Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Rachel Levy Lesser's stylish ways...plus a book giveaway

We're pleased to welcome Rachel Levy Lesser to CLC today. Her memoir, Life's Accessories, published this past fall and we're excited to check it out. Rachel has THREE copies for some lucky readers!

Rachel Levy Lesser is the author of Who's Going to Watch My Kids?, My Name is Rebecca Romm, and Shopping for Love. Her articles and essays have appeared in various outlets including The Huffington Post, Glamour.com, Parenting.com, Kveller, Modern Loss, Scary Mommy and The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. She is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania and received her MBA from the Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan. In her previous life as a marketing professional, Rachel worked on the business side of Time Inc. on magazines including InStyle, Life, People, Real Simple, and Sports Illustrated for Kids. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. (Bio adapted from Amazon.)


Visit Rachel online:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
Rachel Levy Lesser can relive almost every significant life event through an accessory. A scarf, a pair of earrings, a bag, even a fleece pair of socks―each contains the elements that put together the story of a life. Life’s Accessories is a funny, sad, touching, relatable, shake-your-head-right-along-as-you-laugh-and-wipe-away-tears, coming-of-age memoir. In fourteen essays, Lesser tackles sensitive issues like anxiety, illness, and loss in a way that feels a bit like having a chat with a good friend. Out of the stories comes solid life―and fashion―advice. About far more than just a hair tie, a bracelet, or a belt, Life’s Accessories is a window into the many ways in which Lesser has come to understand life―in all of its beauty, its joys, its sorrows, its heartaches, its challenges, and its absurdity. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
People often tell me that when they read my books or essays, they feel like they are having a conversation with a good friend. I take that as a compliment because it makes me feel like my writing is relatable, that my readers feel comfortable with me and that they are getting to know me through my work. Some have even said that they feel like they actually are my friend (even BFF!) after reading my latest book, Life’s Accessories including these early reviews from fellow authors. I love this! Always room for more BFFs right?!

“I fell in love with Rachel on page one, and by the last chapter I was convinced she was my long lost BFF.”

“I’d like to be one of Rachel Levy Lesser’s best friends even though I’ve never met her.”

“….she exudes a palpable joie de vivre, attracting a lively coterie, including us who read, as Best Friends Forever.”

What was the biggest reward and biggest challenge with writing Life's Accessories?
The biggest reward is most definitely hearing from readers that my book helped them deal with a difficult time they were going through, helped normalize their thoughts or make them feel that they are less alone. In Life’s Accessories, I revisit the highs and lows of my life. I think that it is in the lows that people really can connect and learn. I write in part because it helps me process so much of life, and that feels like it should be enough. But then to know that my writing actually touches and helps other people is the biggest reward I could ever ask for or imagine.

The biggest challenge was going back and revisiting some of my most painful memories – most especially thinking about my time in graduate school in my 20s when my mother was getting sicker and sicker from metastatic cancer. I had blocked a lot of those details out of my mind, and I made myself remember them (luckily I have a good memory.) That was hard but also so cathartic. Readers have told me that this was the hardest part for them to read but also some say, the best part.

If Life's Accessories were made into a movie, who would you cast to play yourself?
It’s funny you ask that because there has been some early interest in Life’s Accessories for film (or television) and my friends and family joke about who would play me (and the other characters) in a movie version. We say that by the time a film does get made, we will be so old that we will have to get actors to play us who are children right now (or maybe not even born yet!) If I had to pick someone now though I’d say Jennifer Aniston because well….Rachel Green. And yes I had the Rachel Green haircut in 1995. Who didn’t?!

What is your favorite thing about the month of February?
This doesn’t always happen in February, and others may curse me for saying this, but I like one really good snow storm where we can all stay home, stay safe and bake cookies, read, watch movies and take a break from the craziness of everyday life. The added bonus to a one day snow storm like this is playing hooky the next day and heading out for one great day of skiing in fresh snow.

What is your most treasured accessory?
This is a tough one for me as I have so many. I mean I wrote a whole book about accessories! The one that comes to mind is a pair of gold antique dangly earrings with gold fringe on them and a misshapen antique diamond in the middle above the fringe. These earrings belonged to maternal grandmother and I have such clear images of sitting next to her in synagogue when I was a little girl during the high holidays and staring at the earrings, drawing an outline of them in my head and watching them sway as she moved her head, then she would look at me and squeeze my hand with her cool well-manicured hand. I think she always wore them to the high holidays. My mother wore them for just a short time after my grandmother died before my mom got sick. A few weeks before my mom died, my mom took me to the bank box to show me the jewelry in there that was hers that would soon be mine. I didn’t want to go with her that day and I didn’t want to listen to her instructions. I wasn’t ready. She made a point of telling me to wear those gold dangly earrings and to wear them often. “Wear the with jeans,” she said. “Don’t wait for a special occasion.” And so I do wear them often jeans (and for special occasions) and I think my mom and grandmother would like that.

What is the strangest way you made a new friend?
A little over 10 years ago, when doing freelance work for a newspaper I was randomly assigned to cover a story on an upcoming fundraising event for Memorial Sloan Kettering. I was given the number of the women named Amy who was chosen as the poster child for the fundraising event as she is a survivor of a childhood cancer and was treated at Sloan. I called Amy up and did the formal interview for the paper over the phone. When the interview was over, we got to talking and it turns out we knew so many people in common as we were the same age and had ran in similar circles for many years. We even figured out that we had been to the same parties and events at the same time. Amy is a writer like me and over the years we have showed each other our work and bounced ideas off of each other. We have met up in person many times and when we are together it seems like we could talk forever – about writing, families, friendships and really everything. Our latest books came out at around the same time and we are going on a mini little book tour together now 10 years after randomly meeting on the phone. I call her my work wife as I bounce ideas off of her all the time and she does the same for me. I am so glad that I was assigned that story by that newspaper editor all those years ago!

Thanks to Rachel for visiting with us and for sharing her book with our readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends February 10th at midnight EST.

19 comments:

dianemarkowitz said...

I can't wait to read this book!

Suburban prep said...

One of the most treasured items is a necklace that was my grandmother's. My parents gave it to me just before I got married. It is a sapphire drop necklace. I was born in September and it was a something blue. This grandmother passed just 4 months before I got married. She and I were rather close.

Jeanne said...

My most treasured accessory is my plastic Livestrong bracelet. It was given to me when my husband was initially diagnosed with cancer. I wear it always and look at it often to remind myself of what he (and we) went through. It gives me strength for current challenges.

susieqlaw said...

My Fitbit

Nancy Payette said...

Jewelry my mom left me.

Kelley B said...

My two silver charm bracelets!

JeanneK said...

This was a great interview. I have so many favorite treasures but one special one is a beautiful turtle pin that my Aunt Rachel gave me for my 8th birthday and remember thinking what does an 8 year old need with this! I am now 72 years, the pin is gorgeous and is a classic one of a kind! This book sounds amazing and I’d love to read it.

traveler said...

I cherish a beautiful silk scarf which my husband bought for me on an international business trip. I never had a lovely scarf and he never was one to purchase items when he was away, but my birthday was coming up. I was not well as I was recovering from breast cancer and the effects. The scarf was a special surprise which I will always love.

diannekc said...

My Pandora bracelets, lots of memories on those bracelets.

Nancy said...

My wedding band is my most treasured accessory.

Nancy
allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Rita Wray said...

A necklace my sister gave me.

Mary Preston said...

The pearls my parents gave me for my 21st birthday.

Mary C said...

The necklace my parents gave me when I graduated from high school

bn100 said...

n/a

Terri. said...

Jewelry from my grandmother.

rubynreba said...

I love the diamond heart necklace my husband gave me.

Lelandlee said...

My ring

Xia Lee said...

My Diamond bracelet

A. B. said...

One of my most treasured accessories is a silver Claddagh ring. (It only fits on my pinky finger.) I bought it in Galway, Ireland, the very first time that I visited that country. That was in March of 2003... Wowww... I'm doing the math, and it seems like so far ago! But I remember it rather well. My mom took my sister and I on a trip there-- an awesome "self-guided tour package" sort of thing. We received vouchers that could be used at almost any B&B (gorgeous!), and a rental car... Whoa.... my poor mother, attempting to navigate western Ireland's verrry narrow and winding roads! She clung to the steering wheel and did not let go.
...I could write and write and write about this time in Ireland, and would love to. To be honest my Claddagh ring has been tucked away for safekeeping for quite a few years, and I think I'll take it out tonight. So, thank you for inspiring me in that way.
--Ann