Linda Sullivan recommends heartbreakers

Susan EspirituOur Town Readers

Heartbreaking novels of challenge, defeat and triumph are our Book Whisperer’s recommendations this week, so have the box of tissues ready.

The first recommendation by Linda Sullivan is to listen to the audio version of Viola Davis, an autobiography by Viola Davis, an American actor and producer.

Davis is one of the few performers to have been awarded an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, plus the only African- American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting (Emmy, Oscar, Tony).

Linda says, “Viola Davis’s journey from abused child living in rat-infested apartments in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to becoming an Oscar-winner is eye opening, heartbreaking and inspiring.

“I thought about The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and Educated by Tara Westover while listening to Viola Davis narrate her own story. It’s almost unbelievable that a person survives certain situations.”

Linda’s second recommendation, The Forgotten Girls, moves us from Viola Davis’s urban streets of Rhode Island, to the tiny, isolated streets in the rural Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where author Monica Potts tells the story of her life with best friend, Darci, where one gets out and one does not.

Linda tells us, “I cried at times, and after reading the last paragraph, my chest felt tight and my throat had that clogged feeling one gets when you’re trying to hold back tears.

“Potts returns to her hometown of Clinton, Arkansas, to tell the story of how she left her small town but why her best friend, and many others like her, cannot. This is a story of friendship and heartbreak.

“The central question: Why is the life expectancy of America’s least educated white women shrinking? Researchers blame the deaths on ‘diseases of despair’: suicide, drunken driving, overdoses. Potts adds unemployment, sexism and evangelicalism to the list.

“Potts uses research as well as her own experiences to make her case. It’s enlightening and familiar, especially to me, a woman who grew up in a small Southern town.”

Remember: Knox County Online Library to search for Linda’s recommendations each week.

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