Skipping Stones

Non-Fiction - Memoir
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 06/18/2020
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Author Biography

Melissa Blaeser is a writer, full-time mom, and retired from Corporate America. For over twenty years, Melissa skillfully performed what felt like a "corporate steeplechase," working in advertising, the dot-coms, and finally software consulting. Life these days consists of a thirteen-year marriage to her husband Jeff, and a full tag-team effort raising their ten-year-old son, who is a Minecraft and Parkour enthusiast. Maintaining balance and space for her personal growth continues to be the underpinning tenant to her happiness. Melissa is a life coach. She continues to practice yoga, meditate, and swear like a sailor. Melissa and her family live just north of Boston.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Skipping Stones: A Memoir by MJ Blaeser is the book you want to read to boost your emotional immunity and psychological stamina. It's about a woman who finds strength and resilience within herself to take care of the curveballs life has thrown her way. Just when she thinks she has herself and her life all figured out, she's thrown into a tropical storm of family illness, fear, doubt, and confusion. And she overcomes it all. Some women cave in stressful times, while others grow. Some don't know what they will do in a situation until they're in it. Just as there are stages in the grieving process, there are stages to returning to the living process

Even though this book is a memoir, Blaeser writes it like a piece of compelling fiction--an emotionally absorbing movie played out in the mind of the reading audience. Some memoirs, though well-meaning, can come across as cloying, but this one flexes a little muscle, and that's what Melissa needs to manage what's going on in her life. Perhaps a little muscle is what YOU need right now in your life too, and this book will show you how it's done. Besides the engrossing story itself, you'll find attention to detail, some humor amidst the heartache, and a great turn of phrase. You get the feeling you aren't just reading someone's life story in journal form--you're relating to the characters in a personal way. These are people in your neighborhood, maybe your family or circle of friends. Take Melissa's lessons and apply them to your own situations, and you'll find yourself overcoming in a way that could surprise you. Skipping Stones by MJ Blaeser is the perfect book to read if you need to find the hero within yourself to become a hero for someone else.

K.C. Finn

Skipping Stones is a work of non-fiction written in the style of a memoir by author M. J. Blaeser. Containing some brief instances of explicit language usage, this memoir is intended for adult audiences and features themes such as personal confidence, coping with illnesses and special needs of others, and rising up with new self-esteem amid the challenges which life throws at us. Melissa expresses her difficulties and the journey towards newfound strength, one which is catalyzed when her husband Jeff is diagnosed with colon cancer. What follows is an honest account of keeping it together through intense struggle, and how Melissa re-emerged from the fires of the forges on the other side of such trials.

Author M. J. Blaeser has crafted a highly emotive, dramatic and inspiring memoir for readers who want to experience the struggles of others, but also learn how to overcome and find new strength. Like Melissa, the protagonist in the true-life story, Blaeser takes us back into her past with a well-penned narrative that lives through every moment in real time rather than looking back or taking us out of the perspective. It is this sense of narrative urgency that keeps us grounded in the raw and honest expressions of emotion, rooting for Melissa to pull through some very dire circumstances indeed. What results is a truly inspiring narrative that readers can take heart from, and overall I would highly recommend Skipping Stones to memoir fans from all walks of life.

Lucinda E Clarke

MJ Blaeser’s autobiographical account as told in Skipping Stones describes her early years as an adopted child, a difficult relationship with her mother, but she is close friends to her brother Gabe. Later she meets and marries Jeff, a calm, quiet, yet private man from a family background of love, affection, and kindness. Life throws them a curveball when their son Wyatt is diagnosed as autistic at the age of two. Further trauma appears when it’s discovered that Jeff has colon cancer, and hovers on the brink. Throughout this time, Melissa struggles to cope with motherhood to a special needs child, carer to a seriously ill partner, and losing focus at her full-time job. She is also trying to juggle overseeing their new house being built while coping with a pre-schooler in a small apartment. She strives for perfection but can’t find it despite numerous attempts through yoga, meditation, friendship groups, and further study at college.

Skipping Stones by MJ Blaeser is a woman’s desperate attempt to live the perfect life. It’s what society suggests we should all experience and deserve in the modern-day western world. But life is not like that and too often we are found wanting and comparing ourselves to others who seem to ‘have it all altogether’. MJ battles to cope with her inner feelings, refusing to ask for help, trying to make others happy, and sacrificing herself to make this all happen. Despite an amazing support system, no financial worries, and several breaks away, often overseas, she is dissatisfied. One moment she wants control, the next she wishes Jeff would sit in the driving seat. The author takes us deep into her world of terror, her experiences, her failings, her memories of early abuse, and her inability to relate to many of the people she meets. She finally finds the answer at a four-day workshop which changes her pattern of thinking and sets her on the right road for the future.