Friday, December 31, 2010

Saving Graces: A testament to a mother's grief and a woman's strength

Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and StrangersMy rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When Elizabeth Edwards died in November and I heard an excerpt from this book about her growing-up life in Japan, I knew I had to read it.

Edwards begins her first memoir with the discovery of the fateful lump, which was breast cancer, a few days before the 2004 general election. Then she goes back to the beginning and describes her life growing up as a Navy brat, moving around the world but often based in Japan. I enjoyed reading the description of her early life, growing up with her sister and brother in a close-knit military community (she acknowledges that not all military childhoods were as rosy as hers). Her parents taught her to become an extremely principled, compassionate woman who was deeply concerned about others.

She describes reading the famous essay in Ms. magazine, "A Housewife's Moment of Truth," in which Jane O'Reilly describes the "clicks" women have as they discover they are feminists. Edwards felt moved to action when she heard a boy in her university dormitory say about the killings at Kent State: "They probably deserved it." She said, "He would do nothing to protest, and if I did nothing, I would--for all of history--be just like him..." That was the click that inspired her to get involved in politics and begin expressing her opinions, after so many years of having to stifle herself because of being a child of a Navy officer.

The two best chunks of the book concerned her son's death at the tender age of 16 and how she grieved this awful loss, and her experiencing the first of what would come to be many of her cancer treatments. A reviewer (who also had lost a child) criticized Edwards because she had the time and the money to fully grieve Wade--by setting up foundations (and a computer center at his high school), traveling to accept awards on his behalf, visiting the cemetery constantly, and spending countless hours on the internet grief support boards. This kind of criticism is heartless. Yes, Edwards did have the luxury to pour herself into her grief, but who could fault a mother for doing so?

She talks about the difficulty of going to a grocery store and passing Wade's favorite foods, and I recall a friend whose husband had died way too early...she told me that going to the grocery store without her husband was one of the most painful experiences she had to bear. Wade's death deeply damaged her life and soul, and the hope of being with Wade again was one small glimmer for her to look forward to in dying.

She quoted Edna St. Vincent Millay on how she felt about Wade's death: "I am not resigned to shutting away of loving hearts in cold ground...Down, down, down to the darkness of the grave, gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned."

She faced breast cancer with courage, honesty, and conviction. She received an overwhelming outpouring of support from not only her family and friends, but people across the country and the world. Most cancer patients, of course, do not have this level of support.

Edwards bared her soul in sharing about her grief and cancer and the solace she received from others. The only flaw to this book were the chapters about the political campaigns, much of which seemed like a recitation of (pointless-to-me) names and campaign events. I scanned over much of this and only read the parts that interested me, about the more familiar names or events in the campaign...or the stories about everyday people who touched her. Hence, the three stars.

My favorite story in the book was one of the quietest ones. When the plane of one of her father's squadron mates crashed into the Sea of Japan, Edwards' family immediately took in his widow and 2-year-old daughter, April. April was young enough to not fully understand the pain in her own home and relished in the excitement and energy of Edwards' family. One night April requested to say grace.
"The table got quiet. Everyone folded their hands. April, with a resoluteness she would need in life, took over. She had never said grace before. It was quiet a bit too long, and my brother squirmed. Finally it came. One word.


April unfolded her hands and picked up her fork.

We all opened our eyes over our folded hands and looked to my mother for guidance. Mother gave the unmistakable signal that we were to treat April's version as a real blessing. Because, of course, it was."
Elizabeth Edwards lived her life with grace up to the end.

Reading this book made me ever more disgusted with the betrayal of John Edwards, whom she loved and cherished. They had been through so much together, with the death of a child, IVF and late parenthood, the breast cancer, and all the campaigning. And watching the interviews with Rielle Hunter, it just baffles the mind how he could give up Elizabeth for someone so narcissistic and shallow. I hope he feels regret for the way he treated her all his life. That will be his legacy, not exactly what he hoped for.

This is one of the last interviews I could find. She spoke about the necessity of living her own life and not just being thought of as "the cuckolded wife." The saddest thing is that she didn't have very much time to live that life.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...(or books!)

I gave my sister a box of some of my favorite books for Christmas.

Nadine is a busy physician and mom of three active school-aged boys. She rarely has time to read anything beyond her medical journals.

When we were growing up, we both had our noses in books. (I remember a 6-week-long cross-country trip we took with our the days before DVD players!...and we read the entire trip, while my brother just looked out the window.)

Recently she began reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with her sons, and she remarked to me how much she was enjoying it. She said that it made her realize how much she'd missed reading, so she started reading Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. I've never read Pillars of the Earth, but apparently it's one of my mom's favorite books (which is why my sister was reading it). However, it's 983 pages long (depending on the edition)! I gently suggested that as she tried to get back into reading, she might want to try something a bit shorter and more satisfying than a dense, 983-page book! So I decided to help her along.

I came up with a selection of some of my favorites. They are nearly all by and about women, and many of them about sisters or very close friends (probably why they are my favorites!). This is what she got:

My Sister's Keeper: A NovelMy Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult: "Gotta love that Jodi Picoult! Another gut-wrenching read that makes you think about what's important to you...and also surprises you at the end. It made me want to spend some quality time with my sister!"

The Glory Cloak: A Novel of Louisa May Alcott and Clara BartonThe Glory Cloak by Patricia O'Brien: "I discovered this book because a woman I interviewed for a job in Honolulu brought the book to the interview (to read while she was waiting). I asked her about it, and she recommended it. Then we ended up not hiring her--and she sent me the book with a thank you card--sign of a true book lover. I loved this book! Delicious historical fiction loosely based on the lives of Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton. A beautiful story of women's friendship in the time of war and trials."

The Girls: A NovelThe Girls by Lori Lansens: "Memorable, bittersweet, and beautiful story of a set of conjoined twins. It was a wonderful depiction of sisterhood."

My Year of MeatsMy Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki: "My new favorite writer! excellent parallel stories of a Japanese-American film maker and a Japanese housewife; explores Japan's fascination with all things American."

Women of the Silk: A NovelWomen of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama: "Beautiful story about silk workers in China. After recently hearing Tsukiyama speak in person, I decided to go back and read her novels in order. This is an excellent first novel, about the lives of women in China working in the silk trade. I loved it! Excellent story of women's friendship."

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House Reader's Circle) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Burrows: "If you enjoy reading letters (the most important criterion, in my mind) and stories about friendship, books, and love winning out over class and creed, you will enjoy The Guernsey Literay and Potato Pie Peel Society." Click the link for a more detailed full review.

Jewel (Oprah's Book Club)Jewel by Bret Lott: I read this before I started writing book reviews...but I remember liking this story of a woman in 1940s Mississippi who gives birth to a child with Down's Syndrome, Brenda Kay, and refuses the suggestions to institutionalize her. I guess Bret Lott is a man, so this is one exception to the all-female authors!

The Memory Keeper's Daughter: A NovelThe Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards: "Very sad, well-written book about a man who makes a split-second bad decision that affects his whole family for a lifetime."

If you were giving a box of books to a returning reader, what would you choose?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bad Marie: My alterego?

Bad Marie: A Novel (P.S.)My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I had to read this book, if for no other reason than the great title. It's a classic example of a book with an unlikable main character who ends up to be almost (but not quite) sympathetic.

As the book opens, Marie is getting drunk at work, while taking care of a 2-1/2-year-old, Caitlin. She falls asleep in the bathtub with Caitlin, and the parents come home to discover her passed out, naked, in the tub. Caitlin's mother Ellen is Marie's so-called "friend," who hires her even though she has just served 6 years in jail for protecting her bank robber boyfriend. Ellen happens to be married to Benoit Doniel, the French author of Virginie at Sea, the book that was Ellen's lifeline while she was in prison.

Ellen is more than a bit naive, as she gives Marie a 1-week notice and tells her to keep her paws off her husband, even though Marie has a history of sleeping with Ellen's boyfriends. Of course, Marie initiates an affair with Benoit Doniel, as she idealizes him as a literary hero, and they end up running off to Paris, Caitlin in tow.

On the airplane to Paris and in the city itself, Marie is disillusioned to discover that Benoit is even more amoral and directionless than she is (and also without a franc to his name). Throughout it all, she is ever steadfast and committed to Caitlin, the one constant she seems to love and cherish.

Marie says what she thinks and does what she feels like, with no regard for the consequences. She's not really "bad," but possesses very little conscience. She truly does not believe there is anything wrong with taking what belongs to others, although when confronted with Benoit's dishonesty and lack of morals, she finds fault with the same weaknesses.

Dermansky is a French film fanatic, and she apparently styled this book after characters in French films. Perhaps I would have loved this book more if I were a French film fanatic myself. As it was, it was a great read for my day sick in bed!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cockeyed: A memoir of a young man going blind

Cockeyed: A MemoirMy rating: 3 out of 5 stars

As a teenager, Ryan Knighton was labeled as a klutz because of his various scrapes and near-misses, especially driving a car and driving a forklift. At the age of 18, Knighton received a devastating diagnosis: he was going blind, and nothing could be done about it. He fought against his condition, refusing to accept the sad facts. Even though he was ill equipped, he left his home and went off to college, and embarked on his first serious relationship: with a young deaf woman. Communication between them was stunted, at best. He describes one awful moment when they are in New Orleans and she becomes disgusted with him, and she abandons him in a restaurant. There he was, in a strange city, completely dependent on his angry girlfriend and with no way to return to their hotel. Fortunately, she hadn't completely abandoned him and helped him find his way back to the hotel, albeit walking a ways off to punish him.

Not to be deterred by his deteriorating eyesight, he went off to teach in Korea with his new girlfriend, Tracy, but he had to hide his blindness from his Korean employers. (They claimed that blindness did not exist in Korea. That reminded me of living in Japan, where I was often told "we have no alcoholics in Japan.") He found himself relying too much on others to get around in the hopes of maintaining the illusion that he was not blind. This dependence caused problems in his relationship with Tracy, too, and when they returned to Canada, Tracy decided she needed to take a break from him for awhile.

Ultimately, love and Tracy's strength won out, and they ended up getting married. Knighton now teaches English at Capilano College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He still has a bit of sight left, but not much. One of the chapters I enjoyed was about his brief visit to "Blind Camp," where Knighton found himself hanging out with a wide variety of eccentric blind people. He ended up escaping two days earlier because he couldn't stand it any more.

Another poignant chapter was about Knighton's brother's suicide. I wanted to know more about Rory and his upbringing. Before this chapter, Rory got only a mention in the early chapters.

Knighton could have delved a bit deeper in certain areas, and much of this book was stream of consciousness. I found myself scanning some chapters, such as the visit to IKEA to buy a couch. How did he and Tracy rebuild their relationship after falling apart in Korea? How on earth did he and the deaf woman communicate with each other? How did his parents deal with his condition?

Clearly, Knighton has struggled with his blindness, as any young man would. It should remind readers of the need to not take our sight for granted. Knighton was a victim of a bad roll of the dice.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree: Farming in the Badlands

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree: A NovelMy Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Rachel DuPree cooks for a Chicago boardinghouse that serves African-American slaughterhouse workers in the early 1900s. She meets the snobby landlady's son and decides that he's her ticket out of Chicago. Isaac has ambitious plans to homestead in the Badlands in South Dakota. They strike a deal: she can give Isaac her 160 acres of land and he'll marry her.

Several years and several children later, Rachel is in a staid, lonely marriage and hating the drought-ridden, dusty and windy Badlands, which have caused her the death of three of her children. They are the only African-American family around for miles. Her husband is not averse to lowering one of their terrified children all the way down into the bottom of the well so she can retrieve a few buckets of water for the family's needs. Between Isaac's ambition for more land and the devastation the drought wreaked on their farm, Isaac announces that he is going to go work in a mine all winter and leave Rachel with all of the children to fend for herself and hold down the farm. He refuses to listen to any protests.

Rachel struggles to decide what she must do--continue to exist in a loveless marriage, in which she has virtually no say in critical decisions--or return to a Chicago filled with race riots and the companionship of her family. Weisgarber skillfully portrays the dusty miserable drought of the Badlands, the lack of choices and freedom as an African-American woman, and life on a remote farm as the only adult.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wishin' and Hopin': A Wally Lamb Christmas story

Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story (Hardcover)My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Until I read the disappointing Holidays on Ice, I had rarely read Christmas-themed adults' books. I decided to try a more uplifting choice. Wishin' and Hopin' is a good, old-fashioned, and light-hearted story about growing up in a small town in the 1960s.

Felix Funicello (distant cousin of Annette), fifth grader at St. Aloysius Gonzaga parochial school, doesn't quite get his best friend's dirty jokes and still ends up in his parents bedroom when he has nightmares. His sisters torment him, and his schoolmate nemesis, Rosalie Twerski, is obnoxious and arrogant. Life is fairly predictable until his school gains two new arrivals: Quebecian substitute teacher Madame Frechette, who shakes up the nuns with her daring ideas, and a new entertaining, salty Russian classmate, Zhenya Kabakova.

Wishin' and Hopin' is full of hilarious scenarios (at the school Christmas performance, the Pillsbury Bakeoff, and a live children's TV show), 60s Americana, and family love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Best Books of 2010

As is my typical end-of-year tradition, I've created a list of the best books I read in 2010. Generally, these are the ones that received 3 stars and above.

1.  The Crying Tree, Naseem Rakha
3. The Favorites, Mary Yukari Waters
5. Windfalls, Jean Hegland
6. The Day the Falls Stood Still, Cathy Marie Buchanan
7. A Disobedient Girl, Ru Freeman
8. Before Women Had Wings, Connie May Fowler
9. The Color of Lightning, Paulette Jiles
10. The Millennium Trilogy (Girl with Dragon Tattoo, Played with Fire, Kicked the Hornet’s Nest), Stieg Larsson
11. In the Convent of Little Flowers, Indu Sundaresan
12. Vancouver, David Cruise and Alison Griffiths
13. Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
14. When You Least Expect It, Whitney Gaskell
15. Secret Daughter, Shilpi Somaya Gowda
16. Push, Sapphire
17. Midori by Moonlight, Wendy Tokunaga
18. The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler
19. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
20. Queen of Dreams, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
21. Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia
22. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
23. Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin
24. The More You Ignore Me, Jo Brand
25. Small Wars, Sadie Jones
26. Broken Glass Park, Alina Bronsky
27. Supermarket, Satoshi Azuchi
28. The Palace Tiger, Barbara Cleverly

1. This Lovely Life, Vicki Forman
2. Bad Mother, Ayelet Waldman
3. Open: An Autobiography, Andre Agassi
4. Stitches, David Small
5. Dating Jesus, Susan Campbell
6. Living Oprah, Robyn Okrant
7. Cowboy & Wills: A Love Story, Monica Holloway
8. Tattoos on the Heart, Gregory Boyle
10. Pink Brain, Blue Brain, Lise Elliot
11. Siesta Lane, Amy Minato
13. Menu for the Future, Northwest Earth Institute
14. The Other Wes Moore, Wes Moore
15. In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan
16. Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, Ute Ranke-Heinemann
17. Kabul Beauty School, Deborah Rodriguez
20. Rethinking Thin, Gina Kolata

And here are the recommendations from the rest of the family:

Mike’s Mentionables of 2010
1. Duma Key, Stephen King. My first experience with the master of horror.
2. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. Best young adult novel.
3. Without Fail, Lee Child. Best thriller.
4. Jesus Freak, Sara Miles. Best religious book.
5. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery. Best book about French snobs.
6. Dune, Frank Herbert. Read it to see how to create a world.
7. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card. Dystopian before dystopian became ‘in.’
8. Love, Aubrey, Suzanne LaFleur. Most touching children’s book I read this year.
9. I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President, Josh Lieb.
Most hilarious children’s book I read this year.

Kieran enjoyed the Boys Against the Girls series, the Lemony Snicket series, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and the A to Z Mysteries. Nicholas loves Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs and Christmas books, among many others. Chris’ favorites were Cricket Man; Point Blank; #6, #7, and #8 of the 39 Clues series; Eat My Globe; and George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom.

Growing Up Laughing: Growing up with Marlo

Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of FunnyMy rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I'm giving this four stars not based on the quality of the writing per se, but because of how much I enjoyed it. Having just finished David Sedaris' Holidays on Ice, I realized that my humor preferences are much more upbeat than cynical and negative.

This is not a straightforward memoir. Thomas intersperses recollections of her growing up with interviews of famous comedians, in which she asked them how they grew up to be funny. Most of the comedians she interviewed--Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams--are my favorites. Many of the chapters start with classic jokes, and the book is chock-full of wonderful photos.

I grew up on Marlo Thomas...I was a "Free to Be You and Me" kid. I cried when I read the chapter about why she decided to create "Free to Be You and Me" (because she was looking for a book for her niece, Dionne, and she couldn't find anything that validated and encouraged girls' choices and independence). I memorized the sketches, and my sister saved up all her money so she could buy a copy of the record for her second-grade (and my third-grade) teacher, Mr. Sposito. "Free to Be You and Me" was like a lifeline for us little girls in the 1970s.

She wrote about how she became a the daughter of a conservative Republican Catholic. But even though Danny Thomas was traditional and conservative (Presidents Reagan and Ford spoke at his funeral), it was clear that he had the utmost faith in his daughter's abilities. He even embraced her liberal husband Phil Donohue, and he loved each member of his family passionately.

When Thomas married Donohue, he was raising four sons on his own, so she was seriously outnumbered. All of the males would constantly ask her where things were, including Phil: "Where are my shoes?" She wrote:
"What is it about men? They think we women have a radar attached to our uterus. And the thing that killed me was that I knew where they were. I knew where Phil's shoes were. I knew where all four boys' shoes were...I was beginning to understand why there hadn't been a female Shakespeare or Mozart. There wasn't room in their heads for symphonies and sonnets--their brains were cluttered with where everyone's shoes were."
The only sad thing about Thomas' life is her plastic surgery. In her younger days, she was a truly beautiful woman. Now her face has been changed by plastic surgery, and she's lightened her hair to light brown. Yes, she looks great for 73, but she doesn't look like herself any more.

Back to the book--some have criticized it for being too upbeat and "happy family," perhaps looking for more of a Sedaris tome. But her life has been happy. Clearly she is one of those people who exudes positive energy, and she draws that kind of positive energy to her. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish, but perhaps that reflects my own sentimental history with her work and my overall attitude about life.

Marlo Thomas seems to truly live this quote by Whoopi Goldberg in her book: "We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark."

Check out this little video clip of Marlo and Phil visiting Ellen DeGeneres' show.

If you're interested in following Marlo Thomas' current activities, check out her great web site. She features jokes of the day, interesting conversations with women, and other articles. I follow her activities on Facebook. I've checked out Season 1 of "That Girl" from the library and can't wait to dig in!

Holidays on Ice: Disappointing

Holidays on Ice: StoriesMy Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Holidays on Ice was my first exposure to David Sedaris. A friend gave this book to me a few years ago; she rated it five stars on Goodreads. I suggested it as our kick-off book for our brand-new book group, not knowing that I would not end up liking the book much myself!

"The Santaland Diaries," the first story in the collection, has been expanded into a hilarious one-man play. We first saw it at Portland Center Stage years ago and will see it again this coming Sunday. It details Sedaris' experience working as an elf in Macy's Santaland. I enjoyed the essay, although it's even better as a play. (This is why I gave the book two stars--because of this one funny piece!)

However, then it goes downhill rapidly. The rest of the essays are a mishmash of items:

"Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!" is an over-the-top parody of a holiday letter, in which the family matriarch recounts her family's travails over the previous year. She discovered that her husband had fathered a child in Vietnam, who suddenly shows up on their doorstep--she is, presumably, a prostitute or at the very least, a seductress who tries to put the make on her own father and stepbrother. The matriarch's drug addict daughter gives birth, and she ends up taking care of the baby. One day she leaves the baby in the young Vietnamese woman's care, and tragedy ensues, for which the the matriarch is going to be prosecuted. Suffice it to say that I find nothing about dead babies amusing.

In "Dinah the Christmas Whore," Sedaris recalls the Christmas in which he helped his sister rescue a prostitute from her abusive boyfriend and bring her back home to their family. I don't find prostitution or violence against women to be humorous, either.

"Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol" was completely unmemorable.

In "Based on a True Story," an obnoxious movie producer takes over the pulpit at a small-town church, trying to convince the occupants to let him film a movie in their town. Sedaris was trying way too hard. Blech.

"Christmas Means Giving" parodied neighbors' desire to outdo one another, escalating into completely unreal and ridiculous scenarios.

I love fine parody. I adore Jon Stewart. I liked Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal." I liked the movie "Delicatessen." I can do dark humor. But this first introduction to David Sedaris makes me wonder if I'm one of the few who does not care for him. I will try one more book of his before I make my final conclusion. Maybe his memoirs are better.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Get Real: What Kind of World Are You Buying?

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

When I picked this up at the library, I didn't realize it was geared toward teenagers. But it's worth a read for adults too. Get Real consists of tips for shopping with your conscience. The back of the book says "Can you really change the world with your wallet?"

Author Mara Rockliff includes chapters on the excessive consumption of the developed world; the power of advertising; the dark side of cheap clothing, especially cotton; what's really in fast food (and meat); the toxic components of cell phones and other high-tech toys; what's happening with genetically modified and pesticide-laden foods; the importance and power of buying local; the evils of mass-produced and -farmed chocolate; opportunities for recycling and reuse; and how to look out for green washed products. The book is full of web sites, article citations, and other information about how to take action.

I was aware of some of the information, but I learned many new things. Here's one small example: apparently TerraCycle will "upcycle" used Clif bar wrappers into backpacks. I eat Clif bars regularly, and I have always thrown away the wrappers.

I can see how some people might view Rockliff as hitting the reader over the head with some of this information. She is passionate about pushing teens (and everyone) to use their money wisely to live out their beliefs and save the planet (and our health).

The other day I went to one of my favorite kaiten-sushi restaurants near my office with some coworkers. We were surprised when the bill came, because they were offering a special of $1.50 per plate of sushi. Although we were delighted at the unexpectedly lower price, I found myself wondering where they get their fish and how they can offer it so cheaply. I find myself pondering this question a lot more lately.

The book has pages and pages of resources at the back, but here are a few I took special note of:

Movies or TV specials:
The Merchants of Cool (about advertising to the youth culture)--a PBS Frontline special
China Blue (about young people working in Chinese sweat shops)
Wal-Mart: TheHigh Cost of Low PriceMcLibel: The Story of Two People Who Wouldn't Say McSorry
King Corn
Black Gold (about the real price of coffee)

Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know
So Yesterday (about fads)
Feed (a cyberpunk novel about a future that might not be far away)
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm (about a future Africa, where mutant kids mine toxic dumps for plastic)
What the World Eats (25 families around the world and what they eat)

Web sites: (cell phone recycling) (this organization gives you free trade chocolate to pass out in lieu of trick or treating) (sign up to be a cocoa farmer's kid's pen pal) (United Students for Fair Trade) (for a free credit card or money pouch that asks you several questions about consumption)