Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: Real

About the book
"Real" is a collection of 60 inspirational stories by Shelley Malcolm, with photos by Terilee Dawn Ouimette. The stories are deeply revealing, while the photos are anonymous, focusing only on each subject’s hands. Subjects range from adolescent to elderly, from former gangster to humble homeless, international refugee to hero-housewife, from pro athlete to Hollywood celebrity.   Here is a link to view the video trailer:  Proceeds from "Real" go to various charities.  Visit for more information.

My thoughts
I enjoyed the small insight I was able to get into a variety of lives and the epilogue at the end, brings a semblance of closure to my involvement in their lives.  The stories not only cover a variety of people and slices of their lives, but covers a broad area of life topics, such as hope, love, courage, and renewal.  I found the stories to be inspiring and heartwarming and the photography is stunning.  I will never look at, or even think of, hands in the same way again.  The photos did a fabulous job of capturing the stories and lives of the hands they showed.  Overall, the book brings the reader to the realization that the only way to make it through this life is to be the real you.  In fact, one of the opening quotes to the book, has become a favorite of mine.  It is by Margery Williams, from her book, "The Veleveteen Rabbit".  Skin Horse says to the Velveteen Rabbit, "Real isn't how you are made.  It's a thing that happens to you... Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."   This quote perfectly captures just what this book is about.

I recommend this  book for anyone who enjoys peering into the lives of everyday people and who need to be uplifted.  This is the type of book that you can open and read just 1 or 2 stories at a time and does not need to be read in order, or you can sit down and read it cover to cover in a few sittings. 

About the author
While "Real"  is her first published book, Malcolm is no stranger to creative projects, as co-owner and restorer of an historic chapel, La Perla del Mar in Shell Beach, CA, and a set designer for theater and film. Shelley Malcolm was named Pismo Beach’s Citizen of the Year in 2011 for her extensive contributions and involvement in the community. Proceeds from the book will benefit the Alzheimer’s Foundation and other charities. Shelley Malcolm graduated from University of Southern California with a degree in dental hygiene. For more information, please visit or Shelley Malcolm resides in Shell Beach, California with her husband, Doug. 

Shelley has four adult children. Her interests include painting , drawing, sculpting, building, playing piano and other musical instruments, outdoor activities including hiking, ocean kayaking, running, water and snow-skiing, international travel, sewing, reading, writing and others. Visit for more information.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes. My opinion is my own and was not influenced by anyone else.


  1. Thanks Danielle for your kind words! I have loved the Velveteen Rabbit quote for a long long time too!

  2. Ruth D, Shell Beach, CADecember 15, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    I loved your comment, "I will never look at, or even think of, hands in the same way again." I've always loved my hands for their familiarity and how great they are at so many things that I've loved doing in my life, like refinishing furniture, building things out of wood, metal, or just anything, lightening-fast typing and 10-key, counting money as a bank teller faster than anyone else, guitar picking, serving others, holding babies, riding a mountain bike, caring for my animals... But I have always been so self-conscious of how my hands look, wishing that they were prettier and more feminine, like my mom's and my sister's. But "Real" makes me grateful for the life that I live and that my life is joyously evident in my hands. Thanks for this review!