Basements & Blossoms

A Few Recollections of the Ugliness That Made My Life Beautiful

Non-Fiction - Memoir
184 Pages
Reviewed on 06/06/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Basements & Blossoms: A Few Recollections of the Ugliness That Made My Life Beautiful by Lana Reid is a memoir and self-help guide both rolled into one amazing book. The author takes the reader on a journey in which she shares her life story with them and shows them how life can be a little tough, but still beautiful. From sharing anecdotes about how her mother used to say useful yet random things at odd times to sharing how the life of a woman (and black) can be challenged at every given opportunity, the author gives a hard yet honest look at real life. Being black and bold is not a good combination in some people’s book, but Lana’s mother gave her golden advice and she uses that to her advantage. Throughout the book, the author shares some fun times, some bad times, scary times, and sad times.

The fact that Lana Reid is a professional speaker is very much evident in the book. Lana shares her story in a systematic way that allows the reader to get a glimpse into her life without feeling like an intruder. She invites readers into her life and once they are inside her mind, they will not want to leave. I enjoyed how she gave us a preamble and then jumped into what she wanted to tell readers. The first person narrative makes you feel like talking to a friend. Lana makes it a personal and private conversation between two confidants. I have to admit, I had to stop reading at some points because the absolutely horrible (and sometimes terrifying) things that happened to the author were too much for me. How she lived through it all and had the courage to share her story with readers is amazing. This is an inspiring book; it proves to be a fitting read at the moment when all of us are looking for some hope and inspiration. I hope I can be as positive as Lana is. I also hope this book gives courage to many women and men to take the steps to be happy as well.

K.C. Finn

Basements & Blossoms: A Few Recollections of the Ugliness That Made My Life Beautiful is a work of non-fiction in the autobiography and memoir sub-genres and was penned by author Lana Reid. As we all face multiple challenges in life and deal with them in different ways, this highly relatable work focuses on the particular struggles and triumphs of the author. Lana Reid recounts personal stories that have taught her pivotal lessons about strength, fortitude, and determination in the face of adversity, and what results is an empowering account that will aid others in their journey of self-discovery, and finding out what they’re made of.

Lana Reid writes with a clarity of thought and an inspirational sense of self-realization that is sure to inspire all who read her work. The interpersonal style of the memoir is combined with expert storytelling and narrative skills worthy of a novel, which envelops readers in the different scenes and makes the lessons which we learn all the more impactful. The reflections on childhood was a particularly interesting sub-section for me, especially in learning about the hardships of other people’s experiences but being able to take universal messages of strength from them. The organization of the book takes you through twelve central chapters that progress with intrigue and deeper emotional resonance as you read on, plus extra sections which compound on previous ideas. Overall, Basements & Blossoms is a truly well-crafted memoir with plenty of heart and much to teach others.

Tammy Ruggles

Basements and Blossoms: A Few Recollections of the Ugliness That Made My Life Beautiful by Lana Reid is a memoir you can't forget. The author tells her story in a personal narrative that is sure to capture the attention of any reader who has struggled with adversity and loss, and has overcome it, or seeks to. She begins by describing how stressful it was being a black child, and what it was like being raised by black parents, positive or negative. The book encourages you to think about topics like race in a way that you may not have before. People say books are here to open your mind, and this is one of those books.

One aspect of Reid's book that stands out to me is how she uses entertainment examples to explain a point, like the movie Ray, which teaches you how to make the most of the life that's been handed to you. For those who have seen the movie, the example will be easy to understand and relate to. Her references to flowers like the lotus are informative and poignant, especially the details about how they grow, the roots, and the similarities between the flowers and herself, or flowers and people in general: Her lesson: Flowers need to be tended, and so do people. Basements and Blossoms by Lana Reid has messages of resilience, hope, and strength running through its pages, and, like her, you too will most likely be nourished by her words and recollections.