Cover Image: Sandwiched

Sandwiched

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Member Reviews

In this personal memoir, Laurie James tells us her personal experience of finding herself sandwiched between caring for her aging parents while also caring for her own children and trying to salvage her marriage. This is a period of life that is not written about extensively but is extremely challenging to navigate. As we follow her story, Laurie also takes us back in time to her childhood, being one of three children her parents adopted, and her tumultuous relationships with multiple family members. 

The writing style is a bit tedious. She shares many riveting stories about her childhood and struggles juggling all of her responsibilities, but she also includes the minutiae of the day-to-day, trivial details that don't add much to the narrative and could have been omitted. The story got too laborious for me to finish.
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I really wanted to love this book as the subject matter touches me personally.

Having said that, I found the writing was kind of monotonous and I just felt completely uninterested in the subject matter or the people in the book.
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I found this book a very interesting read, not least because of my (and my sisters)  experience of the health system in the UK in terms of our elderly mothers' treatment, in contrast to the authors' US experience.
I related to her in terms of elderly parent and teenage children and marriage challenges, although her lifestyle of numerous luxury holidays, retreats and costly lengthy therapy not so much!
Interesting and insightful, although at times her lifestyle and privilege made relating to her life  difficult.
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I am a big fan of memoir and enjoy reading about other people's lives. And I did enjoy some aspects of this story. I thought that James wrote poignantly about adoption issues and about the abuse she suffered as a young girl and a teenager. This situation is one that needs to be talked about more to allow young people to come forward when they encounter this type of abuse. I also enjoyed reading about her children and the many ways that she was there for her children as well as her parents, as they aged in place. 
However, I thought that James was clueless about how most of America lives. Whenever she brought up a crisis for her mom, who was in failing health for several years, the first thing she mentioned was how this was going to affect her (the author's) life. There was the time when a health crisis interfered with a week long ski vacation James as taking with her children in their second home. And then another crisis interfered with a ski trip to Canada for James' 50th birthday where she was going to go heli-skiing. And the time her parents' health care issues almost interfered with her planned two-week trip to Australia. On top of all these fabulous vacations, there was the thousands of dollars James was spending on yoga retreat weekends, energy classes, week long therapy sessions and other types of therapy and intervention. For most Americans, this type of vacation is a once in a lifetime occurrence, or frankly, it just is not in the picture. 
Honestly, I do not begrudge James any of her expensive pursuits, but I think she would be wise to acknowledge that these are problems that most of us do not face.. When there is a health crisis for a family member, we cannot afford to pay for round-the clock caregivers, we may have to rearrange work schedules, not vacation schedules and therapy weekends are out of our price range. 
This lack of awareness on James' part made this book difficult to read. I cannot recommend it.
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Thank you @netgalley and @shewritespress for the advanced copy to read and review.

Sandwiched is Laurie James’s memoir. It revolves around her life experiences, starting when she was a child:  adopted, sexually abused, and treated poorly by her brothers. The story continues on to take the reader through her life: marriage, children, caring for aging parents, family relationships, and finally self-discovery.

Synopsis

I found Sandwiched to be well written and interesting, yet at times I wish I would have known the views of the other family members she writes about. There is more than one side to every story, but this is Laurie’s view as it is her memoir.

My Thoughts

If nothing else, Sandwiched stresses the importance of self-care and seeking help to deal with life’s issues. I am not a monster fan of the type of week-long intensive therapy this couple was involved in. It is hard for me to understand how holding a doll and talking to it, pretending it is yourself as a child, can help an adult. I guess letting out the emotion revolving around childhood trauma can be helpful. I’ve never been one who felt that any of the team-building activities or other such events I had to experience for work were helpful. I haven’t walked in anyone else’s shoes though, so I wouldn’t fully understand the situation and what does or doesn’t help a person. Laurie does a fantastic job of explaining her life and her choices to get to the point she is at today.
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wasn't sure what to expect with this from the blurb, but I started it on Friday on my lunch hour at work, and devoured the rest of it Saturday afternoon. I'm honestly not sure exactly what it was that drew me in so much, but I loved Laurie's writing, her honesty about her marriage, dealing with her childhood demons (real and imagined), caring for aging parents and the struggles around that whilst at the same time still raising her own children, all without the full participation of her husband. Her sense of relief at digging deep within herself and finally making the difficult decision to leave her marriage and strike out on her own was palpable at the end.

You are the only person who can make the changes you need, and change is never easy. Especially difficult for moms, who always put the needs of their family before their own, but so important.
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"I made excuses for his behavior and walked lightly when he was home." From Sandwhiched

3 stars.

warnings: sexual assault of a minor, end of life care, elder abuse

Simple prose jumps around detailing events in the authors life, mainly focused on a struggling marraige and decline of her parents. It started out alright, but midway it started to drag repeating the same story. It was maddening that she kept hiring horrible people to watch her parents, and similiarly taking her husbands disinterest in her. There were several times she would hire someone, and seemingly hope for the best (I think before one skiing trip she literally says that) before leaving on another trip. All the detailing of trips and energy classes and yoga while all these serious problems are happening made me really disconected from the story and left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe this would be useful for someone facing some of these challenges on a guide for what not to do.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a temporary ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Sandwiched is an honest memoir and as someone that lives in a society where taking care of your parent's is a necessity and expected of you i found this book so relatable. It's interesting to have topics noone talks about accounted for. I honestly found this book refreshing to read. 
Thank you Ms.James for this book and Netgalley for allowing me read this amazing book
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I didn’t have any prior knowledge as to who Laurie James was or what her story was about so I entered this blind, 

Laurie’s writing is so descriptive that nothing is left to chance, you don’t have to figure out what it is she’s talking about because you can picture everyone and everything and this helps put you right in the centre of everything. 

I don’t have any children of my own but I do have 7 children under the age of 10 in my family so I do have a moderate understanding of how difficult and tiresome it can be to raise children as well as run a household and hold down a marriage. Laurie doesn’t over-egg motherhood, it’s all written with such realism from the heart, no matter how difficult her experience might have been.

My experience of caregivers and hospices in the UK are completely different to Laurie’s experience in the US, but at the crux of it, we all want the best people to look after our most important relatives. I can’t imagine the stress Laurie had to balance with the deterioration of her mother, deterioration of her home life, and her childhood experiences still standing in the shadows,

I know each relationship has its ups and downs and each relationship has two sides and this is Laurie’s story, but I felt an instant warmth to her but an instant distance from David. Maybe there’s an unconscious bias here considering the book is coming from Laurie’s hand, but that’s my impression,

I mainly loved her way of writing about therapy. Therapy and counselling can be a very decisive topic and is obviously very intense and emotional. I have been in therapy on and off for 15 years and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Laurie shows the ugliness of therapy but shows just what can come from it for the better.
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Sandwiched is an honest memoir of what it's like to be an aging child. And by aging child, I mean an adult stuck in the middle, or in the sandwhich of life. Your parents are getting older and so you have to take care of them and your children are getting older, but you still have to take care of them!

 The book is written in a really relaxed style that allows you to get to know Laurie James. It felt like a conversation. I enjoyed her journey. There were times I wanted to yell at her to change her decision, but I appreciated her frakness. I especially connected with her journey becuase I am dealing with my own mother who has Parkinson's. It is a roller coaster battle with my dad as the primary caregiver. I am an only child, and I can't imagine what hurdles will lie ahead, knowing how hard it has been so far. I don't have children of my own, but I could still empathize with James in that aspect as I know how much a job can pull one in the opposite direction. I think her descriptions of her therapy sessions with her husband were what made me appreciate her the most. I think all of can understand an aging parent and the conflicts that arise, but not everyone is brave enough to expose a failing marriage and show what is not working. I applaud her for that!
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As society has children later in life, we're increasingly becoming part of the 'Sandwich Generation' with many people looking after their parents and children at the same. In this particular memoir, Laurie was doing it all and unhappy within the juggle. This book was heart felt and emotional and reflects on being responsible for everyone, getting it all done, and trying to make everyone happy. 

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A memoir written from the heart, finding you have everything you ever wanted but so unhappy. How to come to terms with this and make peace with your past and move on. A lifetime of dilemma and subservience yet can’t just walk away, there are other people to consider. This is one woman’s journey to finding herself. A lifetime in a book, but never too late to live your best life. Thank you #NetGalley for the copy to review.
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I could see myself in Laurie at times when she did things to please her husband or did things when she was so tired, but she finds the strength to continue doing it.  She took care of her husband, children, home, work, she was the one responsible for just about everything.  When her parents got sick, and she had to start taking care of them too, it is overwhelming. The day does come when she has to face reality, the reality of what is actually happening and not the reality of what she had been trying to force happen.  The day she moves herself up on the priority list and instead of taking care of everyone else and worrying about them, she starts to take care of herself.  As she learns about herself, begins to heal from the things that happened in the past, and begins to understand things, she begins to truly begin a new journey to be happy.  
As I read the book, I knew what she was talking about, but it is something we don't learn until we are older, and i kept thinking how different life would be if we did that at the beginning of our adult life.  This is a memoir of holding on and letting go, so maybe women reading this will begin the letting go of the expectations women have put on them  a lot earlier in their life after reading it. 
I received an ARC from She Writes Press through NetGalley, and it is a book I am going to recommend.
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Interesting book. Hard to read of others struggles,but it sure makes you think. 

Thanks to author, publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
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