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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

First Dessert First reader comments

We writers do our work in solitude. We’re alone so much that sometimes it’s hard for us to keep believing in the worth of what we do. When people tell us how our words affect them, it’s like getting the biggest hug in the world.

This is an official thank you to those who have shared kind reviews about my new book, Dessert First.

Here are some of the comments:


Your words are beautiful. I just read this about your brother, George:

"I want to put all of George's songs on a CD and print out the rock star photos of him and make a booklet of his hand-written lyrics, like Neil Young's. I want people to listen to his songs and read his words and marvel at his beautiful soul."

…I just did.

Mary B. (by email)


Your book is wonderful. I couldn’t put it down. Reading it was a nice way for me to relax at night. You touched me; your storytelling is beautiful. I saw things in nature very differently.

Judi F. (message on my phone)

You had me at the first story about the home-made kite. I love kites.

Denis Z. (in person)


The subtitle of the book is misleading. Although many of the essays in the book reference Wisconsin culture - cold winters, sweet corn, camping, boating - readers from any state will be able to relate to the themes and the lessons Grenier tackles. You don't have to be a cheesehead to enjoy the humor in "Pretending" or feel the sadness in "My Brother George, Dead and Alive." To me, the book illustrates the randomness of life and death. In one story, a small child almost drowns but is saved by two adults who act without thinking. In another poignant essay, Grenier describes how her parents and youngest brother died in a car accident that was caused by a careless truck driver. How many of us have swum too far into the deep end only to be plucked out of the water just before we ran out of breath? How many of us know friends or relatives who were in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Grenier attempts to find meaning in life and death. She makes the reader think and reach her conclusion: we must eat dessert first!

Margaret Young (reader review on


I read the book Dessert First twice in a row. It's quick reading! I gained new understanding on how to spend time during a day, week, month, year or lifetime with a heart, open to new experiences. You're at the author’s side when she meets new or old people healthy or terminal. She makes you feel as if she's taking you with her when she's in her canoe. You can almost hear the drips of the water when she paddles her canoe on a calm lake. You're right there at her side when she and her husband are talking their morning walk on snowshoes during the winter. You' feel a new sense of calm when you read what she considers important in her life. She is not afraid to have dessert first when it looks too good to resist. 

Peggy Ludeman (reader review on


Dessert First is a thoughtful collection of life experience. Some pieces are hilarious, many are thought-provoking, while others are profoundly sad. All are pieces of a real life.

If you are a Baby Boomer, you will relate to many of Ms. Grenier’s memories from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond.

If you are a nature lover, you will walk along with the author as she shares the beauty and severity of Wisconsin’s seasons (all six of them, as she will explain) with a love and acceptance that comes from having lived in the state most of her life, and of embracing the power of our beautiful Earth.

Terre Woodward (reader review on


Gail has shared her memories in this book and at the same time swept the cobwebs from tales of my own past. Knowing Gail and so many places and events that she wrote about made it a personal read and most enjoyable. I found myself rereading many of the chapters to my husband and we shared the "dessert". This was a pleasurable book to be picked up and read over again at any point in the book which I intend to do.

CJW (reader review on

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