COMMENTARY | Has it really been 25 years? Time does fly when you are having fun. Many people will be sad when “The Oprah Winfrey Show” airs its final original show Wednesday, as reported by www.Oprahfinale.com. This historical event has me thinking about how Oprah has touched my life and perhaps even influenced different choices that I have made, especially in what I chose to read.
I have to then ask myself what will happen to the Oprah Book Club after she is gone. Will she still continue to make recommendations, perhaps via her website? I can feel a sense of sadness at not having the opportunity to hear from her what she believes would be good summer reading. In fact, had it not been for her suggestions, I never would have read several of the books I have read; most especially “White Oleander,” “We Were The Mulvaneys,” and “The Deep End of The Ocean.”
“White Oleander”is a story about a teenager who is forced to grow up way too soon after her mother is sent to prison for a crime of passion. This story was written by Janet Fitch and was published in 1999. Fitch wrote this story so vividly that I could actually see the events unfolding in my mind’s eye. This is a very sad and very emotional journey that you go on with Astrid, the teenager who learned to live and build a life outside of her mother’s world.
I could not put this book down and I think all mothers and daughters, especially mothers with teenage daughters, should read this book.
“We Were The Mulvaneys”is another emotional roller coaster ride that you are taken on by the writer through the tragedy and destruction of one influential upper middle class family. We meet them in the beginning of the book and even wonder if any families were actually this corny in the mid-1970s. They become much more real to us as the family starts to fall apart after the beloved female teenage member of the family is sexually assaulted and cast away like last week’s garbage.
This book had me thinking about my own experience as a teenager in the mid-’70s in my own middle class family in New York. This is a must read for anybody who grew up in that era or in New York.
“The Deep End of the Ocean” touched me in ways that a lot of books never do. This is the story of how the middle child of the family is snatched away from a family and the next 10 long years that ensue and how the family coped or didn’t cope during that time. I found myself wrapped up in the irony of how your own kidnapped child can turn up nearly 10 years later, knocking on your door wanting to cut your grass. I felt the older brother’s pain and guilt that he felt about letting go of his little brother’s hand nearly 10 years before, which resulted in his abduction.
I simply would not have known about these three books if it were not for Oprah’s book club. Oprah had a way with showing how interesting and compelling a book was and that excitement made me want to read the book. I will miss that and I will miss her recommendations.