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Reviewed by Fiona Ingram for Readers' Favorite
Truth is most definitely stranger than fiction in this unusual, heartwarming, yet at, times, heartbreaking autobiography. Tragi-comedy best describes the year in the life of a thirty-something actress who takes the enormous step of changing her life to discover who she is and what she wants by training to become a stunt-woman.
Life deals Colleen a harsh blow when, not only does she part from her lesbian partner of eight years, but her younger sister commits suicide. A move from the frenzied urban sprawl of Los Angeles to the tranquil desert of Albuquerque does not improve her spirits, but it does allow her to continue her acting career ... at a small-time western theme park. The descriptions of her slow and painful transition from clumsy klutz to stunt-woman are documented in comical detail. Hailing from a seriously dysfunctional family, and carrying quite a few of her own obsessions as baggage, Colleen finds herself amidst a bunch of wildly eccentric, equally dysfunctional characters at the theme park that become a strange kind of family to her. While learning to make bombs, twirl guns, fall from a two-story building, and kick a man in the groin, Colleen manages to survive the rockiest and most emotional year of her life.
This journey of self-discovery is punctuated by many lows and, gradually, as many highs as Colleen begins to accept and finally love herself and her co-workers. It’s a journey of self-realization that is, at times, arduous and physically painful, yet punctuated with moments of joy and happiness.
The author has an inimitable style that arouses laughter easily in the reader. A dry wit and quirky sense of humor capture the flavor of Colleen’s small-time wannabe co-workers. Told in a slightly self-deprecating tone, the story draws the reader in from the very first page. The author deftly intersperses snippets about the people she encounters, keeping the reader intrigued and eager to have more. It’s a gentle, moving, sometimes uproariously funny read that will have you turning pages in complete enjoyment.