Review: When Life Throws You Lemons, Make Cranberry Juice, by Shari Bookstaff

When Life Throws You Lemons...
When Life Throws You Lemons…Make Cranberry Juice
Shari Bookstaff
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Product Description (from
When my kids were learning to walk, I remember walking behind them, ready to catch them if they stumbled backward. I never dreamed that thirteen years later my kids would be walking behind me, ready to catch me if I stumble backward. I was 42 years old when I was diagnosed with a benign, operable brain tumor in July 2006. Doctors predicted a short hospital stay followed by a speedy recovery. Complications arose, giving me lifelong obstacles that I never could have prepared for. A divorced mother of two beautiful, talented, wonderful children, I had high hopes for a bright and happy future. I tried online dating, which got me a few cups of coffee, but no real dates. A couple of dating disasters later, my dating karma was beginning to change when my brain tumor was diagnosed. My life since that fateful day has been focused on regaining basic human functions: breathing, swallowing, walking, etc. I am working again, and trying to be a good mother to my two beautiful, talented, wonderful children. Putting a positive spin on life’s disasters doesn’t always work, but looking for, and accepting, positive things in spite of life’s disasters works. Instead of making lemonade out of lemons, I add life’s sweet sugar and cranberries to my lemons. This makes life much more palatable.

First I have to say that the title When Life Throws Lemons…Make Cranberry Juice, is perfect. It completely conveys author Bookstaff’s feisty attitude. She’s been through a hellish experience and is still dealing with it, but she’s retained her sense of humor, and that’s admirable.

What I really loved about Bookstaff’s book was that she’s really candid. She talks about how her brain tumor affected her life, her work, her family and while she isn’t bringing us into the bathroom with her, we still get a really good picture of her life, with situations that probably everyone with any kind of disability foes through – friends not knowing how to act, or merely drifting away, having to re-learn to do some of the things most of us don’t even think about, and having to be a support system for her children while needing support herself.

While I enjoyed Bookstaff’s voice in this book, however, there were times when the structure felt a little uneven, as if she’d taken us from point A to point R and then we were backtracking to point C and heading for point W, before getting to the end.

That aside, however, I found this book to be entertaining, educational, and enlightening.

Also, it made me want cranberry juice, with lime.

Goes well with a tall glass of cranberry juice and a slice of lemon pound cake.