Sunday, April 19, 2015

When the Shoe Fits

When the Shoe Fits by Mary T. Wagner
Waterhorse Press LLC: 6/19/2014
eBook ASIN: B00M39X7WE, 245 pages
Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 9780615991740

When a hard fall from a tall horse landed Mary T. Wagner-then a freelance writer and a soccer mom with four young children-in a body cast for three months with a broken back, she didn't take it as a sign to ease back on the throttle. Instead, she changed careers, went to law school, took a job as a criminal prosecutor, and bought her first pair of spike heels. And THEN she started writing again.
More than a dozen national and regional writing awards later, Wagner has compiled this "best of" collection of her inspiring and empowering essays from her first three books, and added a few more for good measure....
In essays ranging widely from "Turbo Dating-the Year in Review" to "Riding Pillion," "The Limoncello Diaries" and "Angels in the Snow," Wagner's signature writing style combines humor, insight, and grace under pressure. Whether reflecting on subjects as diverse as motherhood, the view from the back of a Harley, the impending loss of a parent or the therapeutic effects of a post-divorce bonfire, Wagner's inspiring and empowering essays resonate with universal experiences of love, life and reinvention. A must-read for any woman who's asked herself "is there at least one more dream I can reach for?"... and then answered "YES!!"
My Thoughts:

When the Shoe Fits by Mary T. Wagner is a highly recommended collection of 38 essays that range from the author's love of drop-dead gorgeous stilettos to buying her first chain saw. Wagner manages to bring together in these essays the wide range of experiences, optimism, evolutions, loves, and emotions that, let's say a "maturing" woman will relate to and appreciate. She does indeed capture and share a slice of her life with humor and wit in When the Shoe Fits.

There were a few personal connections with Wagner that made these essays interesting and fun to read. My interest was sparked immediately when Wagner admitted that she now thinks about shoes - a lot. I too went for years when my children were young not thinking about shoes beyond utility and comfort. Now I admittedly have (too) many cute shoes (although I do avoid heels with my lifestyle).  I continued to bond with her further when she admitted, "I have trust issues. I will be the first to admit that I am a control freak. And I play by the rules, virtually all of the time." Goodness, it was as if I was being quoted.

I loved the story about buying her first chain saw: "You can look at it finally abandoning the last of the feminine 'rescue' fantasies. Or maybe it was just a dose of latent pioneer spirit finally coming to the surface. Though Davy Crockett never had one of these. (Of course, Davy Crockett never had a pair of leopard-print stilettos in his closet either. Or so we hope.) Either way, I bought a chain saw."

Some of the essays described experiences that were foreign enough to me that
they left me shaking my head. For example admitting that she  "...waited all of four days after the ink was dry on the divorce decree before I signed up to try on-line dating" was simply an idea that, even though she made her experiences humorous, I couldn't reconcile with someone who had any measure of common sense.

Her "The Limoncello Diaries",  "a tragic story of a bottle of lemon liqueur," was enchanting, and the piece about her father, "Ales Klar" was quite touching: "Then I kiss him on the cheek and tell him 'alles klar.' Roughly translated, it means 'everything’s fine.'" The Gatorade story was heart breaking and hopeful.

There are a wide range of topics discussed in Wagner's When the Shoe Fits but it must be noted that the essays will likely be enjoyed more by a specific target audience: women, likely over forty with older/adult children and divorced after a long marriage.  The book includes a discussion guide.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of the author for review purposes.

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