Running with Stilettos: Living a
Balanced Life in Dangerous Shoes
by Mary T. Wagner iUniverse

"If there's a broader lesson to be learned from this eleventh hour style conversion, its simply that it's never too late to take a few chances, pick up a new vice, find some new and unaffected joy, and of vital importance, simply open your eyes and your heart to things you just never thought or imagined you'd do."

Mary T. Wagner's humorous collection of essays, Running With Stillettos: Living a Balanced Life in Dangerous Shoes, perfectly illustrates the value of a clever and apropos title that not only draws a reader in, but also foreshadows her charming delivery of a well balanced narrative comprised of ordinary moments portrayed as authentically funny without being deliberately comic, observant without being flowery, and emotional without being overly sentimental.

The themes covered in Running with Stilettos run the gamut from... dating, power tools, shoe shopping, chocolate addiction, friendship, tragedies, celebrations and the melancholy that comes with kids growing up and growing away, they're all in there. Wagner's existential observation is evidenced by the responsibility she takes to infuse her own life with meaning—despite the obstacles—via her passionately and sincerely crafted vignettes.

I made it forty-five days once. Forty-five days of grasping, white-knuckled determination, of denial, of yearning, of walking past the siren call of an unfinished Kit Kat on the kitchen table, of reaching for a pretzel instead of another Hershey Kiss. Chocolate sobriety ain't for the faint of heart.

Wagner's honest narrative both exposes and celebrates our human flaws and incongruities, illuminating the reality that we are all the flawed, but likeable, protagonists in our own lives.

I used to think that sex was the final frontier in human intimacy, measured in hushed and sacred increments of trust, and closeness, and sharing, and vulnerability. I was wrong. The much bigger leap of faith and reliance is getting on the back of a motorcycle, wrapping your arms around someone's waist, and with a touch wordlessly conveying, "Here's my life", I'm trusting you to keep me safe."

Perhaps the best explanation of what the core element of every well-conceived and well-written memoir should be comes from English singer and songwriter, John Lennon (1940-1980) in his lyric from "Beautiful Boy"... life happens to you while you're busy making other plans. Yes indeed. Life happens. Stuff Happens. Books happen. And Running With Stilettos: Living a Balanced Life in Dangerous Shoes by Mary T. Wagner, happens to be an inspirational and entertaining read with a wealth of resilience and wit that will resonate with readers from all walks of life—no matter their footwear. Life writing at its best.

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