Tag Archives: literature

Book Review: “I Love You, Ronnie”

Well – my friend Haley (who recommended this week’s book) takes the trophy for best recommendation so far in this book challenge! This week, to kick off the “Month of Romance” theme for February, we picked up I Love You, Ronnie, by Nancy Reagan.

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This book was nothing short of breathtaking.

I Love You, Ronnie is a collection of letters from Ronald Reagan (yes, the former US president) to his wife, sewn together with lovely commentary from his wife Nancy, which gives readers a more in depth look at the famous man, behind the scenes. She takes letters her husband had written to her – from various movie sets, from the road campaigning, from the White House, and beyond – and uses them to tell the story of their love, and their life together.

Who knew Ronald Reagan was such a romantic?! His words were absolutely beautiful, and give a great insight into how Ronald Reagan was away from the camera. This book was the perfect way to start the “Month of Romance” reading, because it tells a true, honest, inspiring love story! The more I read, the more I fell in love with “Ronnie and Nancy Poo Pants.” Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these two.

Here’s a little snippet of one of my favorite letters (to be honest, it was REALLY HARD to choose one), so you can better understand what I mean by “romantic:”

However there is one golden glow warming my soul in this first sunset – I’m twenty-four hours closer to you. Last night was another one of those nights – just too beautiful to stand. So tonight I’ll probably be looking at the Moon which means I’ll be looking at you – literally and figuratively because it lays far to the South of the mountain top and that’s where you are. That takes care of the “literal” part – the “figurative” part requires no direction, I just see you in all the beauty there is because in you I’ve found all the beauty in my life.

Seriously… who wouldn’t want to get a letter like that?

The most amazing part of this story was realizing that I wasn’t reading a work of fiction. Unlike other great romances dreamed up in the mind of one author, this one was real, and the copies of handwritten letters are there to prove it. Ronald Reagan is like a knight in shining armor, or perhaps a bard singing about an epic love – yet the epic love is his own. I mean, these two were really, head-over-heals in love for their entire marriage! It’s inspiring to see a relationship be so successful for so long, despite the multiple hardships they faced. I felt a connect with Nancy talking about how hard it was to spend so much time away from her husband while he was off filming movies or campaigning – as a military wife, I spend months away from my husband (he is actually two states away as we speak, and will be there until March 31, close enough to come home on the weekends). I loved being able to see that, despite their multiple and frequent separations, they were able to make their love last. I have to say, I cried a bit at the end, when Nancy discusses facing Ronald’s Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis, and her realizing that “Alzheimer’s is a truly long, long good-bye.” It crushed my heart to think of that goodbye – not taken by death or old age or even an accident, but for their lives to slowly dissolve… it’s too much to bear!

In the Prologue to this lovely piece of biographical literature, Nancy suggests that current generations of lovers need to get back to the basics of writing letters and expressing our love for one another through words that will last beyond our lifetimes. In the age of phones, email, social media, and texting, we are more connected than ever, but we are also missing out on the joys of seeing our lover’s handwriting, of the excitement that goes with receiving a letter in the mail, of the elation of seeing “I love you” in print, and being able to read it over and over and over again. I am making a point of following her advice and following in her dear Ronnie’s footsteps by writing out handwritten letters for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, and major holidays. I hope you can be inspired to do the same.

This one is a must read. I am not normally a fan of biographical literature, and I generally steer clear of anything that can have anything to do with politics, but with a recommendation calling the book’s main character “the most romantic man ever,” how could I resist?! I am so happy I picked this one up (thank you, again, Haley!!)! It was such a refreshing story, and left me filled with such wonderful feelings. I will happily pass this one on to whoever is interested in a good – TRUE – love story! I can honestly say that Ronald Reagan is my favorite “leading man” in any book we’ve read this year (and that’s saying a lot, because most of them have been imagined by romantic minds).

Well, how about you? Did you read I Love You, Ronnie? What were your thoughts and reactions? Are you head-over-heals for Ronald Reagan? Were you surprised to learn how romantic he was? Share your feelings about this book with me!

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Throwback Friday?

Whoops… forgot my Throwback Thursday post for the second week in a row… I wanted to keep up with the Vintage Slang posts, but I’ll make an effort to continue with that next week (and from then on).

More important than Vintage Slang…..

On this date in 1851, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is first published as The Whale by Richard Bentley of London.

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Even if you don’t read the book – read the opening to the book! It is one of the greatest first lines in any book (but you really should read this book). This is a great book to recommend to that teenage boy in your life (or the “man boy” as I like to refer to the man in my life) who doesn’t like to read… the book oozes masculinity, and might help open their eyes to the joys of reading (especially classic literature, which is often forgotten by teenage/man boys.

To quote Dr. Peter Suski, my high school English teacher: “Fellow literature geeks will understand this: I have favorites that go beyond favorite books, favorite authors, favorite genres, etc. In novels, I have such things as favorite conversations, favorite motifs, favorite settings, etc. The opening of “Moby Dick” is #1 in two categories: Favorite Paragraph in a Novel, and Favorite Opening of a Story Line in a Novel.”

Happy Birthday, Ishmael!

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On this day in history…

On this day in 1849, Edgar Allan Poe died in a Baltimore hospital at the age of 40. Poe is one of my favorite authors, and I find it absolutely fitting to celebrate his life (and death) as part of our Halloween theme for October.

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Poe is the master of dark stories, and has been captivating audiences for over 150 years. The master of mystery and macabre, Poe’s stories have shocked and horrified us, as well as touched our hearts and minds. Poe has played a huge part in my life! Reading his poetry and short stories in my American Literature class in high school encouraged me to pursue my love for literature in getting my degree in English. My second child (who is 3 now) was named after my favorite poem by Poe, “Anabel Lee” (except we spell her name Annabelle Leigh). Poe played an influential part in the Romantic Movement here in America, and is recognized as one of the greatest American writers.

Today I ask you to honor Poe’s life by reading one of his short stories or poems. I’d recommend either “The Raven,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” or “The Cask of Amontillado.” These works will help get you into the Halloween mood, and allow us to celebrate Poe’s life (and death) in the way that would make him happiest.

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