Friday, August 5, 2011

Toni's Review of The Gifted Ones By Lisa Vaughn ***5 Stars***



Lisa was conservatively raised in a Catholic family in no-where middle America, where excitement is scarce and dreams are for sleeping. Little did she know, at age thirteen, she would suddenly find herself on a totally different path.

Through an unlikely chance meeting of a fellow classmate, she's surprisingly mesmerized, almost consumed, to befriend a girl who is obviously from the other side of the tracks...the cool side. Lisa does whatever she has to just to be accepted into this small club of coolness. Little did she realize, she was signing up for a lot more than social status. The two best friends find themselves innocently taking their relationship to a foreign level neither had experienced or saw coming.

A rollercoaster ride littered with choices and challenges Lisa never fathomed facing, especially in no-where middle America. She will find out what she is made of as she faces the consequences and struggles that come along with going against the grain.

Throughout their six year relationship, you will witness a touching story of human nature at it's best...and at it's worst. Showing just how far the human spirit can be challenged and pushed to a point where your “fight or flight” instincts naturally kick in. Struggling just to survive in a world where you are not like everyone else, but at the same time you really are. The daily struggles- both internal and external- are exhausting, yet necessary in their quest for one simple human need....love.

Finally breaking through all constraints that hold them back, reaching levels of one-ness that few actually obtain in a lifetime with their partner...only to find once they've reached that special place, it's not quite the right fit...for one of them, at least.

This contemporary story will lead the reader through highs and lows, giving insight to the every day challenges of the socially unaccepted, which will no doubt leave them rooting for the underdog. A true story of human resilience and the power of love...plain and simple.

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I can tell you straight off, I was nervous about reviewing a memoir. I have never been interested in reading them or any other forms of non-fiction. So after reading the summary and other reviews of this particular story I was intrigued.

Lisa Vaughn has penned a wonderful account of a special time of her life. The Gifted Ones centers on her experience with life’s greatest gift – our first true love. She took me on a journey I didn’t expect, but enjoyed immensely.

The story begins for Ms. Vaughn at the tender age of thirteen. Oh, the wonderful blossoming teenage years – NOT! If anyone thought their teenage years were tough, especially in regards to first love, please pick up this book. I too found my first love at the age of 13, and I can honestly say my experience was completely different from hers. I felt her joy, her excitement, and even her pain. I smiled, chuckled, got pissed off and even gasped during my reading of the book.

Lisa’s story begins and ends in her teenage years. Not too many of us are lucky enough to find the kind of love that Lisa was blessed with, I sure didn’t. Lisa fell in love with her best friend Selina. Yes, you did read right, I did type Selina and Selina is a girl. This is not a lesbian love story. This is a love story in the truest form, the falling in love with the individual inside.

Too often we put labels on everything. Ideas and expectations all put in their specific well used little cubby holes. In this story we have a beautiful young lady who loved her best friend because of the amazing person she was and not for her gender. Lisa saw no colors, sexes, or boundaries. She loved Selina because it was the only thing she could do and that was what was important to her. Wiser then her years, Lisa asked a question that we can all ponder; young and old, male or female, straight or gay – “How could loving someone be wrong?”

Lisa Vaughn’s writing style had me from the first page. I felt like I was her shadow. She never alienated me or made me feel unwelcome. I was transported right into her teenage world. I fell in love with Selina right alongside Lisa. I felt Lisa’s pain and angst when she lost Selina too. The Gifted Ones is an exceptional read. The tale is very smoothly written and it never felt unnatural. I extremely enjoyed my first crossing into the world of memoirs. Will I read another? Maybe not, but I will definitely not instantly turn away from them in the future.

I am a better person for reading The Gifted Ones. We both share similar views of the validity of love as a whole and not the misconstrued expectations of society. The individual is what is important, for friends and lovers. Please read The Gifted Ones for a truly inspiring and refreshing love story.

Thanks for reading!! - Toni

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