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Review: I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag

March 17, 2015

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag

Jennifer Gilbert was brutally attacked when she went to visit friends in New York in 1991.  Her attacker meant to kill her but Jennifer fought back and managed to survive.  As she recovered, she found people’s reactions odd – not only did they not want to talk about what she’d been through, they tried to put a positive spin on it by saying things like, “At least he didn’t get your face,” or “God only gives you what you can handle.”

Determined not to let the attack define her, Jennifer decided the best way to get past it was to stay busy and stay busy she did.  She got a job as an events coordinator and started a very successful company of her own.  Dealing with other people’s crises helped her put her own out of her mind.  In the end, though, it wasn’t enough and Jennifer learned she had to face it head on, once again proving just how strong she is.

My friend Julie read I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert almost three years ago.  She loved it and recommended it to me – even sending me her copy.  (You can read Julie’s review here.)  I have to admit something about the title made the book sound frivolous to me so, even with Julie’s recommendation, I wasn’t anxious to pick it up.  I should have known better.

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag is a wonderful memoir by a very strong woman.  Gilbert’s story had the potential of being a horrible tragedy but she’s a spitfire and wasn’t about to let that happen.  Mind you, it wasn’t easy but she spent very little time dwelling on the negative and decided to go after what she wanted.  Rather than being sorrowful, I found the book uplifting and I greatly admire Gilbert after reading her story.  I do want to note, though, that the details of the attack were very difficult to read.  If you enjoy memoirs, you won’t want to miss I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag.

My friend Julie sent me this book.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


25 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2015 4:09 am

    I love memoirs. This sounds really good.

  2. March 17, 2015 5:52 am

    I read it a few years ago and found it inspirational.

  3. March 17, 2015 6:19 am

    It sounds great, except that I don’t know that I could take it, with the attack and all!

  4. Diane (@bookchickdi) permalink
    March 17, 2015 7:42 am

    I remember reading this a few years ago, and the description of the attack and the aftermath was so vivid and awful. Gilbert is a very good writer.

  5. March 17, 2015 8:13 am

    I think I remember reading about this book some time ago. I don’t read many memoirs, but you’ve convinced me to take a look. Thanks for the thoughts!

  6. Beth F permalink
    March 17, 2015 8:14 am

    I remember reading this one when it came out. It was so much better than I thought it’d be.

  7. March 17, 2015 8:42 am

    The title does make it sound trivial, but this might be a tough one for me to read.

  8. March 17, 2015 8:55 am

    I like the sound of this one.. the cover makes me hungry 🙂

  9. March 17, 2015 9:30 am

    It’s amazing how many outstanding memoirs there are. I’ve read a couple from authors who turned out to be RBC authors. And they were truly excellent memoirs – Mother, Daughter, Me, by Katie Hafner, and Free Spirit: growing up on the road and off the grid, by Joshua Safran. I’m sure there hundreds/thousands more.

  10. March 17, 2015 12:10 pm

    This does sound like an engrossing read. And not what I expected it was about from the title! Thanks for putting this one on my radar.

  11. March 17, 2015 12:29 pm

    Sounds like such a great read that I went and kindled it. It was $1.99 so I couldn’t not get it.

  12. March 17, 2015 1:11 pm

    I can’t believe they’d use a title like that for a memoir like this but I guess if they told you up front what it was all about a lot of people wouldn’t pick it up. I have a really hard time reading about violence against women. I get very angry and even an inspirational story, such as this one, would still leave me very angry that she had to go through it at all. Probably not for me.

  13. Literary Feline permalink
    March 17, 2015 2:25 pm

    I can see your reluctance to read this memoir based on the title, Kathy. It doesn’t really seem to fit, does it. This sounds like an amazing story of courage and strength though.

  14. March 17, 2015 5:02 pm

    If people said that to me *shakes head*

  15. March 17, 2015 5:46 pm

    This sounds like it would be a difficult yet compelling book to read. Excellent, sensitive review, Kathy!

  16. Ryan permalink
    March 17, 2015 5:47 pm

    I think I would really like this book. As a side not, I can’t stand when people try to make me feel better about something horrible by saying stupid stuff like that.

  17. Patty permalink
    March 17, 2015 8:35 pm

    Sounds intensely good…it’s hard to read books…even ones highly recommended…until you are really ready for them!

  18. March 18, 2015 1:12 am

    This sounds like a good read – and I love the title.

  19. March 18, 2015 11:13 am

    Yes, that title would put me off as something frivolous. Glad this was more.

  20. March 18, 2015 12:17 pm

    The title is interesting especially considering the story. It does sound engrossing. I’m going to hop over and read Julie’s review. Thanks for the great review Kathy.

  21. March 18, 2015 2:08 pm

    I’m not great about reading non-fiction, but this book sounds interesting. I love inspiring stories of strong character. Thanks for sharing.

  22. March 18, 2015 9:03 pm

    I like a good memoir. I like like stories when someone overcomes great odds. I’m going to look for this one.

  23. March 19, 2015 5:39 pm

    I don’t read memoirs often, but this sounds like a good one! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  24. March 19, 2015 9:39 pm

    Not sure I could take it. Too much of a softie.

  25. bookingmama permalink
    March 24, 2015 8:40 pm

    I’m so glad you got around to reading this one. It was tough read at times but worth it!

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