'Pinot Girl' & 'Temple Dancer': Books for BOOMER Readers
Reviewed by Annie Tobey
By Anna Maria Ponzi
Storytelling makes history more memorable and engaging. Pinot Girl tells of a pioneering family of Oregon winemaking. Certainly, a reader might gather more facts in a textbook on the topic, but Anna Maria Ponzi’s engaging memoir breathes life into the tale. Her narrative comes from her own point of view, beginning in her childhood. In 1968, her parents moved the family to a site in the Willamette Valley suitable for growing an underappreciated grape, Pinot noir. The readers learn the backstory of Ponzi Vineyards and a regional wine industry from a germinating idea to a successful, respected business. And all from an insider’s (and, initially, a youthful) point of view.
Paperback (371 pages) and e-book
Bristol Press (May 6, 2020)
By Amy Weintraub
Two stories share the pages of Temple Dancer, alternating time onstage. Modern-day Wendy is a basket case of regrets, trying to come to peace with her past. Her thoughts take the reader to flashpoints in her life: a failed marriage, an affair, her daughter, travels to a gurukula in India and a visit to Virginia’s Yogaville. Now in midlife, Wendy reconnects with a manuscript she received in 1997. The manuscript tells of Saraswati, a devadasi – temple dancer – consecrated to serve in the temple and bound to serve men’s sexual favors. Between the disturbing turns in Saraswati’s life under patriarchal control and Wendy’s emotional treadmill, the book offers an uneasy reading experience and an abrupt ending. Nonetheless, readers may empathize with Wendy’s travails, glean lessons from her mistakes and find solace in signs of hope.
Paperback (286 pages) and e-book
Tumamoc Press, Sept. 8, 2020