Bursting the Bubble [Week 5]

Book Reviews, Bursting the Bubble, Toronto Adventures

It’s been a wonderfully busy week, filled with events, mailings, coffee, and picture-taking. Funnily enough, the only thing I can think about while writing this recap is the horizon. The cityscape that comes into view every morning as I merge onto another highway on my way to work. On Wednesday, the sky was a palette of pastels; blue, purple, and pink, separate and then bleeding into each other. The sun was slowly opening its eyes, its arms stretching across the sky. In the distance I saw buildings, all of which became a part of the pastel sky, like chameleons. There was something so terrifyingly calming about this scene. It whispered softly, This is exactly where you’re supposed to be.  


That is what Week 5 if my internship has been about, hitting my stride, finding my place.

I feel most in my element, or most excited when I get to attend events. On Monday evening I attended the Full Count launch as – get this – the photographer/intern. I wonder if I can add that to my resume? Anyhow, the launch was held at Opera Bob’s, a really wicked pub on Ossington and Dundas. The event was filled with hot dogs, peanuts, beer, and some pretty famous names in sports (starting with the author Jeff Blair).  Needless to say, the bf and dad were bursting with jealousy for missing such a great event. Although I’ve yet to read Full Count I was blown away by the amount of support Mr. Jeff Blair received from his friends, co-workers, and complete strangers. It was a FUN event and I really enjoyed playing the role of paparazzi – although I felt bad interrupting people to get a photo or blinding them with my flash.


On Tuesday I joined in on the Random House Retreat Book Club’s online chat with Tanis Rideout about her novel Above All Things. I’ve never been part of a book club and I am really glad I decided to join this one. It’s amazing to discuss and analyze books with other people, it’s even more amazing to chat with the author about their masterpiece. The next book up for discussion is Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay —  LET ME KNOW IF YOU JOIN!

On Wednesday I attended the Drunk Mom launch. It was another lovely event held at Ben McNally Books store. This launch was interesting for two reasons: I wasn’t working the event so I really got to mingle and  I read the book (and really love it!). There were three highlights to the evening:

a) Meeting Grace O’Connell the author of Magnified World, who is super cool and very down to earth

b) Listening to the speeches made by Jowita and her editor – they both have a way with words, as well as, a wonderful presence

c) Meeting Jowita

I had a serious fan-girl moment while waiting in line to get my book signed, all I kept thinking is what do I say? What do I say? What do I say? So, when my turn came I said, “Hi I’m the intern who tweeted you that I was too shy to say hi at the office.”

Yep. I did. I said that. I am THAT cool.

Thankfully, Jowita smiled warmly and actually remembered me! She signed my book, commented on  my review of her book, and posed for a photo with me. It was a wonderful moment. #InternPerks

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 On Friday I woke up a little tired but ready and willing to tackle the day. The sun was shining, the birds were conversing happily,  the lady at Tim’s made me the most delicious cup of coffee, and I had one of mom’s (famous) peanut butter muffins for breakfast — all was going well until I got to Wilson subway station and realized there was no service from there to Eglington.

Hello0000 shuttle bus crammed like a can of sardines with sweaty people!

Hellooooo Mr. Bus Diver! Although I appreciate the ride you, COULD have warned me that I was standing too close to the doors before you opened them — my foot was nearly severed.


I guess I shouldn’t get too upset about all of that nonsense because in the afternoon I got to go with Anne (Publicity Assistant and Awesome Person) and Anthony Marra (Author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena) to a few bookstores so he could sign stock. And then, he signed my copy too! I’ve been reading his novel for a few days and am at the point where I genuinely care about each character and can’t wait to find out what happens next. You can follow Anthony Marra on Twitter and talk to him about his novel (it comes out on TUESDAY).

All in all I had a pretty sweet week. I’m exhausted and not even remotely ready for my trip to Vancouver but who cares? I met some incredible authors, attended some great launches, and learned a few more things about Publicity, Online Marketing, and what it takes to get a book OUT THERE.

It can’t get any sweeter than that…

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…okay… maybe it can 😉

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

P.S. Stay tuned for some “beauty/fashion” posts during my trip to Vancouver, as well as, a trip recap on Chic Darling. Bursting the Bubble will be back after Week 6 of my internship (May 18th).

Drunk Mom [Book Review]

Book Reviews

coverI started Drunk Mom not too long ago and had to put it down. I found it too raw, too brutal, too real? I’m not quite sure. I picked it back up last week and I am really glad I did. It’s a harrowing and detailed account of Jowita Bydlowska’s relapse after three years of sobriety. This relapse happens shortly after the birth of her son. Her story is filled with a lot of downs and many many moments where you’re certain something wonderful is just around the corner. You’re almost certain that by the next chapter she will be sober and eventually she will live happily ever after. There were points in reading this memoir that I literally lost my breath from the sheer shock of someone being able to go through all of this and write about it. And not just write about it but write about it in a way that her life, her world, seeps into your veins and suddenly you’re feeling what she felt, and you just want it to stop.

Her story is brutal but her writing is phenomenal and I would recommend this memoir to anyone. This memoir has the potential to provide the reader with a deep sense of comfort or with an intense sense of awe and admiration for the strength it took to tell her story.

Tonight I will go to sleep with a heavy heart and an open mind.

I didn’t know it at the time but it was too much happiness. Happiness puts you at too much risk — what if you were to lose it? Too much happiness is a paradox. It’s a tragedy, even: getting something you’ve always wanted but being unable to keep it.” (Page 36)

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

SYNOPSIS (From the Random House of Canada Website)

There are many alcoholic mothers. Only one has told her story.

Three years after giving up drink, Jowita Bydlowska found herself throwing back a glass of champagne like it was ginger ale. “It’s a special occasion,” she said to her boyfriend. And indeed it was. It was a party celebrating the birth of their first child. It also marked Jowita’s immediate, full-blown return to alcoholism and all that entails for a new mother who is at first determined to keep her problem a secret.

Her trips to liquor stores are in-and-out missions. Perhaps she’s being paranoid, but she thinks people tend to notice the stroller. Walking home, she stays behind buildings, in alleyways, taking discreet sips from a bottle she’s stored in the diaper bag. She know she’s become a villain: a mother who drinks; a mother who endangers her child. She drinks to forget this. And then the trouble really starts.

Jowita Bydlowska’s memoir of her relapse into addiction is an extraordinary achievement. The writing is raw and immediate. It places you in the moment—saddened, appalled, nerve-wracked, but never able to look away or stop turning the pages. With brutal honesty, Bydlowska takes us through the binges and blackouts, the self-deception and less successful attempts to deceive others, the humiliations and extraordinary risk-taking. She shines a light on the endless hunger of wanting just one more drink, and one more again, while dealing with motherhood, anxiety, depression—and rehab.

Her struggle to regain her sobriety is recorded in the same unsentimental, unsparing, sometimes grimly comic way. But the happy outcome is evidenced by the existence of this brilliant book: she has lived to tell the tale.