Immediate and extended. Paula Gruben #Umbilicus 

​TODAY I AM GRATEFUL FOR:

1. My health. And all the doctors and nurses who have kept this old sack of skin, blood, and bones going the past 42 years.

2. My husband. My partner in crime since 1994.

3. My child. Best thing that ever happened to me. Period.

5. My family. Biological and adoptive. Immediate and extended. You are all precious to me.

6. My friends. Old and new. Near and far. Real-life and virtual. Thanks for letting me be me.

7. Our domestic helper, Surprise, and our gardener, Christopher.

8. Beagle Watch. Keeping our neighbourhood safe, so we can sleep at night.

9. The Democratic Alliance. For instilling a renewed confidence in the future of this beautiful country. (No need to emigrate just yet.)

10. Teachers who believed in me and inspired me (my English teacher at Westville Girls’ High, Mrs Buckley, deserves a special mention). Teachers who do the same for my son.

11. Bosses who took a chance on me, and gave me the opportunity to cut my teeth on many facets of the publishing industry: Margie Koch, John Bowles, Eureka Zandberg / Anfra Mostert, Rosanne Buchanan, Sammi-Jo Botha.

12. Amazon, CreateSpace, digital printers, and small print runs. All of which have made self-publishing a reality for indies like me.

13. A successful book launch. And all the people who came out to support me.

14. My readers. I am deeply humbled by each and every person who has taken the time to buy / read my book, and provide feedback.

15.Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and my personal blog Jozibelle. I cannot imagine how insular and boring life would be without social media and the blogosphere.

16. Woolies Foods, restaurants, takeaways. Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom.

17. Cows. Fillet steak, chocolate, cheese. Pigs. Bacon. ‘Nuff said.

18. Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine. “Folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” – Abraham Lincoln

19. The rise of plus-size supermodels like Candice Huffine who make me feel better about my body, and designers who are now acknowledging and catering to us tall and curvy girls.

20. Holidays and travel. For enriching my life through first-hand experience of other countries and cultures.

21. Art, Architecture, Design, Fashion. For making the world a more beautiful place.

22. Nature. For feeding my soul. And keeping me humble.

23. Trees. Shade.

24. Rain. I am a pluviophile.

25. Aircon in my car.

26. Winter days, summer nights. Hot showers, clean sheets.

27. Music, Books, Movies, Netflix, digital cameras, smartphones.

28. Microsoft Word and Excel. Google and Wikipedia. WiFi and 4G.

29. Antihistamines and Myprodol. Psych meds and HRT.

30. Braces and Roaccutane. Makeup and hair dye. Moisturiser and sunscreen. Razors and tweezers. Pedicures by Sylvia Ngwenya – best foot massages EVER.

“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

—oOo—

A book where fiction, raw truth and courage meet.

Umbilicus: An autobiographical novelUmbilicus: An autobiographical novel by Paula Gruben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The character, Charlotte and I are roughly the same age. I could identify with the person, the culture, the language and what living in South Africa was like as a teenager growing up during the time period the book is written in.

Many of us question who we are, what we are about, what are our details? .. and what am I going to be when I grow up? Charlotte is no different, except that Charlotte knows she is adopted and therefore has some extra questions that need answers.

I found Charlotte to be a strong character, honest about her weaknesses and flaws and open to forgiveness and truth. Charlotte’s adoptive parents showed a little less emotion than I expected to the subject matter. They seem emotionally unavailable and cold to her needs throughout the book and I questioned why they adopted two children at all.

Continue reading “A book where fiction, raw truth and courage meet.”