Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, May 3, 2010

Memoir Monday... The Bag Lady Papers by Alexandra Penney

Having to Lose it All to Find Herself

I've had my radar on this book for a while. It's a book about survival. It's a book about finding out what you're made of when something happens. In Alexandra Penney's case what happened was financial ruin after investing all of her savings with Bernice Madoff. This is her story.

The Bag Lady Papers by Alexandra Penney was published by Voice earlier this year, this is how they describe it...

How do you pick yourself up after the one thing you most feared happens to you? Alexandra Penney’s revealing, spirited, and ultimately redemptive true story shows us how.

Throughout her life, Alexandra Penney’s worst fear was of becoming a bag lady. Even as she worked several jobs while raising a son as a single mother, wrote a bestselling advice book, and became editor in chief of Self magazine, she was haunted by the image of herself alone, bankrupt, and living on the street. She even went to therapy in an attempt to alleviate the worry that all she had worked for could crumble.

And then, one day, that’s exactly what happened.

Penney had taken a friend’s advice and invested nearly everything she had ever earned—all of her savings—with Bernie Madoff. One day she was successful and wealthy; the next she had almost nothing. Suddenly, at an age when many Americans retire, Penney saw her worst nightmares coming true. Based on her popular blog posts on The Daily Beast, this memoir chronicles Penney’s struggle to cope with the devastating financial and emotional fallout of being cheated out of her life savings and illuminates her journey back to sanity, solvency, and security.

“I will work harder than I ever have before—which was pretty hard indeed—and see what happens. I have the feeling something good will come of it: tough, challenging work and laserlike focus have always paid off for me. . . . Was it better to have it and then lose it? Yes, yes, yes! Even though I lived with horrible bag lady fears of losing it all, now that those financial fears have materialized, I’m in pretty good shape and looking to what’s next. Experiences—good and bad, exciting and boring, tragic and absurd—make up a life. Not to have lived to the fullest is the saddest, most irresponsible life I can think of.”

. . . from The Bag Lady Paper


Mason Canyon said...

WOW, for her to worry about losing everything all that time and then to really lose it. Sounds like a intriguing read and the cover is very eye catching.

Thoughts in Progress

Tea said...

I bet this is an inspiring book, good review. I love the cover, don't you?

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Mason Canyon,
Yes, it was like a self fulfilling prophecy. I wonder if Alexandra Penney's life would have been happier not worrying so much about being penniless. And I wonder if she thought about that at all.... And yes, I really love the cover! It's just so creative!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Tea!
I think the book should be inspirin, especially the was Alexandra Penney perseveres! Amazing though how successful she was but still worried about having nothing.

And I just love the cover too!

Aisle B said...

Playing in the market is a gamble regardless who you entrust your money to. I agree the cover is fun with the pink & paper bag dressing.

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