Sunday, February 10, 2008

Leap of Kate

If I lived in Manhattan, I would want Katherine Lanpher to be my next-door neighbor. She radiates self confidence and conviction worthy of a motivational speaker. Yet, she is fallible, human and privately insecure. As you read her casual autobiography, Leap Days, you feel like you are spending a memorable morning with a long lost friend. In one short book, she invites you to visit nearly every facet of her soul. I read her book in one three-hour plane ride. I didn't want the flight to end!

Leap Days was written as a therapeutic vehicle. In 2004, Katherine accepted a gig, on a lark, as the side-kick to comedian Al Franken on the Air America radio network. To begin this new chapter in her life, she quickly moved to New York City after spending most of her life in Middle America. Finding herself newly alone in a big city, she sat down and wrote her heart out to us. You'll wish she had sooner. This lady certainly knows how to write.

Throughout the beautifully crafted passages of her book, Kate's stories paint realistic portraits of all the important times in her life. I often felt as if I had been by her side. Most memorable were her recollections of her tumultuous marriage to an irresponsible Frenchman and her indoctrination into the world of journalism in Minnesota. Being someone who also began their professional career in a newsroom in the 1970s, I felt great empathy for her. As for the Frenchman, Kate, we all make mistakes!

I especially enjoyed her description of her premiere broadcast on radio. Maybe you've had this nightmare: Someone leads you into an announcer's booth, points at you and says 'You're on!' I love the way she can tell a story. You'll have to read the book to see how it turned out!

Katherine is a dyed-in-the-wool journalist who has never given up on herself. In Leap Days, she shares her childhood, her family, her career and her loves. It is comforting to know we are not alone in the trials of life. I wonder how she found the courage to reveal everything in her heart. I am glad she did. Her book is cleansing for both writer and reader. Take her hand and enjoy her journey. You'll delight in every page.

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