Friday, November 20, 2015

THIS LIFE I'VE LOVED by author Isobel Field

When is the last time you read a memoir, or any book, that made you feel good inside, excited you to action, and entertained you to laughter and tears? THIS LIFE I’VE LOVED created all these emotions in me. 

Isobel Field lived a life we all dream about while we run our daily errands and cook our meals. Born in Indianapolis, Isobel began her travels at the age of four, mostly with her mother. She experienced the gold rush days and the old west in America, became a dancer, an artist, a craftsman. Her life in the theater alone makes a fascinating story.
 
 
This was before she relocated to Honolulu and became well-acquainted with King David Kalakaua, the Merry Monarch. The king asked her to design the royal crest of Hawai‘i, as well as the official Hawaiian flag. She complied. 

Isobel moved to Australia at the request of her mother and stepfather, who then established residency for the entire family in Samoa. Her writing of all these events of her life is honest, straightforward, colorful, and most of all personal. I felt included in the many parties, theater rehearsals, and hectic Paris studio activities. I was pleased with her arrival in Belgium, home of my paternal ancestors, and how she spoke of the country’s great painters and hospitable citizens. 

Of Isobel, Irwin S. Cobb says: "Although much of Isobel Field's autobiography is concerned with her stepfather, Robert Louis Stevenson, it is Isobel's own unique story and her vibrant personality that will captivate the reader. Belle was a wonderful storyteller and a writer of great wit and acuity. She was with her mother, Fanny (Frances Van de Grift Osbourne), when they met Stevenson in Grez in 1876. . . 

“A great woman . . . who has lived as picturesque and colorful and useful life as anyone I know." 

 

Next up for review is:
 

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje

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