Hoda Kotb has been around on television for quite awhile, but she really came to my notice when I started watching the fourth hour of The Today Show with Kathy Lee (a celebrity I’ve followed since her days with Regis). Kathy Lee and Hoda developed into an entertaining, cohesive team which is why I was interested in reading the book – Where We Belong: Journeys That Show Us the Way, the third publication Hoda has written with Jane Lorenzini. This book explores seven inspirational accounts of various individuals who have overcome a wide range of adversities in order to achieve success in their lives. The first story features Michelle Hauser who, despite a rough childhood and some poor life choices, attended Harvard Medical School and combined her love of medicine with her culinary talents to promote healthy eating habits as a way to combat various illnesses. The second story is about Laila Ali who worked hard to become a successful boxer following in her famous father’s footsteps. Then we are introduced to power couple, Craig and Kathi Juntunen, who were able to devote their energies into providing for orphans in Haiti, first by adopting two children, then by starting a foundation to assist the others who remained, especially those effected by the devastating effects of the 2010 earthquake. They discovered that while there are many orphans throughout the world in need of parents and there are plenty of potential families in the United States who are more than willing to adopt these children, there is no direct pipeline available to facilitate the adoption process due to a myriad of rules and procedures with no follow up to clinch the deal. Four other bio shorts round out the seven tales.
While I thought the writing style was a bit over the top and at times a little wordy, this short, skimable book is perfect for readers who like true stories focusing on people who persevere despite obstacles. These narratives remind me of those vignettes I used to read in the magazines at the Beauty Parlor while waiting for my mother to have her hair done back when I was a child in the sixties.
Three stars and a thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC of this title.
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