Memoir: October 2007 Archives

'Fair is foul, and foul is fair'

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Anyone who's ever dreamed of growing up in a castle will be happy to learn that it's all it's cracked up to be, and more. (The "more" would be the not-so-pleasant parts.)

Author Liza Campbell grew up in Scotland, more specifically, in Cawdor Castle. She is the second of five children born to the 25th Thane of Cawdor and the last child to actually be born in the famed castle.

Campbell's beautifully written memoir, A Charmed Life: Growing Up in Macbeth's Castle (St. Martin's, 323 pages, $24.95), details the ups and downs of such a legacy...

A Charmed Life

Check, please!

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Anyone who's ever waited tables will love Phoebe Damrosch's memoir, Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Watier (William Morrow, 228 pages, $22.95). Anyone who dines out a lot will love it, too.

Service Included

Damrosch set out to be a writer, but like a lot of struggling artists found herself working at a restaurant to pay the bills. Having never done any restaurant work before, she started as a busboy in a little place in Brooklyn that ran on a shoestring.

"I was the only busboy not named Mohammed," she writes. "Here, as in many restaurants around the city, any deviation from the distinct class/race hierarchy makes everyone uneasy. In most New York restaurants, the chef is Caucasian, the waiters are starving artists, the busboys are from Bangladesh, and the kitchen workers and dishwashers are from Latin America...

Grandma goes to war

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Just as the news of U.S. military personnel mistreating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib filtered into the United States, Lt. Col. Deanna Germain, a 53-year-old grandmother and Army reservist from Minnesota, was sent to the prison when her yearlong tour of duty was extended.

Germain details her experience at Abu Ghraib, as well as her tour in Kuwait just prior, in Reaching Past the Wire: A Nurse at Abu Ghraib (Borealis Books, 211 pages, $24.95), written with Connie Lounsbury. It was the idea of a grandmother going to war that drew me to the book...

Reaching Past the Wire