some twists at the end, but no it didn't. it made you think there was gonna be a surprise ending, I even predicted the most obvious ending and you know what? It was worse. Ok, so I'm gonna try and be fair and explain to you what the book is actually about. Gabby, a mother of four, and let me just get it out there her four are adults, with their own kids, so that puts Gabby at about 60-70 years old. She is a widow, her husband died about three years before and she has just been lonely. So the book starts off with her sending a video message to her kids, really? Do old people do that? Ok so in the video she tells her kids that she is getting married, and the groom is a surprise. Hmmm, why would a grandma keep surprises like that, what for, why the big mystery. That's when I thought that there was going to be some big big mystery revealed at the end. Also the wedding is taking place on Christmas day. So everyone drop your plans, mommy's getting married, on the biggest holiday and you all have to be there. How selfish. Than she sends them a few more videos, in one explaining how she got proposed to three times, on the same night. That is just unbelievable. After Gabby runs in the snow barefoot to follow her teenage grandson, so he doesn't get high, on her wedding day, in her white dress, and then has to wear sneakers, I gave up. I still listened to the audio book, but I completely lost interest. I just wanted it to end, and find out who she marries. And it wasn't that impressive.

I don't know if I would recommend this book to anyone. Maybe people like Gabby, older women or just people who are really really bored and have nothing to do but read boring books. Come on James Patterson, I thought you were better. Now I'm a little hesitant to pick up any of his other books. I've been eying The Honeymoon but now I have my doubts.

ROOM By Emma Donoghue

I bought this book some time ago, at least a couple years, but I never felt the urge to read it. I was hesitant, what could possibly be so interesting about one room. Boy was I wrong. This book really took me by surprise, it scared me, it made me shutter and laugh, it was creepy, sad and a little disturbing. Actually, quite disturbing. I mostly listened to the audio book version I got from the library, and here and there I would pick up the hard copy, and the audio was what made it more creepy, I think. I started to listed to it on one of my runs, after about a chapter I was a little scared to continue. When you hear a 5 year old boy saying "he gets some" in the mornings, I was like WHAT THE HELL IS THIS KIND OF BOOK, WHY AM I READING IT. NO NO NO NO!!  But no it's not what you think, this boy has never seen the world outside the 4 walls that he shares with his mom. All day they play games, watches tv, but only for a little while, he likes Dora and he reads books, he can count and even make himself some food. He starts to tell the story in such a light hearted way, that I got a little confused, wasn't this supposed to be a little scary. He spends days and nights in one 12x12 room and is perfectly happy about it. But you really start to figure out the seriousness of this book when at night Jack is hiding in the wardrobe while Old Nick comes in. Before Jack goes to sleep he counts the squeaks of the bed when Old Nick gets on it. Omg! That is when it hits you. What?! Jacks mom decides that he is old enough to know that the world he sees only on tv is actually real, and that's where she came from, from the Outside. It was really interesting to see how a child who doesn't even know that other people exist would handle finding out that he has a family out there, and that the trees are real and that there is an Outside. He has to learn how to see the world all over again.

I really liked this book, I didn't know if I was going to at first, it creeped me out. Donoghue did a wonderful job going into a child's mind and describing the world as he sees it. Jack is the narrator the whole time, and it might get a little getting used to the writing, because it isn't grammatically correct most of the time. Given that 5 year olds don't speak well. But it is really touching and quite the page turner, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what happens next. It can almost be categorized as a thriller. It really makes you think, there are a lot of people who are kept like this and this just tells their side of the story. It's a beautiful book, that will touch you and make you hug your kids a little more. As well as never let them out of your sight because they will be kidnapped.

Highly recommend it.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

I revived this eboook from NetGalley, thanks. Here is my honest opinion. I have taken notes while reading this book, yet I still don't know how to review it. It was OK. I didn't love it but I did't hate it. The first few pages I read really pulled me in, I was in love, I thought this was going to be one of the best books I read this year, but it isn't. I kept reading, and it was interesting but also disappointing and depressing. I though the Bird family was supposed to be eccentric and fun, but they all turn out sad, depressed and covered tattoos, or in prison.

I wouldn't say I didn't like the characters, but they seem too selfish, all of them, they only think about themselves and how the tragedy, and how their mothers increased hoarding affected them.

The book jumps between current events in 2011 and the past, starting in 1981, that lead up to this family reunion, as well as the different family members, it was a bit confusing who was speaking when and how it all fit together.  They are definitely a dysfunctional family. I found them very hard to relate to, there was way too much going on, hoarding, lesbians, incest, affairs, communes, death, and mental illness. Just when I thought that I was nearing a climax, it would dwindle down again into something strange and not exciting. The ending was a little disappointing, I thought that after all that they had been through there was a shocking reason why Rhys killed himself, but I come to the conclusion that he was just weird. And he killed himself because he was mentally ill. So read and decide for yourself.

It's not a bad book, more geared towards middle aged women, I think. And I'm nowhere near there and maybe that's why I can't relate to marriage, and moms dying as well as siblings, I'm an only child. But if you are interested please pick up this book, it's a quick summer read that will sure motivate you to clean your house more.

Mother Mother by Koren Zailckas

I had just finished reading "Echo in the Bone" by Diana Gabaldon and let's say I had enough, so I decided to not finish the series just yet and move on to something a little more exciting. I requested this free book from Blogging For Books and lets say it was a good thing thy had it available right away. I absolutely loved this book. At first I had my doubts, I felt like there wasn't enough details about the characters, (going from Diana Gabaldon who put wayyy too much detail) and then when there was detail I felt like it wasn't natural, like the author had to force herself to add more depth and character to the family. But as I kept reading the story grew on me, and sooner then I realized I was hooked. I think the writing need a bit more work. But the story is phenomenal. The ending was good, I mean after the big OMG!! moment, we get to see the family till the end and know what happens to them later on. 

We are presented with Josephine, the narsassistic mother, who's main concern is the family image and what people will say. She has many issues, but so does the whole family. The 12 years old son Will is autistic and Violet, 16 is on drugs, while the dad is an alcoholic being accused to cheating. Not to mention that their older daughter has run away from home. So how does this family get any worse, well Violet attacks Will with a knife, and is sent to the psych hospital. From where she is desperately trying to find her sister Rose. The mom seems to be trying to keep the family together, and help Will with his social issues. But all she is doing is driving everyone away from her even more. 

I kept feeling like I was on a roller coaster, at first I thought the mom was nuts, then I thought it was probably a trick ending kind of book so I thought it was the dad, and then Violet and then back to mom. I really kept me on my toes, because I didn't know where the story was going to go next. It's a quick and easy read, great when trying to take a brake from a series.

I will definitely recommend this book to others.

Bellagrand by Paullina Simons

I could easily say that Paullina Simons is one of my favorite authors, she did such an amazing job with The Bronze Horseman that I didn't sleep for days trying to finish all three of the books. And now with the prequels she does it again. I was really excited about this book coming out, I counted down days to its release and Amazon delivering it to my doorstep. I started immediately.

I'm going to assume that if you're reading this book, or considering it, you have read The Bronze Horseman (book one of the series). And so you know how this one ends. But the events that take it to that sad ending are even more depressing. There were many times when I just wanted to throw this book in the fire, and that's because it was so good. Simons is very good when it comes to making the characters feel real, you start caring about them as if they really existed. She gives them life, future, past and the present, we get to know them from every angle. So if you are familiar with Alexanders future you know that there is no way this book will end on a happy note. And even then I found myself hoping that it somehow would. In the House of Liberty we find out how Gina and Harry meet, and how they fall in love. "Oh to be young and in love". But in this book we see them years later, married, and happy? I don't think they are, but they are too blind to see that for themselves. The whole time I wanted to shake Gina (Jane) and tell her that she is being stupid, and to immediately divorce Harry. I don't understand why she would put up with him. She cooks, cleans, takes care of her mom, and works a bunch of jobs. All while her lazy good for nothing husband sits at home and reads about communism. He is in and out of jail for years and still she forgives him. He is her only family left. OMG!! I want to kick him so hard. This was such a good book, and I will remember it forever how it made me feel. Angry. But what it did is really made me feel for the characters, and see how all these things affected Alexander, and how we see him in the other books.

I might have to re-red the other three because now I have a different view on the whole story. Once again Paullina you did such an amazing job I don't know if anyone can top it. I will keep looking foreword to other books and the movie.

The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty

What would you do if you discovered a secret about your husband that would ruin your whole life?
At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be readMy darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died...


Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

I was skeptical about this book, I thought it was a good idea but when I stated to read it took a while to get to the actual secret. I was anxious and I wanted to know what he did. But once the secret was revealed the book took off. It really shows how something that happened decades ago can come back to hunt you, and completely change your life in a matter of seconds. This book was great, not my favorite but it was really good and a fast read. Simple and to the point. It touches on relationships, love, friendship, family, murder, forgiveness and life. It has a little bit of everything while still sticking to the main story. I think anyone can relate to at least one of the characters in the book.
The story follows 3 families, at first the families don't have anything in common, but as the books continues we learn just how much they are all connected. And how each of their actions affects the people around them. Sort of like the movie The Butterfly Effect, everything we do has consequences and sometimes those consequences trigger other actions that affect other people.
While reading the book I pretty much guessed everything that was going to happen, you can say it's predictable, but I still enjoyed reading it. I was actually prompted enough to look up some things about the Berlin Wall. The author uses a nice way to connect a historical event like taking down the Wall with what the characters are going though. Like the Wall that came down and feed the people, so does getting the truth out there and freeing your soul.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

 Series of Unfortunate Events was written by Daniel Handler, also known by his pen name Lemony Snicket. Before I started reading this book I thought it was going to be a fun read, something I could recommend to my child when she is old enough. And I had mixed thoughts about the ending because the description of the book tell you that there is no happy ending. But like I predicted, I liked it.
 
The book starts off with three Baudelaire kids playing on the beach, Violet, Klaus and Sunny when a man (Mr. Poe) comes up to them and tells them that their parents have burned to death in a fire that happened in their home. So now orphaned the children are placed in the care of Mr. Poe and they don't like it much over there but finally a relative becomes available, Count Olaf. Who lived in a very ugly and dirty house, the children have one bed to share and a cardboard box instead of a closet. It is really sad what these children go thought.

The writing style of this author is very "unique". I don't really know how to describe it. It was very easy to read and understand, he makes the story flow quickly, while still trying to teach kids some vocabulary. He writes it like a storyteller. He sometimes talks directly to the reader, explaining what is going on in the story at that moment. Which I don't mind. This is a kids book after all. The book is for children, so the author will use a word and then he actually gives a definition of it, I guess it's a sneaky way to teach children more vocabulary. It's just a different style of telling a story and you either like it or not. For example:
 
The smell of cooking food is often a calming one, and the kitchen grew cozy as the sauce simmered, a culinary term which means “cooked over low heat.”
 
I couldn't personally relate to this story, but being a new mom I just felt so sad for those kids, especially Sunny. I couldn't imagine leaving my baby alone in this world. If I was them, I would try to kill this evil man. But that's a little drastic. Maybe I would run away, I think living on the streets would be much better than his home.
 
I liked this book, it was quick and funny, as well as sad. But than again it is just a book, with some twisted humor. I would recommend this book mostly to kids, but adults too. Just keep in mind it's a children's book, it's not meant to be an award winning novel. 
 

The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall

I really don't know what to make of this book, it wasn't bad by any means, it was super easy to read, and fast paced, usually what I like, but this was a little too good to be true. I know Jim Stovall is a motivational speaker and this book is supposed to teach us how life itself is a gift from God. But it's just a little too cheesy. And too predictable, we know whats going to happen from the first page. Plus the quote on the cover kind of gives it away, well I guess it's not a mystery book so who cares.
 
Uncle Red dies, the whole family gathers at the lawyers office to collect their inheritance, he leaves money for all his family members, except his great nephew Jason. Even from beyond the grave he wants to teach this little punk a lesson on life, because all he's ever done is spend money and not appreciate where it comes from (like the rest of his family, so I don't understand why he only focuses on this kid). So he makes him do certain things each month for a year and then he can receive his Ultimate Gift, which Jason believes, or hopes is a big sum of money. Each month he is supposed to learn something about life, each of those lessons are called gifts. So Jason not realizing what exactly his uncle had in mind, but still thinking of the money, agrees to this little game. He has to meet up with the lawyer and watch a video that his great uncle recorded, then do as he instructs and than report back to the lawyer. Each month. But as you can guess by the end he is a changed person who no longer cares for the material things, but cares about people and life. I don't believe it, you can't change a person that much in one year. This book is too imaginary. It's a story that you would hear from a visiting speaker at your High School. They are good lessons to learn, but I just don't believe in reading fiction to fix your life. If you're trying to be motivational I think you should give examples from real people. 
 
I guess people have liked it and will like it, but it just wasn't for me.  It's short enough though that I don't feel like I wasted my time, and I guess I would recommend it to some since it is a very fast paced book. And I hear there's a movie?

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The story changes perspective in the first 3rd of the book so many times it becomes a bit confusing, and a bit redundant, but in hindsight is really important to the story. The prose writing that McEwan obviously has a great dexterity in is really special. The events are so elaborate, a few times I couldn't wrap my head around them. And the sexual connotations, that Briony's crazy imagination doesn't interpret correctly, play a big part in the story, making me hate her even more. The ending came as a shock, I really didn't see it coming, I had so many different endings in mind, but this totally blew my mind.

The story is centered around three main characters, each one giving us their perspective throughout the book.

Robbie is the son of a gardener and a cleaning lady for the Tallis family, he is a bright young man, always aspiring to be more. Mr. Tallis paid for his education at Cambridge, where he studied along with Cecilia. (And this alone made me jump to conclusions)He is a good-natured guy, helping everyone around him, to the point when his good acts come to be seen as  a crime, according to a childs' imaginative mind. Cecilia, a liberal girl, is the oldest daughter of the Tallises. Her education has separerad her from her family, but for some reason she can't seem to leave home, even while dreaming of moving out.  Something is keeping her there, and just as she realizes what is it, her life is turned upside down. Briony can't seem to understand her, she is messy, unorganized and a smoker. Briony the protagonist, is the most abnormal and clueless character. She loves her family so much that she will go to GREAT lengths to protect them. She consideres herself a writer, having written short stories since she was 7, and constantly having her nose in a thesaurus. Like I said, she has a very imaginative mind, as well as a young one. Being 13, she is right between being a child and an adult,a folly young girl, which lead her to misinterpret events, having no common sense she ruines peoples lives.

I really hated Briony, even if she doesn't know any better. And I wouldn't say this was atonement on Briony's side, more like guilt and a cowardly attempt at an apology. But in her crazy mind she did make it all better, in my mind she just wanted to write another good story. After reading this book I am looking forward to reading other books by McEwan, his elaborate story telling, character development and subtle shifts in events are something special. Overall the book was really great, I loved it, and the movie doesn't stray far from the book. Only little details are changed, and they don't really play a big part in the storyline. I think the actors that play the characters were well chosen. Especially Briony, that girl did a great job playing her character. I would recommend this book frist, and then the movie. It's one of few that actually follow the book really well. 

What Matters Most by Luanne Rice

"What would you choose if you could make one thing right? For Bernadette and Tom, it is a return to their roots in Ireland and a love that broke every rule and could have withstood any consequence—but the one that broke their hearts. 

For James and Kathleen, whose indelible bond was forged in a Dublin orphanage before one was adopted and carried across the sea to America, it is a reunion they’ve dreamed of all their young lives, even if it defies reason. From the Emerald Isle to the Connecticut shore, four lives  are about to come together in a confrontation that will challenge each of them to leave behind the past and all they once thought was important, and to embrace at last what matters most." This book was quite good, I'm not a big fan of Luanne's writing style but the story was good. There is a lot happening, especially toward the end. And there are about 4 climaxes to the story, so you're never bored. Her writing is simple but repetitive, and she keeps mentioning people eyes. We get it, they're blue. And I did at times want to put the book down, or skip to the end and just find out what happens. But I think if you stick with it you might like it. It's not the best book, the characters are ok, but nothing too special, and Bernadette was getting on my nerves. Maybe if you are a big believer in God or signs, you might enjoy it more. I just felt annoyed at times. The story was nice, but the writing not so much. So I'm not sure if I would recommend this book to many people. Especially if you like happy endings. This one doesn't really have one. Sure on some scale everyone in the book deals with their fait. But it's not what you would expect. 

Drums Of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

This is the fourth book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. And while I loved the first three this one dragged throughout most of the first half. Then we get some great action, and then it slowly fizzles out again. I don't know, maybe it's because I don't care for Brianna that much. But her story is just not as compelling as Claires. I felt like she was getting in the way some of the time. The characters pretty much stay the same from the third book, there are a few more, but noting exciting really happens. It didn't keep me glued to the book like the others did. I still read it pretty quickly, but I think that was because I kept hoping something will happen. Also Roger is really bugging me. He's like a fish out of water, just doesn't seem to fit into the story. When I first met Roger I never expected to dislike him that much. Hopefully he redeems himself in the next books.

So the story goes like this. Claire and Jamie end up in the colonies after their adventurous voyage, here they try to start a new life, while Brianna is left in Boston all alone. And while all alone she keeps searching for her parents wanting to find out if they are still alive, if Claire has made it back to Jamie. She ends up stumbling on some information that sends her back to the stone circle, in the effort to try to change history she meets dangers and heartbreaking events that alter her own life forever. Overall the book wasn't bad, I guess you can't put that many events into a persons life before it really becomes fake. And I guess that's what Diana was trying to achieve, just to show us the normal day to day life of Jamie and Claire. Nothing special. Still good though, and I will recommend it if you read the previous ones. 

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

This book was good while I was reading it, then the ending ruined everything. But I won't spill it for you.

The story revolves around Tessa and Valerie, Tessa is a stay at home mom of two children, married to a surgeon. Tessa is a lawyer and a single mom of a six year old boy Charlie. They both live in the same suburb but lead different lives, and have never met. Until a tragic accident causes their lives to join in imaginable ways. Ok so the accident is not sooo tragic. But Charlie is in the hospital for a while with a bad burn.

I don't think I want to say anymore about how the story goes. I guess all I can say is that there's family drama, cheating and gossip. It pretty good, like a quick chick flick movie. I think this book might be more enjoyed by married women witch children. Teenagers might not get it as much.

Secret Life of Bees MOVIE

So I watched the movie "The Secret Life of Bees" and I gotta say it's really good, follows the book really closely. And I found myself feeling kind of sorry for the dad, I know in the book he is represented as this evil person who tortures his daughter, but in the move they kinda made it look different. I sort of understood where all the anger came from, going from being madly in love and then your wife leaves you. And then she dies. And then your daughter leaves you. That's a lot to take in. Well I know some of you might not agree completely with me but that's just my opinion.  Overall the movie is really great, and they picked really great actors too.
Check out the book review here.

The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

This book is a sequal to The Notebook, Wilson is married to Noah and Allies daugher, Noah is a creekside, where he and Alle moved to once her memory started to get worse. Noah is still the same as ever, big romantic with The Leaves of Grass always by his side and a new friend by the pond.

After forgetting his 29th wedding anniversary Wilson is convinced his wife Jane is not in love with him, and with the romance gone from their relationship they seem to have drifted apart, especially since their kids moved out of the house. And with their daughters wedding being planned in just 10 days, he is desperate. Wilson tries to rekindle that fire that has died down over the years. And even with Noah, the romantic, he still has a hard time expressing this true feelings through words. He doesn't know how to tell his wife he loves her. Even though he knows his love has only grown over the years. Now he has to find a way to win her back. This book is exactly what you would expect from Nicholas Sparks, easy to read, romantic, makes you wish you were part of the book, and a great surprise ending. It almost made me cry, and I'm not much of a crier, but I did smile like an idiot, so happy for the ending. I wonder if this will be a movie too.

Mothers & Other Liars by Amy Bourret

At first I couldn't get used to the authors writing style, it seemed to be jumping from one idea to another, and introducing too many characters right at the beginning without giving a good description of who they were. But I did finish it in one day, and did enjoy it. The plot may not be very believable, parts of it seem a bit exaggerated.
This is a story about Ruby, who nine years ago found an abandoned baby at a rest stop, she took the child with her and headed west to start a new life. Now her life is turned upside down when she finds out that Lark, the girl she has been raising as her own wasn't abandoned at all. She faces many obstacles as she fights for what is right, and for her family.
Maybe I'd like it more if part of the book was written from the daughters perspective as well, I fell like I only get a part of the whole story, which really involves both of them equally, and that's why it gets three stars. It was good, didn't pull me in as other books have. It's a good relaxing read, and maybe I'd enjoy it more if I had kids of my own.

 

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks

This book was really great, pulled me in from the start. Nicholas Sparks has done it again, even though I hesitated about reading another one of his novels—they have all have the same style, I still liked it very much. And would recommend it.
 
It follows a story of Denise, a single mother to Kyle, who has limited speech and language understanding, and Taylor McAden, a volunteer fireman, who takes every risk he can, to save lices as well as to fulfill his needs. On the day they meet, she is in a car accident, and while she is unconscious, Kyle goes missing. Taylor and other rescuers go searching for the missing boy. As their lives continue they find each other growing closer, but there's something about Taylor he isn't saying. Keeping himself at a distance.
 
The author does a great job molding each character, and letting the reader experience the lives and emotions of each one. It's a fast and easy read. 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - REVIEW

Compelling and detailed look on the authors childhood memories of poverty and neglect certainly makes you think about life's hardships. 

The Glass Castle is a memoir of Jeannette Walls who along with her siblings survive a harsh and dysfunctional childhood. 

Her parents were dreamers, but lacked the motivation to achieve those dreams. Her father was a genius, he taught them science, math, physics, everything one wants to know. But when he drank there was no stopping him, he was destructive and careless. Her mother was an artist, but never made a sale. She was tired of raising kids and would refuse to provide for them. The children had to take care of themselves, and each other, eventually they made their way to New York where they were able to find success. Their parents followed, but refused help and preferred to be homeless. Describing it as an adventure.

You can't help but sympathize with the children, and get angry at the parents for being so oblivious to their children's needs. 

The authors writing is detailed in way that you can picture yourself there, her memories are truly astounding, and vivid. Describing every member of the family, what they went through, and how they lived.  I loved this bookat times I was surprised at the things the parents would do, even angry, and then I was amazed at how the kids dealt with it. They vere strong and resilient. Even being able to relate on some level to each person. And then I look at my life, and how many things I take for granted, this really opens your eyes. I will never look at a homeless person the same way. I would recommend it to anyone who has children, and a family the most. This story will make you consider all that you have and how much you should be thankful for it.