Saturday, July 28, 2018

Chiseled: A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity, and Divine Wine by Danuta Pfeiffer

Chiseled: A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity, and Divine Wine by Danuta Pfeiffer. Narrated by Danuta Pfeiffer.
*Readers' Favorite International Gold Medal Winner; Eric Hoffer Finalist Award*

Publication Date: (Audio) May 22, 2018
Publisher: Audible Audio Book
Length: 13 hours 22 minutes

Publication Date: February 12, 2015
Publisher: Luminare Press
Pages: 426

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Chiseled: to cut, to pare, shape with a chisel, to cut close,to employ unfair practices to obtain an end, to cheat, to defraud, to trick
Through betrayals and loss and her search for redemption an idealistic journalist becomes the unlikely co-host to a television evangelist bent on becoming the president of the United States. When her past catches up to her, she is caught in the cross hairs of politics and religion.


HALL WAYS REVIEW:  Audio and Print Review. I read this book in print three years ago, and when the author contacted me and asked if I’d listen to the new audio book format, I jumped at the chance. Even three years later, I remembered well the details of the book. Danuta Pfeiffer's Chiseled: A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity, and Divine Wine is the amazing story of Danuta's life -- filled with deception, devastation, and determination -- that takes readers on her courageous journey.  Told in three parts, Danuta begins at her beginning, as a god-fearing child, living a spartan life, under a father she revered despite his abusive hands. Her father's stories of obstacles he'd overcome in the war, in the most brutal of circumstances, carried Danuta through her own travails time and again, even as her father continued to reject her.  

“Women were expected to be seen but not heard. To be instructed but not instruct. To praise the Lord and pass the potatoes
-- but not to preach.”

For readers who remember Danuta (then Soderman) and her mysterious departure from being the co-host of The 700 Club with Pat Robertson, details are revealed of not only her departure, but of how CBN and Robertson operated behind-the-scenes. This provides fascinating insight into the sometimes-sordid world of televangelism, and it ultimately leads to Danuta's "losing God" for some time.  As Danuta navigates her life - out of work, married to an addict, and questioning the very existence of God - she always draws strength from her father's challenges and perseveres.  When she finally allows friendships into her life and allows herself to focus on her own needs, she finds true love with a winemaker, Robin Pfeiffer. Robin takes Danuta to Poland, where Danuta connects with her father's family, and discovers the truth and lies of her father's past.

"Memory is wickedly elusive and necessarily subjective.
Ultimately, this is the memory of a lie."

Many of her sentences are stunning, and the imagery truly takes the story to another level. For example, in talking about her father's decline into depression, Danuta wrote, "His change took place the way a shoelace comes undone, gradually unravelling what was once secure."  Or, when she speaks of her time with The 700 Club, she summarizes it by saying, "I had become a spiritual drug dealer imbued with the halo of power and celebrity, associated with the brokers of money and politics." Her characterization is excellent so that readers not only witness actions but understand and feel Danuta's emotions towards the characters who have the most impact on her life.

Particularly powerful is the story of Danuta's mother, Patricia, who is truly the hero of Danuta's life. In Patricia's strength and commitment to her family, Danuta finds a role model in a time when women were restricted by societal limitations. Throughout Danuta's life, her faith and relationship with God go through many iterations, and it is interesting to see her thought process at all stages and what ultimately leads her back to a life of faith. Sprinkled throughout the text were photographs from various times in Danuta's life, which enriched the story even further.

ABOUT THE AUDIO BOOK: One word: OUTSTANDING. I loved this memoir when I read it, and I loved it when I read it with my ears and heard the author narrate her life for me.  It makes the already intimate feeling memoir feel even more intimate, more real (and more painful), and her triumphs more glorious. Pfeiffer’s training serves her well as her narration is perfectly paced and her voicing of various characters really enriches them. The voicing of her Polish relatives was particularly good. She nailed everything from the humor of her Uncle Frank to the awkwardness of his translating for others and the pain and confusion as Danuta tried to reconcile the father she thought she knew with the man his Polish family knew him to be.

Chiseled is a masterfully written story of a woman spending a lifetime searching to find peace, love, and acceptance within herself.  At times, readers will have to remind themselves that Chiseled is a memoir and not fiction. It is unbelievable that any one person endured all the heartache and challenges that Danuta faced, and even more amazing that she survived it and now lives a healthy, happy life.  I highly recommend Chiseled, as Danuta Pfeiffer eloquently shows that truth can be more dramatic and fascinating than fiction. Readers be prepared to be angry -- and possibly shed a few tears -- but in the end, feel inspired. 

Thank you to the author for reaching out to me and offering an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danuta Pfeiffer graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in Communications and Journalism with a minor in Philosophy.  She is a community activist, the author of three books, a motivational speaker, and a long-distance bicycle rider. She married Robin Pfeiffer, an Oregon wine grape grower she met through her newspaper ad.  He proposed in 12 days and they have been making wine and love together for more than 20 years.

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90 minute documentary -- coming soon!

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