Look at You Now by Liz Pryor

look-at-you-now-by-liz-pryorWhen Liz Pryor, a senior in high school about to graduate and start the rest of her life, finds out that she’s pregnant, her parents decide to send her away. The year is 1979 and according to her parents, no one can know about it, not even their friends, family, or Liz’s siblings. Liz is sent to a facility for girls “in her condition” and her world shifts while she’s there. The place turns out to be a locked government-run facility.

At first Liz (who is from an upper-class family) feels completely at odds with the girls (many of whom came from the foster care system). As she settles in though, she bonds with the girls and in some cases finds deep friendships. Liz gains a new perspective that causes her to reevaluate her own life.

I appreciated the honesty throughout the book and seeing Liz grow as she faced an incredibly challenging experience with grace and maturity, especially for someone so young. The book emphasized how much her pregnancy and her time with the girls shaped her. I wonder whether they are still in touch today or ever connected later on after leaving the facility.

look-at-you-nowI enjoyed both the pace and the length of the story, it was just right in my opinion. I definitely recommend Look at You Now and have quite a few follow-up questions – I may have to do some digging for a follow-up interview with Liz Pryor!

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

I’m a bit behind the game and only just finished Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg. Despite being reminded of this one by friends and business professors for the past couple of years, I only just got to it. Throughout the book, Sandberg shares many personal insights into the high power business positions that she has held, at places including Google, Facebook, and the United States Treasury Department. She is a strong role model for all, both women and men, young and old, to be ambitious in whatever you do and to lean in. Regardless of whether that ambition is to stay home or to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

One of the key points that Sandberg makes is to pick a partner who supports your decisions and vice versa. She mentions her husband Dave many times throughout the book, explaining that he is the reason that she is able to do what she does. It is heartbreaking to read these passages of love and gratitude while knowing that her husband, Dave Goldberg, passed away earlier this year. My heart goes out to Sandberg and her family.

Lean In is a great read (and not too long, a bit under 200 pages) teaching us to lean in with everything we’ve got.

To watch Sandberg’s TED talk (with over 5 million views!) click here.