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In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

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When Ann Carbine marries Larry Best in the Salt Lake temple in 1961, she's certain their marriage will last forever. Eleven years later, she learns that he's been having affairs with men. She wants to help him. She wants to save their marriage. However, powerful emotions pull Larry away from his family, just as AIDS begins its relentless march through the gay community. As When Ann Carbine marries Larry Best in the Salt Lake temple in 1961, she's certain their marriage will last forever. Eleven years later, she learns that he's been having affairs with men. She wants to help him. She wants to save their marriage. However, powerful emotions pull Larry away from his family, just as AIDS begins its relentless march through the gay community. As a single parent, Ann is faced with four grieving children who don't want to leave their father and their home in Utah. But Ann needs to start a new life in a new place. In the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, she at last makes peace with the past.


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When Ann Carbine marries Larry Best in the Salt Lake temple in 1961, she's certain their marriage will last forever. Eleven years later, she learns that he's been having affairs with men. She wants to help him. She wants to save their marriage. However, powerful emotions pull Larry away from his family, just as AIDS begins its relentless march through the gay community. As When Ann Carbine marries Larry Best in the Salt Lake temple in 1961, she's certain their marriage will last forever. Eleven years later, she learns that he's been having affairs with men. She wants to help him. She wants to save their marriage. However, powerful emotions pull Larry away from his family, just as AIDS begins its relentless march through the gay community. As a single parent, Ann is faced with four grieving children who don't want to leave their father and their home in Utah. But Ann needs to start a new life in a new place. In the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, she at last makes peace with the past.

30 review for In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I got this book on Kindle as a free book. I read it quickly, not because the writing was good, but just to get through it. I found the book to be painful. I shook my head over some of the author's poor decision making, especially her naive second marriage to a known alcoholic. The writing was pedestrian. I found the book supremely depressing. The author focused on all of the negative events in her life and captured none of the joys. And for that reason, I began to question whether the author was I got this book on Kindle as a free book. I read it quickly, not because the writing was good, but just to get through it. I found the book to be painful. I shook my head over some of the author's poor decision making, especially her naive second marriage to a known alcoholic. The writing was pedestrian. I found the book supremely depressing. The author focused on all of the negative events in her life and captured none of the joys. And for that reason, I began to question whether the author was a trustworthy narrator. I would not recommend this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Bell

    This has to be one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read. Do not be fooled by the simple language. It is stark and honest and just ... amazing. I like to think of this memoir as a ballad. If you are familiar with this form of poetry, you would know that the content is often tragic, they begin in the middle of conflict, they contain brief lyrical moments, and that they are condensed. They are so condensed that, if well-written, the language often seems to not portray any emotion at all, This has to be one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read. Do not be fooled by the simple language. It is stark and honest and just ... amazing. I like to think of this memoir as a ballad. If you are familiar with this form of poetry, you would know that the content is often tragic, they begin in the middle of conflict, they contain brief lyrical moments, and that they are condensed. They are so condensed that, if well-written, the language often seems to not portray any emotion at all, but when they are read, the imagery is so strong and raw, and violent in its exposure, that one is often left with goosebumps and struck with utter awe. This is how I felt reading this memoir. I literally had to force myself to put this memoir down at night. There is so much tension and ache and sometimes desperation woven between the minimalism of Ann's prose. And you don't even have to look that deeply. It just seems to pop out at you when you least expect it and leave you feeling naked. As a writer of literary fiction, who tends to embellish prose with lyrical content to squeeze the utmost emotion out of my scenes, I am so impressed with this book. And I can confidently say that Ann has taught me the power of simplicity. Raymond Carver introduced me to it. Ann Best justified its worth. What a wonderful experience to read this book. Ann, I take my hat off to you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    In the Mirror: A Memoir of Shattered Secrets, is largely about author Ann Best's relationship with her first husband Larry who, after four children with her and eleven years of marriage, announced that he had been having relationships with other men. Ann responds to her husband’s infidelity the way she responds to the rest of the challenges she faces in her life, with faith, resilience, and inner strength. Ann and her husband try to hold the marriage together for eight years, but ultimately are In the Mirror: A Memoir of Shattered Secrets, is largely about author Ann Best's relationship with her first husband Larry who, after four children with her and eleven years of marriage, announced that he had been having relationships with other men. Ann responds to her husband’s infidelity the way she responds to the rest of the challenges she faces in her life, with faith, resilience, and inner strength. Ann and her husband try to hold the marriage together for eight years, but ultimately are not successful. In the memoir Ann also writes about the fateful accident that left one of her daughters with a severe pelvic injury and the other with a devastating brain injury. In the Mirror is an honest and frank story about the additional challenges Ann faced in life: romantic temptation, financial hardships, alcoholism of a second husband, and difficulties with raising four children. In fact, Ann faces so many challenges in her life, through no fault of her own, that if In the Mirror were fictional, it might not be believable. Oftentimes truth is stranger than fiction. Through it all Ann maintains a strong focus on her faith. Good friends, her religious community, and at times, minor miracles see her through. Ann writes courageously with a clean, clear style that keeps the reader engaged with it’s simple honesty and moving dialog. In addition to her captivating life story, Ann surprised and educated me about the strength of the Mormon community and the tenets of the faith which include the powerful role of the Bishops in individuals’ lives. In the Mirror deserves a place on the shelves of women’s literature. It is the story of a woman in the 1960s and 1970s, long before the world embraced the empowerment of women in new roles, who got knocked down, picked herself back up, followed her dream, and scraped her way through to peace and contentment. I read it in two days.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa Draper

    I never really read memoirs until these last two years because I always thought fiction would be more exciting. How wrong I was. Seriously, I couldn't put this book down--I read it in two days. And, I knew about her life from her blog! It's a memoir so don't expect happy endings or even closure but expect it to make you look at your life and your choices. Expect it to make you see how your life and your marriage choices can impact your children.  Here is one of my favorite parts: I never really read memoirs until these last two years because I always thought fiction would be more exciting. How wrong I was. Seriously, I couldn't put this book down--I read it in two days. And, I knew about her life from her blog! It's a memoir so don't expect happy endings or even closure but expect it to make you look at your life and your choices. Expect it to make you see how your life and your marriage choices can impact your children.  Here is one of my favorite parts:

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I had never heard of this book before I choose to read it. I just picked it out from Amazon as it was a kindle freebie and I like reading biographies/autobiographies. I will state that I am not religous in any way shape or form nor do I know anything about the Mormons so probably read it in a different frame of mind to some other more 'faith based' people (I hope my term of phrase does not offend anyone, I really do not mean to cause any offence I am just not religious.) Well I really marvelled I had never heard of this book before I choose to read it. I just picked it out from Amazon as it was a kindle freebie and I like reading biographies/autobiographies. I will state that I am not religous in any way shape or form nor do I know anything about the Mormons so probably read it in a different frame of mind to some other more 'faith based' people (I hope my term of phrase does not offend anyone, I really do not mean to cause any offence I am just not religious.) Well I really marvelled at the strength of this womans character in the face of everthing she has had to overcome. The most moving part of this whole memoir for me was the final chapter and the journal entries she found. It left me feeling very sad for everyone involved as it seemed that no one really found any 'closure' (awful over used phrase I know - sorry) to the situation or their feelings. I think it is true when they say that women are the stronger sex, what this woman had to go through and the fact that she still sucessfully raised a family amongst all the termoil she must have been going through is testament to that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Delray Beach Public Library

    Looks can be deceiving. To the outside world, the Bests are the average family: a working father and mother plus their four children. Life inside the house, however, plays a different picture. Ann Best and her husband Larry’s secrets have unraveled and are tearing apart the family. After several counseling sessions and moves, it appears nothing will repair this household, but Ann is determined to succeed. The phrase “things are not always as they seem” holds especially true in this autobiography Looks can be deceiving. To the outside world, the Bests are the average family: a working father and mother plus their four children. Life inside the house, however, plays a different picture. Ann Best and her husband Larry’s secrets have unraveled and are tearing apart the family. After several counseling sessions and moves, it appears nothing will repair this household, but Ann is determined to succeed. The phrase “things are not always as they seem” holds especially true in this autobiography of Ann Best. Between her husband’s secret life, car crashes and alcoholism, these shattered secrets nearly destroy Ann and her children. Full of twists and turns, In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets will amaze readers with its pure and raw honesty. Visit the author’s blog for more information and reviews of her books: http://annbestblog.wordpress.com/in-t... Reviewed by: Kayleigh R.,[email protected] Reader Advisor since 2012.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marie Greaney

    This book haunted me after I'd finished it. It's the story of a couple who married and had children, and all the while the husband was trying to come to terms with his homosexuality. He has various liaisons when travelling to lecture for the university he is employed at, and eventually falls in love and leaves his wife for Cliff, the love of his life. I think what haunted me was not only the naïveté of his wife, the author - but then it was the era too, when homosexuality was considered to be (a This book haunted me after I'd finished it. It's the story of a couple who married and had children, and all the while the husband was trying to come to terms with his homosexuality. He has various liaisons when travelling to lecture for the university he is employed at, and eventually falls in love and leaves his wife for Cliff, the love of his life. I think what haunted me was not only the naïveté of his wife, the author - but then it was the era too, when homosexuality was considered to be (as he was counselled to do) a weakness not to be given in to - but mostly, his promiscuity, which eventually killed both him and his partner. A sad story whichever way you look at it. This takes place in the Mormon community - but it could be any community - and I was incredibly moved by their kindness and generosity to each other. Financially, emotionally supportive, counselling, caring, practical help in moving house, fixing cars, etc, the Mormon communities in this book shine through as an example of how any communities could be better than they are. Worth reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Ann Best's writing style is intense in its simplicity, ideal for this story. I got drawn right in and read her memoir straight through in a day and a half. It is about a family in trouble-- a couple whose lives get turned upside down by the repercussions of a shocking revelation. It is also the story of choices, and how one's choices affect those closest to them for years to come. By the time I finished the book, I felt like I knew this family. Ann doesn't write herself as the perfect, long suff Ann Best's writing style is intense in its simplicity, ideal for this story. I got drawn right in and read her memoir straight through in a day and a half. It is about a family in trouble-- a couple whose lives get turned upside down by the repercussions of a shocking revelation. It is also the story of choices, and how one's choices affect those closest to them for years to come. By the time I finished the book, I felt like I knew this family. Ann doesn't write herself as the perfect, long suffering, injured wife. On the contrary, she has her flaws and makes her mistakes right along with Larry. They are two people who were once in love, now wanting to be good parents to their four children, but they're on different roads going opposite directions. In the beginning, it is a tale of shattered dreams and betrayal. In the end, a story of hope and determination and survival and love.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I felt this story was the author's attempt to relate what happened during her life and to reflect back on some of her poor decisions. And who of us can't relate to poor choices. That being said, the story was interesting but at times felt disconnected and out of order. It also lacked the deep emotion and reasons for her choices that most readers would need in order to make the story more meaningful. I would've loved for her to have shared more about her amazing daughter, Jen. There were several g I felt this story was the author's attempt to relate what happened during her life and to reflect back on some of her poor decisions. And who of us can't relate to poor choices. That being said, the story was interesting but at times felt disconnected and out of order. It also lacked the deep emotion and reasons for her choices that most readers would need in order to make the story more meaningful. I would've loved for her to have shared more about her amazing daughter, Jen. There were several grammatical errors, but not enough to disrupt the story. All in all, I don't regret reading this story, but it felt more like the skeleton of a good book. And it lacked the inspiration that many times makes a memoir great.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    I think this may be a 3 1/2 star book, but for now, it will stay at 4 [In taking time to think about this book, I have bumped it down to 3 1/2 Stars; while the story is compelling, the writing is difficult and that is why I bumped it down]. I will not be reading it again though. It was sad and frustrating and annoying at times. And heartwarming and loving and thought-provoking as well.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    The entire first half of the book felt like: fact, fact, fact, fact, a little emotion, fact, fact, fact. I wanted Ann to describe in detail how she felt about so much! Her story is compelling-- fascinating really, yet I didn't feel like I really knew Ann when I finished the book. The entire first half of the book felt like: fact, fact, fact, fact, a little emotion, fact, fact, fact. I wanted Ann to describe in detail how she felt about so much! Her story is compelling-- fascinating really, yet I didn't feel like I really knew Ann when I finished the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Whistlers Mom

    What if the closet has a wife and kids in it? I read this book eight years ago and enjoyed it just as much when I reread it today. It's the story of a woman whose world collapsed because of a social revolution she never wanted to be part of. Unfortunately, even needed changes cause collateral damage. Modern Americans believe fiercely in their right to be happy in their own way, but what if that happiness can only be achieved at the cost of great unhappiness to others? The author was a typical youn What if the closet has a wife and kids in it? I read this book eight years ago and enjoyed it just as much when I reread it today. It's the story of a woman whose world collapsed because of a social revolution she never wanted to be part of. Unfortunately, even needed changes cause collateral damage. Modern Americans believe fiercely in their right to be happy in their own way, but what if that happiness can only be achieved at the cost of great unhappiness to others? The author was a typical young woman coming of age in a traditional family in the 1950's. She went to college, but with no real career goals. Her main aim was to find a suitable man, fall in love, marry, and have children. She was devoted to the Church of the Latter Days Saints (Mormons) which promoted traditional gender roles, but so did society as a whole at that time. Larry Best was handsome, smart, and loved children. His family were pioneers in the LDS Church and he served two years as a Church missionary. Ann was thrilled to leave college to marry him in the Salt Lake City Temple. Four children followed quickly as Larry worked toward his doctorate. Ann looked after the house and kids and typed to make extra money. She expected to devote herself to her husband and children and she expected her marriage to last forever. She was shocked and horrified to learn that her husband had been caught soliciting sex with another man and that he had been unfaithful to her many times, always with other men. In danger of losing his job at Brigham Young University, he was required to go to the Temple for counseling. The couple was counseled by Bishop Spencer Kimball. Kimball was a beloved Church figure and would soon be elected President and lead the Church for twelve years. He was the first Church leader to acknowledge the existence of homosexuality. He believed in forgiveness and hope. To him, homosexuality was a problem which ("like every other problem") could be solved by "consistent, prayerful exercise of self-restraint." Today, this attitude would be offensive to many. At the time, it was progressive. The author accepted this ruling and was prepared to forgive her husband and rebuild their marriage. But Larry Best was no longer interested in being married to a woman. After 18 years, the marriage ended and Ann was left to raise her children as a single mother. Larry Best moved in with a young male lover, provided little financial support for his children, and lied to them about the reasons for the divorce. What fascinates me about this book is that the author tells her story with brutal honesty. It's a thought-provoking story which forces the reader to look at uncomfortable issues. Like many people, I was happy when homosexuals were able to live openly. I've read other books by women who were married to men who "came out of the closet" and some couples were able to remain friends and help their children adjust. I don't blame Larry Best for being gay, but I DO blame him for the selfish way he treated his former wife and his children. Nor was he faithful to the young man who lived with him and obviously loved him deeply. Eventually, Larry's promiscuity led to both of them dying from AIDS. The man was a self-absorbed jerk. It's easy to blame the LDS Church for encouraging gay men to marry and father children, but so did all churches at that time. It's impossible not to be touched by the tender way that Church members nurtured Ann and her children after the divorce. Time and again, they responded with love and generosity. Without their help, raising her children alone would have been even more difficult. Whether or not you agree with the teachings of the LDS Church (or of any church) Ann's story emphasizes the value of a religious community who feel responsible for each other's well-being. In the end, it's not gays against straights or believers against non-believers. It's about the responsibility of all people to deal honestly and kindly with each other. I think this is a memorable book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Betty M. Murphy

    Raw and unbelievably courageous memoir; It will break your heart This powerful book is a story that proves that you never truly can totally know what goes on behind closed doors or in closed hearts. Ann Carbine Best tells the heartbreaking tale of a faithful Latter-Day Saint woman, who is married in the Mormon Temple to the love of her life, not for "until death do you part" but for time and all eternity. She is a woman who is determined to keep her marriage together, no matter what the cost. Whe Raw and unbelievably courageous memoir; It will break your heart This powerful book is a story that proves that you never truly can totally know what goes on behind closed doors or in closed hearts. Ann Carbine Best tells the heartbreaking tale of a faithful Latter-Day Saint woman, who is married in the Mormon Temple to the love of her life, not for "until death do you part" but for time and all eternity. She is a woman who is determined to keep her marriage together, no matter what the cost. When her husband finally confesses the truth of a secret life of multiple homosexual relationships, her life is shattered, yet her unwavering commitment to her marriage doesn't stop. She is brutally honest about her very human need to be loved and admired by a man, and bravely shows her own vulnerabilities in naked detail. Although I can't begin to fathom some of her choices, I totally understood her motives and needs. Shortly after her husband's revelation, two of their daughters are involved in a near-deadly car accident, severely injuring one, and leaving the other in critical condition with a traumatic brain injury. This part of Ann's book is a masterful tale of heartbreak, pain, unwavering faith, and heavenly miracles. Soul-shattering trials continue, and yet Ann never wavers in her deep faith or Herculean mental, emotional, or physical strength. I can't recommend this book highly enough. The Lord truly loves broken vessels, and Ann's story proves that even the most shattered ones can be glued back together without a single crack through the power of the Lord's magnificent atonement. Ann is a masterful writer and storyteller. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

  14. 5 out of 5

    1sandijay1

    I didn't enjoy this book at all. Ann Best has a humourless, emotionless, stilted, mechanical style of writing. I found it impossible to empathize with any of her many traumas, partly because most of it was as a result of her poor decision making and apathy. I'm not a fan of organized religion at the best of times and whilst I try and respect the views of others this book certainly did not endear me to Mormonism. She seemed to rely heavily on the church and it's members for both emotional and fin I didn't enjoy this book at all. Ann Best has a humourless, emotionless, stilted, mechanical style of writing. I found it impossible to empathize with any of her many traumas, partly because most of it was as a result of her poor decision making and apathy. I'm not a fan of organized religion at the best of times and whilst I try and respect the views of others this book certainly did not endear me to Mormonism. She seemed to rely heavily on the church and it's members for both emotional and financial help until she was given good advice by the bishop....'do not marry this man, he's an alcoholic..... wait before you marry;' this advice she chose to ignore and then bewailed her fate!! There seemed to be chunks missing from the book, the oldest daughter, Alison, dropped out of school at around 14; the next moment she was working in a clinic as a phlebotomist, how did that work? Surely one needs quite a serious qualification for this? I would not read anything else by this author.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katharine K. McMillan

    Unflinching Memoir Told with Clarity and Strength I came across a blog about memoirs that praised Ann Best’s In the Mirror. Spare, unsentimental, and frank, Ann never feels sorry for herself despite two unfulfilling marriages, near poverty, a disabled daughter, and a talent that was hidden far too long from the world. She struggles to find her creative center during her early years but once committing to getting her Masters in Creative Writing, misfortune seemingly blocks her path. Her faith exp Unflinching Memoir Told with Clarity and Strength I came across a blog about memoirs that praised Ann Best’s In the Mirror. Spare, unsentimental, and frank, Ann never feels sorry for herself despite two unfulfilling marriages, near poverty, a disabled daughter, and a talent that was hidden far too long from the world. She struggles to find her creative center during her early years but once committing to getting her Masters in Creative Writing, misfortune seemingly blocks her path. Her faith experiences are described in a very moving way, and the story shows rather than tells us the source of her strength. A number of passages bought tears to my eyes and made my heart ache. Ann, thank you for telling your story in your compelling style. I loved your poetry. Please keep writing!

  16. 5 out of 5

    J. A. Lewis

    This is a memoir about the Best family. Ann and Larry met, marry, and are raising their children when he reveals that he is gay and has been having a number of various relationships outside of their marriage. One has to wonder at that point why Ann did not pack up and leave him. With AIDS being nearly epidemic during that time frame, one has to question why she would not be concerned about his promiscuous lifestyle. The Mormon religion may have played a huge role in her decision-making. When Lar This is a memoir about the Best family. Ann and Larry met, marry, and are raising their children when he reveals that he is gay and has been having a number of various relationships outside of their marriage. One has to wonder at that point why Ann did not pack up and leave him. With AIDS being nearly epidemic during that time frame, one has to question why she would not be concerned about his promiscuous lifestyle. The Mormon religion may have played a huge role in her decision-making. When Larry finally leaves her for another man, Ann eventually remarries a man with alcohol problems. This is an interesting memoir, but one does question her choices. There's a lot of grammatical errors, particularly towards the end of the book. Felt the entire family could have used long-term counseling to come to terms with the father's lifestyle and the mother's poor choices.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michell D

    It was a memoir, not a novel. Even though I could not stop reading it, I felt that it was neutral. It's not an inspiring story, its just someone putting her business out there. It is a great read if you are a nosey person. I found myself talking to her and asking her why on several occasions. Her nor her children deserved what her husband did, but I found myself feeling sad for the husband. Struggling with being gay while being brought up in one of the most conservative religions in the world. M It was a memoir, not a novel. Even though I could not stop reading it, I felt that it was neutral. It's not an inspiring story, its just someone putting her business out there. It is a great read if you are a nosey person. I found myself talking to her and asking her why on several occasions. Her nor her children deserved what her husband did, but I found myself feeling sad for the husband. Struggling with being gay while being brought up in one of the most conservative religions in the world. My heart goes out to the family, deceased and living.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This was a fascinating memoir by a Mormon woman who had four children before discovering her husband was having relations with other men. Since she thought she was "married for life" she tried to save her marriage, but he eventually left her for a man. Very sad, but hard to put down! This was a fascinating memoir by a Mormon woman who had four children before discovering her husband was having relations with other men. Since she thought she was "married for life" she tried to save her marriage, but he eventually left her for a man. Very sad, but hard to put down!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    "When I met Larry Best, he talked a lot about his nieces and nephews. He liked children and wanted to be a father. But when we decided to get married, he said he was afraid we might have small boys. This was because I was only four-eleven and weighed eighty pounds. He was five-seven and weighed maybe a hundred and thirty-five. He felt small, probably because he had two six-foot brothers. He didn’t like his curly hair either, but I did. I told him I thought he was just right. He evidently thought "When I met Larry Best, he talked a lot about his nieces and nephews. He liked children and wanted to be a father. But when we decided to get married, he said he was afraid we might have small boys. This was because I was only four-eleven and weighed eighty pounds. He was five-seven and weighed maybe a hundred and thirty-five. He felt small, probably because he had two six-foot brothers. He didn’t like his curly hair either, but I did. I told him I thought he was just right. He evidently thought I was okay too, because he proposed, and we were married September 15, 1961 in the Salt Lake Temple for time and all eternity." This books starts in the simplest of ways, with Ann saying her future husband is just right, then telling us she married him for time and all eternity. It's a familiar beginning for me as I too was married in an LDS temple to a man I thought was just right. Her description of kneeling at the altar across from Larry is uncannily similar to how I knelt across the altar from my own husband. Her description of the mirrors in the temple that face opposite each other, making ones reflection go on forever also brought back memories. The speed that I stepped into Ann's shoes was shockingly fast, even for me. Almost every scene from the first half of the book was like looking at my life through the other side of a mirror. Not to say that my experiences are exactly like hers: my husband is straight, my struggles are different, but the emotions involved in getting married, rearing children, and struggling to negotiate career and family were so similar that I read with a feeling of déjà vu for the first half of the book. I have such fond memories of BYU. The kindness of the faculty, the friendliness of the students, Mormon culture at its best. At the time I went to school there I didn't recognize those things, but in hindsight I see them. I could picture the college campus, the places where she walked, the people that she spoke to. I could feel the cold Provo winters, imagine Ann's bishop planting a vegetable garden for her. That part made me cry. That's the thing about this book, it makes you cry . . . again and again and again. And not just when bad stuff happens, when good stuff happens too. Even though Larry was far from a perfect husband and did some things which I would never put up with: lying, cheating on her, even hitting her on one occasion, the love Ann felt for Larry was palpable. I ached for her valiant effort to let him go, for the sacrifices she made for her children, and ultimately I admired her faith. Ann has such a deep well of faith it was truly astounding to me. She loved Larry with so much of her heart that I found it tragic he didn't love her. Not that he could help it, but Ann still deserved a lot more than she got. This is a story I'll carry with me. A story of love unrequited.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Fayard

    With a writing style that is warm and candid, Ann Carbine Best will immediately draw you in with her deftly written debut. Ann has the gift of making you feel as if she is a good friend you’ve known all your life, of making you feel as if you are there in the same room hearing her soft voice tell a story of strength. Starting with her 1961 marriage to Larry, Ann writes clearly and directly about their relationship and its slow unraveling after discovering he is sleeping with men—both while he is With a writing style that is warm and candid, Ann Carbine Best will immediately draw you in with her deftly written debut. Ann has the gift of making you feel as if she is a good friend you’ve known all your life, of making you feel as if you are there in the same room hearing her soft voice tell a story of strength. Starting with her 1961 marriage to Larry, Ann writes clearly and directly about their relationship and its slow unraveling after discovering he is sleeping with men—both while he is getting his doctorate degree in Connecticut and after their return to the tight-knit Mormon community of Orem, Utah. Even though it is something her church frowns against, Ann must work outside the home as a secretary after her husband says he might lose his job at Brigham Young University after propositioning a student. It is at her new job Ann must fight her own internal desires, as she finds herself mutually attracted to her compassionate boss. It will be more than a decade later, however, before Ann and her husband divorce, when Larry decides to live with the love of his life, Cliff, a decision that is difficult for both of them. “I couldn’t cry,” Ann writes. “I had to see where I was going.” Ann’s life path took her from Utah to Virginia to start a new life as a single mother of four. Some of her children blamed their father and some blamed Ann for the failed marriage. “Ties that bind,” Ann keens afterward, “would I ever be able to break them?” Ann’s faith continues to sustain her when, soon after the move, two of her children are involved in an automobile accident that severely injures one daughter and permanently disables the other. She will draw strength as well from her Mormon church family following the suicide death of her alcoholic second husband. Not once does Ann fail to meet life gracefully, even though things don’t turn out the way she might have thought it would or should. “The important thing when something happens is how we help each other,” she says. Warmly human and filled with poignant tension, this book will encourage and inspire anyone who is struggling with heartbreak with its message of faith and its beautiful turns of phrase. The poignant and compelling ending will leave you rethinking previously held beliefs. Ann is a brilliant writer whose writing flows effortlessly and naturally. She captured my heart with her story, and I hope this will be the first of many books from an incredible debut author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nas Dean

    In The Mirror, a memoir of Shattered Secrets by Ann Best is the story of how Ann’s marriage to her husband Larry Best unraveled after she discovered he was gay and have been having gay relationships all throughout their married life. Ann received the blame for the destruction of it even though she tried hard to hold the fabrics of her marriage together for her four children’s sake. Then her two daughters are injured in an accident and one is permanently paralyzed but she never wavers from her re In The Mirror, a memoir of Shattered Secrets by Ann Best is the story of how Ann’s marriage to her husband Larry Best unraveled after she discovered he was gay and have been having gay relationships all throughout their married life. Ann received the blame for the destruction of it even though she tried hard to hold the fabrics of her marriage together for her four children’s sake. Then her two daughters are injured in an accident and one is permanently paralyzed but she never wavers from her religious beliefs. Wanting and needing the companionship of a mate she marries again only to realize she has married an alcoholic who’ll never leave drinking. A lesser person would have cried out, “Why me?” of the entire life-shattering crisis befalling her. But not Ann. She meets all the challenges life throws at her with grace and integrity. She speaks candidly about the attraction she felt for her boss while she was still with Larry. She shares about her life’s journey with unflinching honesty. But never with self-pity. Her writing is brilliant and just flowed magically. The dialogue is natural and does not feel stilted. After reading it to the end, I closed the book and sat thinking about it for a long while. So much pain and loss, yet despite that so courageous. Ann is an inspiration to us and affirms our belief that there is light at the end. Throughout the story her strength of character shone out. I was joyful when Ann was happy, I was sad with her, I cried with her or for her when she wouldn't let herself cry, in total I felt Ann is such an awesome and strong person to have undergone so much and still come out stronger. I wish I could meet her in person and give her a hug.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I have followed the blog of Ann Carbine Best for about a year. Through it I learned of the publication of 'In the Mirror' and received some insight into Ann's difficult life. Her memoir spans the period of her two marriages and is told in a pared back style. Although the memoir recounts relationship difficulties and family tragedy it is in no way a 'misery memoir.' Ann's positive attitude and determination to rise above her problems prevents it turning into such a work. The book provided me with f I have followed the blog of Ann Carbine Best for about a year. Through it I learned of the publication of 'In the Mirror' and received some insight into Ann's difficult life. Her memoir spans the period of her two marriages and is told in a pared back style. Although the memoir recounts relationship difficulties and family tragedy it is in no way a 'misery memoir.' Ann's positive attitude and determination to rise above her problems prevents it turning into such a work. The book provided me with further insight into the Mormon faith, particularly the role of the Bishop's and the degree of generosity offered by Mormon friends. I found the book to be a real page-turner yet it hardly seems right to say that 'I enjoyed it' given the painful content. Although the direct and spare style is successful, my own taste is for a little more elaboration. At some points I was left feeling that I would like to have known more, not in any prurient way but simply to help my understanding. I should have liked more description too but that is not a criticism, simply and expression of my own taste - I'm fond of description.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Julie Haigh

    Moving and memorable. This was one of the first books I read in kindle format. It was quite a novelty to me to be able to find so many excellent books free in the amazon 100 bestseller lists. I hadn't heard of Ann Carbine Best; my usual process of selection from the books on promotion was to keep mostly to ones with 4 or 5 star reviews and this had certainly had some really good reviews. I was surprised how well-written this was. It's a very honest and intimate memoir. Ann finds out her husband, Moving and memorable. This was one of the first books I read in kindle format. It was quite a novelty to me to be able to find so many excellent books free in the amazon 100 bestseller lists. I hadn't heard of Ann Carbine Best; my usual process of selection from the books on promotion was to keep mostly to ones with 4 or 5 star reviews and this had certainly had some really good reviews. I was surprised how well-written this was. It's a very honest and intimate memoir. Ann finds out her husband, after being married many years, is homosexual and he has been seeing men for years behind her back. It's amazing how she deals with this. She wants to try to carry on as normal for their children's sake, she wants to help him. There are other awful blows dealt to her, it's amazing how she has come through everything. It was a very inspiring read. There is mention in the summary about the book that they are Mormons. I was unsure just how much religion would be in the book but it's not really mentioned that much at all, it's not really about that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Apzmarshl

    This book was like listening to my neighbors gossip. It was scintillating, but it felt like there wasn't enough. It seemed to lack depth but there were sharp memories of little details. Ann Best finally came to know that her husband was sleeping with men, yet their marriage continued and their dark and troublesome issues were rarely spoken of. I have no doubt that throughout her many years of life, Ann felt pain very keenly over the dissolution of her first marriage and subsequent marriage to an This book was like listening to my neighbors gossip. It was scintillating, but it felt like there wasn't enough. It seemed to lack depth but there were sharp memories of little details. Ann Best finally came to know that her husband was sleeping with men, yet their marriage continued and their dark and troublesome issues were rarely spoken of. I have no doubt that throughout her many years of life, Ann felt pain very keenly over the dissolution of her first marriage and subsequent marriage to an alcoholic. Maybe it was the decade, maybe it was her writing style, maybe they really never spoke about anything of importance in their marriage, but the whole book struck me as very odd that everyone just kept plugging on mechanically without ever addressing the horrible reality that they lived. Although I did not appreciate the skimpy style of writing, the story itself was mesmerizing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lynda Kelly

    Subtitled A Memoir of Shattered Secrets....this Mormon mother of four learns her husband has had gay relationships all their married life.....however, she sticks with him. I certainly didn't understand a lot of the decisions she made around this time nor in her future but then I don't have kids and I'm not religious in the least. It's certainly an interesting read. I thought she had some odd relationships with all the men in her life. On the downside there are a lot of errors and the most oft-rep Subtitled A Memoir of Shattered Secrets....this Mormon mother of four learns her husband has had gay relationships all their married life.....however, she sticks with him. I certainly didn't understand a lot of the decisions she made around this time nor in her future but then I don't have kids and I'm not religious in the least. It's certainly an interesting read. I thought she had some odd relationships with all the men in her life. On the downside there are a lot of errors and the most oft-repeated one is a lack of spacing between words. That cropped up at least half a dozen times and is so obvious that I have no idea how it made it through any type of editing process.I did manage to get through it despite these and I've given up on past books with a lot of mistakes so that tells you it IS a good tale.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Madeline Sharples

    With such poetic grace and simplicity, Ann Best, describes an almost unbearably miserable life - first with a gay husband, then with an alcoholic husband, and then with a brain damaged daughter. I kept waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Thankfully, the author finds fulfillment living in her beloved northern Virginia as a teacher, writer, and caregiver for her daughter, close to her children and grandchildren. I breathed a sigh of relief at the end. Best never lets go. She hooked me at the With such poetic grace and simplicity, Ann Best, describes an almost unbearably miserable life - first with a gay husband, then with an alcoholic husband, and then with a brain damaged daughter. I kept waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Thankfully, the author finds fulfillment living in her beloved northern Virginia as a teacher, writer, and caregiver for her daughter, close to her children and grandchildren. I breathed a sigh of relief at the end. Best never lets go. She hooked me at the start. I could barely put this book down. Her writing is clear, descriptive, and powerful without the need for any additional, unneeded words. For those who love memoirs as I do, true stories of real everyday people, I highly recommend you read In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets. You will not be disappointed.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan Swiderski

    I read somewhere that sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up. Although one might rightly say that a memoir definitely looks back, there isn't so much sorrow in this book as there is looking up. A weaker woman might have abandoned hope when her beloved husband, and father of her four children, confessed his sexual attraction to men, and she might have thrown in the towel when he left her for one of them. A weaker woman might have succumbed to temptation when a kind and caring b I read somewhere that sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up. Although one might rightly say that a memoir definitely looks back, there isn't so much sorrow in this book as there is looking up. A weaker woman might have abandoned hope when her beloved husband, and father of her four children, confessed his sexual attraction to men, and she might have thrown in the towel when he left her for one of them. A weaker woman might have succumbed to temptation when a kind and caring boss befriended her, or collapsed in grief when her daughters were in a horrific car accident. But Ann is not a weak woman. Buoyed by her abiding faith and the love of her family, she has prevailed. And continues to prevail. Her strength and faith are an inspiration ... a reassurance that there is, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel ... and her memoir, definitely worth reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy Saia

    IN THE MIRROR is such an honest book. I knew Ann was gifted, but had no idea of how generous with detail she would be. A good memoir takes you through the most important moments of the writer's life, not just the events, but the actual thoughts and feelings. It was sometimes painful to be witness to what seemed like a constant string of tragic events for Ann. This woman, so tiny, put up with an enormous amount of trouble, yet came out of it without any hint of bitterness or regret. I cried when IN THE MIRROR is such an honest book. I knew Ann was gifted, but had no idea of how generous with detail she would be. A good memoir takes you through the most important moments of the writer's life, not just the events, but the actual thoughts and feelings. It was sometimes painful to be witness to what seemed like a constant string of tragic events for Ann. This woman, so tiny, put up with an enormous amount of trouble, yet came out of it without any hint of bitterness or regret. I cried when she described her daughter waking and speaking again, and I was horrified and saddened by the details she gave of her husband's living conditions. But she was always honest. Definitely 5-stars from me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    This book probably deserves more than 2 stars seeing as I read it cover to cover without stopping. It also probably deserves more than 2 stars for the actual writing. However, I can't get past the ridiculousness of the life choices of Ann Best. The book goes on (and on) about how the men in her life are treating her. It's frustrating that any woman could have such a small amount of self respect to put up with the things she put up with. I kept hoping she would get a clue and get out of the situa This book probably deserves more than 2 stars seeing as I read it cover to cover without stopping. It also probably deserves more than 2 stars for the actual writing. However, I can't get past the ridiculousness of the life choices of Ann Best. The book goes on (and on) about how the men in her life are treating her. It's frustrating that any woman could have such a small amount of self respect to put up with the things she put up with. I kept hoping she would get a clue and get out of the situations she put herself in. Having said that, I think she did her best to be a good mom. It seems that her children are still a big part of her life. Hopefully her children have found peace in their adult lives and have found a sense of normalcy in their relationships.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Madge Madigan

    In the Mirror, was incredibly interesting story material. It was a page turner, as I was eager to find out what happened next. But the writing was so bland, dull, and non-descript it didn't elicit any emotions nor did it make me like any of the characters. I really didn't like any of the characters - parents, children, etc. because it was hard to sympathize as there was no real in-depth background on anybody's emotions, nor were they painted in an attractive light. It just felt very mechanical, In the Mirror, was incredibly interesting story material. It was a page turner, as I was eager to find out what happened next. But the writing was so bland, dull, and non-descript it didn't elicit any emotions nor did it make me like any of the characters. I really didn't like any of the characters - parents, children, etc. because it was hard to sympathize as there was no real in-depth background on anybody's emotions, nor were they painted in an attractive light. It just felt very mechanical, unemotional, clinical, stark, barren... it just kind of perpetuated the stereotype of how a lot of people think life as a Mormon would be. No fun and bland. As they say in the movies, "One more time, with feeling!"

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