Friday, October 15, 2010

D'Amour Road Featured on Klaudia's Cocktail

Recently, Iris Blobel discussed my novel D'Amour Road on her German radio show, Klaudia's Cocktail.

Iris does the show with Klaudia Hochhuth, and did a great job. I invite you to check it out!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Jodi Picoult Rules! A book review of House Rules

If I were trapped on a desert island and could only bring books by one fiction writer, I would choose JP. This is the fifth or sixth book that I've read by her, and she never fails to deliver. In fact, I think this is one of her best books yet.

House Rules is the story of Emma, a single mother whose husband walked out on her because he couldn't handle dealing with her then three-year-old son, Jacob, who had just been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. She also had a baby by the name of Theo.

As the story unfolds, Jacob is now 18. He does well academically -- he's nearly a genius -- but is incapable of forming social relationships because his brain isn't wired that way. So, Emma hires a social tutor for him by the name of Jess. Jess has a less than ideal boyfriend, who is often possessive, jealous and sometimes abusive. One day, Jess is murdered and Jacob, a crime buff, is charged with killing her.

As always, Picoult likes to delve into complicated legal issues, and there is a drawn-out trial, with an interesting relationship emerging between Emma and her young lawyer. Since my background is in psychology and social work, I love the fact that Picoult takes complex and pertinent social issues and weaves intricate, beautiful and heartwarming stories about them. We feel for these characters as though we know them, especially Jacob who wants so much to fit in but can't: wants to communicate but fails hopelessly. At the same time, we empathize with Theo, the forgotten child, and Emma, the one who has to do it all by herself -- superhuman mom. Picoult never fails to let us know that when one person is ill or off-balance in the family, the whole family unit is thrown off kilter.

However, this book is too long and could be cut by about 50 to 100 pages. She repeated so much about Asperger's and autism that I could have recited it verbatim myself (and yet I am no authority -- I don't know if this is really the way Asp kids are). I also felt that more attention and emotion could've been devoted to the crime victim instead of all of the attention being on the aforementioned family. Otherwise, as usual, a fantastic read and highly recommended.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Who is John Galt?

You tell me and be the first to win an electronic copy of Be Your Own Editor.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Words of Wisdom: Fearless by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna

Fear, insecurity and depression are part of the human experience, but they can be debilitating. Although fear can never be completely eradicated, it can be managed in a healthy manner, says psychologist Brenda Shoshanna. Author of The Anger Diet and Zen Miracles, Dr. Shoshanna uses many anecdotes and stories from Buddhism to demonstrate how to create an authentic self, to let go of perfectionism and blaming others, and to differentiate pain from suffering in her new book Fearless: 7 Principles of Peace of Mind.

Fearless is reminiscent in many ways of A Course in Miracles, which believes that there are only two basic emotions -- fear and love. All negative emotions, such as anger, indignation, and grief stem from a state of fear, and occur when we are not feeling or expressing love. Society encourages us to put on a false face and to care too much about what other people think; this creates phoniness. We can no longer be true to ourselves or to anyone else if we are constantly seeking approval, or wondering what others think about us. By letting go of the need to pretend to be someone else, we reduce unhappiness.

Likewise, many people are resistant to change, which holds us back. Shoshanna advocates welcoming whatever is in our lives at the moment, and being particularly attentive (or mindful) to it, even if it is painful or appears to be negative. For example, if you're diagnosed with cancer, embrace it. Look for the hidden opportunity to grow as a person. If your husband suddenly decides to leave you, let him go. Move forward. Suffering would only result if you blamed him, or yourself, and made yourself miserable. These maxims are easier said than done, but mindfulness and accepting what we can't change are tenets of all good philosophies.

Forgiveness also has healing properties. One of my favorite quotes in the book is, "It's easy to get rid of enemies. Take them to lunch. Let them be the stars. Think of ways you can give to them. Turn them into friends."

This book is not meant to be read in one sitting; it's meant to be studied. Fearless contains many pearls of wisdom, and in that respect it is not merely a pop psychology book. But, there are some areas that Shoshanna doesn't address. What about clinical depression, panic disorder and bipolar disease? Sometimes people are anxious or depressed for chemical, or even physical, reasons related to medical problems. Those may not resolve with a new attitude and perspective on life, however brilliant.

The same is true about millions of Americans whose homes are in danger of foreclosure -- a group that Dr. Shoshanna refers to in the preface of the book, but fails to adequately address within the text. It's one thing to stop worrying about what others think of you. It’s something entirely different to welcome the opportunity to be unable to feed your children or live with your family in your car.

Fearless is not a panacea for all that ails us, but it is a great starting place, and I would highly recommend it. I plan on rereading this book several times over the decades.

Sigrid Macdonald is a reviewer for

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

365 Days To Reinventing Yourself -- Achieve Anything in Just One Year

Tired of self-help books that don't change your life because you read them once and put them away? Life Coach Jason Harvey has created a one-year guide that enables you to take small steps towards achieving larger goals. So, put away your GPS. From practicing acts of kindness to observing your life and choices more carefully to taking greater risks, Achieve Anything in Just One Year provides a roadmap to success and greater peace of mind.

Treating others well is the cornerstone of happiness. When we feel down, one of the fastest ways to feel better is to do something nice for someone else. This goes hand-in-hand with forgiveness of both others and ourselves. How can we be happy if we are still blaming ourselves for something that we did years ago? We can't. Both forgiveness and doing unto others are part of a larger picture of morality, and Harvey asks us to become people of integrity. Nowadays, kids are often made to feel good for just being alive rather than for doing something worthwhile. That’s not helpful.

Each and every individual is responsible for his or her life choices and therefore situations. We have options. We are not billiard balls. Every day and every hour present new opportunities for us to make different choices, to find our passion and joy, and thus to change our path from failure to success, Harvey emphasizes.

Peace of mind is what we all aim for. How do we achieve it? By taking risks, by doing what we’re afraid of, by having fun and refusing to be workaholics, and by paying attention to the way we use our time. This includes not getting sucked into the big Internet vortex, which can rapidly eat up an evening.
Achieve Anything in Just One Year doesn't address some of life's most difficult circumstances, such as living with a disability or terminal illness, or working at a job that we hate. It assumes that we can change jobs or that we will -- or should be able to -- accept that which we cannot change, even if that’s a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer; if Randy Pausch can do it, so can you! What other attitude would you expect from the founder of the Limitless Institute?

The book price is steep, but it’s dense with information and the format is excellent. One of the reasons that self-improvement books often fail to help people is that we read them once and put them away. This book is designed to be read once a day; by doing so, it enables readers to make small changes, to see their progress, reflect upon it, feel encouraged and move forward. It’s hard to imagine someone not learning something about themselves or their world by reading this book, particularly with its focus on journaling and asking tough questions about one’s dreams, goals and directions.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Six Days a Week -- A Review of Travels with My Amp by Greg Godovitz

If you think that being a rock 'n roll star is glamorous and lucrative, think again. It's hard work with long hours and no paid holidays or vacations, according to Canadian rock legend Greg Godovitz. Bargain-basement accommodations on the way up leave much to be desired. And if you want to know where your money goes, you'd better have solid financial management or a clean, sober mind, both of which were lacking in Godovitz's rise to fame. But he doesn't regret any of it and provides all the gritty details in his stunning autobiography, Travels with My Amp. So, buckle up your seatbelt and get ready for an action-packed, cocaine soaked, music loving ride in the Goddomobile. No, wait. On second thought, unfasten your belt -- Godovitz would hate you to be restrained.

Travels with My Amp starts with Greg's teenage love for music that will last a lifetime. He comes of age during the British Invasion and quickly loses interest in school. By the time he's 15, he's playing in a band called Fludd with his best buddy Brian Pilling and Brian's older brother Ed. In 1975 Greg becomes dissatisfied and leaves Fludd to form Goddo, a rock trio consisting of Greg on bass and vocals, Gino Scarpelli (born in Italy and former Brutus lead guitarist), and Marty Morin on drums (later replaced by Doug Inglis from Ottawa, previously with Powerhouse). In 1976 the band produces an earsplitting, party animal sound that appeals to anyone who likes Rush or Journey. Hard to believe that one of Godovitz's primary influences was the Beatles, because many of Goddo's songs are hard rock, except for the beautiful ballad "Chantal;" we can more easily see the profound influence of Hendrix on Scarpelli.

These "pretty bad boys" as they deemed themselves, tour Canada and eventually the US, beginning with high school auditoriums and university pubs, and graduating to crowds of 50,000 people when they open for Aerosmith at the CNE Stadium. In his glitz and glam, and pink velvet suits, Godovitz is driven by a passion for music, entertaining and clothes; he has a maniacal energy, and is as masterful a performer as he is a writer and storyteller. We cheer when he meets his childhood idol Paul McCartney and we cry when he loses his best friend Brian to leukemia. We cringe during high-speed car chases, and growl during his drunken stupors when Greg breaks beer bottles over people's heads, dives headfirst into hotel pools fully clothed, and slices his wrist open to demonstrate to a waitress how rare he wants his steak. But before we conclude that he's hopelessly obnoxious, he beats us to the punch by saying there were times he was an asshole.

These boys rarely lacked female company and the feminists among us may find the steady parade of groupies, not to mention a flagrant sexual double standard, disconcerting. But, that's the way it was. Despite the endless sex, there's not one mention of the word condom or paternity test in TWMA -- those were the days!

There are ethical and philosophical issues involved in writing an autobiography. How much of your own life story belongs to you, since it will necessarily divulge information about other people that they may want to keep private? Godovitz is brutally candid and consequently, not always kind. He spares no one including himself, but this is precisely what makes him so endearing. We feel that we truly know Greg because we've traveled with him from his first apartment, which lacked running water and electricity, to the Sistine Chapel and Egyptian pyramids.

Goddo broke up in 1983, largely due to living in cramped quarters, personality differences, and constant pressure of working six nights a week for money they rarely saw, or blew on limousines, hotels and drugs. But they reunited in 1989 and recently celebrated their 35th anniversary, although they are all involved in other projects: Inglis with "The Bob Dylan Tree;" Scarpelli, returning to his Italian roots and working closely with his son Gene and family members in the rock band "Scarpelli," as well as classical and folk music. And Greg is producing artists, freelancing on guitar and bass, and collaborating with Paul Dean of Loverboy.

Travels with My Amp is a must read, for the rock history -- Greg met everyone from Angela Bowie to Brian Jones, to the main players in the Yorkville music scene -- and the wonderful journey from boyhood to fatherhood. It's fast-paced, well-written and razor-sharp funny. Unlike Eric Clapton, Godovitz is not particularly pensive or remorseful. Clapton wrote his autobiography to make sense of his life whereas Godovitz writes to record it; the mere fact this king of excess is alive to share his fascinating and often hilarious tales is nothing short of a miracle.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review of Blue Vendetta by Hugh Ellis

Title: Blue Vendetta
Author: Hugh Ellis

ISBN: 978-1-4392-2377-2

Publisher: Hugh Ellis (Booksurge)

Blue Vendetta
What if your precious wife died from rare complications during pregnancy? That would be a tragedy and you would be shocked and grief stricken. But if the same woman could have been saved, but had been denied care by a callous, cost-cutting healthcare management organization, that would be a different story. Your sorrow would quickly turn to rage and a desire for justice.

This is the situation that Bob Mitchell finds himself in, in Hugh Ellis's blockbuster novel, Blue Vendetta, when his lovely, 28-year-old wife Julie finally gets pregnant, after trying fertility drugs. Everything is going along smoothly and the couple is ecstatic until Julie begins to experience strange pain under her rib cage. Her otherwise excellent obstetrician Stephen Basil is perplexed. He knows that something is wrong with her laboratory levels, so he calls "Blue Star," the HMO.

Like most corporations, Blue Star is more interested in profits than people. Their dynamic CEO, John Markman, grew up with a modest family income, and vowed that he would not want for anything again. At Blue Star, Markman spent 90% of his time investing the hard earned money that people paid for premiums, to pay for essential health services, or so he claimed. Meanwhile, Markman earned a $250,000 quarterly bonus for saving the company millions of dollars. How did he save that money? By denying as many services as possible, and not adequately informing doctors or subscribers that there was an appeal process.

To complicate this, Blue Star had been granted immunity from medical liability by the government, which was simply trying to make it easier for employers to insure more people. So, Markman and his team felt secure denying legitimate requests, and Stephen Basil's request for further tests for Julie was one of them. The Catch-22 for Dr. Basil was that if his diagnosis had been proven correct, the company would have paid for the tests. But an MRI could have cost $10,000 or more. That's quite a stretch for a physician to go out on a limb by ordering the scan, because if the test had been normal, the cost would have come out of Dr. Basil's pocket. Consequently, Stephen Basil did not order the proper test for Julie Mitchell and she died unnecessarily. But her husband, Bob, just happened to be the District Attorney in Allen County, Indiana, so he sued the HMO in an unprecedented case, charging the corporation with murder.

Blue Vendetta is a powerful story and a page turner. It is clearly biased against profit-based medical insurance, and we have little sympathy for the company that takes cold and calculated actuarial risks with real people's lives. The characters are well developed, although I would have liked another chapter or two on Julie, so that I could have gotten to know her better before she died. There is an exceptionally well researched courtroom scene. The book gets off to a strong start, loses momentum about two thirds of the way through, but has a powerful finish. It is a well-written, engaging and thought-provoking drama that is particularly pertinent for the times.

Sigrid Macdonald, Reviewer for

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

D'Amour Road

D'Amour Road is the story of two best friends who are turning 40. One of them goes missing, and the other joins a massive search to find her friend in conjunction with the police, her colorful women's collective, and a younger man whom she finds especially captivating. The book explores a number of themes including female friendship, violence against women, wrongful convictions, addiction, midlife crisis, and the painful phenomenon of unrequited love.

D'Amour Road is loosely based on the Louise Ellis story. Louise was a woman in Ottawa, Ontario who went missing in 1995. She was a member of my David Milgaard support group (David was a man who was wrongly convicted of murder) and I knew Louise fairly well, although we never met in person; we talked on the phone for two years. I have used some material from Louise's story because I wanted to keep her alive in my memory and in yours.

HOWEVER, D'Amour Road is entirely fictional. My main character, Lisa Campana, is nothing like Louise Ellis. Lisa, a drug counselor, and her family are solely figments of my vivid imagination.


Dannye Williamsen, acclaimed co-author of IT'S YOUR MOVE, calls D'Amour Road an auspicious debut novel that is stunningly original.

Joan McEachern, Former Professor at Algonquin College, says that D'Amour Road is riveting and spellbinding. She started the book at 9 a.m. one morning and couldn't put it down, so she read all day until she finished at 7 p.m.

And Magnus Hardarson, Manager of Human Resources, in Mannval, Iceland, found D'Amour Road to be ravishing. He's never been to Ottawa and enjoyed the description of the Ottawa/Hull landscape. The novel is full of humor, although the story line is serious and melodramatic. The author is preeminently clever when it comes to defining human nature, Hardarson declared.

Lisa Xing of the Charlatan, Carleton University's newspaper, has this to say about D'Amour Road:

"Sigrid Macdonald makes an astonishing entrance with her sophomore publication, D'amour Road. I've recently found it quite difficult to get through all of my existential philosophy reads and explanations into relativity, so it was refreshing, to say the least, when I picked up the book and couldn't put it down.Macdonald does an amazing job of setting the background for the action, especially in portraying Tara, a 40 year-old woman going through a mid-life crisis.

"With no sexual desire for her husband, she channels her frustration to the virile young man working at the local Loeb, Alain. She feels disconnected from her teenage son and has some serious reservations on her "older woman/motherly" image. Her life is thrown into turmoil when her best friend, Lisa, disappears suddenly.

"Tara's internal monologue and first person narration is entirely believable and realistic. Her bleak worries on her age and desire for Alain is hilarious, infused with sarcastic and almost cynical stream of consciousness that helps the reader identify with her. This makes her the perfect 21st century crisis-wreaked heroine."


To read my reviews in their entirety, including the recent review by She Unlimited Magazine, and the legendary Stephen Haines , one of the top 50 Amazon reviewers, please click on the link to the right that says Sigrid's Reviews.


Every day, we turn on the TV and hear about one more woman or child who goes missing. During the summer of 2005, Natalee Holloway received extensive publicity because the 18-year-old from Alabama disappeared during a graduation celebration in Aruba. Natalee deserved that media attention but I worry about other girls and boys, or men and women who aren't quite so good-looking, do not have devoted, affluent or influential parents, and lack white skin like Lori Hacking and Laci Peterson.

Little Tamra Keepness disappeared from Regina in 2004. She was only five years old and has yet to be found. What kind of publicity is this disadvantaged, Native girl receiving compared to Elizabeth Smart of Utah, who at one point had 8000 seekers looking for her? Secondly, women just keep on disappearing!

Alicia Ross from Markham, Ontario was found dead one month after she went missing; her neighbor confessed to killing her. Right in my own home town of Nepean, Ontario an 18-year-old named Jennifer Teague disappeared on September the 8th, 2005. Her body was discovered 10 days later and no one has been charged with her murder to date.

D'Amour Road is informative. It has a social message but at heart, it's just a novel that is meant to help you to escape into another world for a few hours. Aside from the missing persons theme, the book deals with midlife crisis, unrequited love and addiction. I deliberately made my main character slightly neurotic in order to add levity to a serious topic. My favorite dramas always contain some humor!


You can purchase D'Amour Road directly from Amazon for $17.00/U.S. Just click on the links to the right. Or you can buy the book directly from me for $12/US or $14/CDN and $3.00 postage in Canada or $5.00/US to mail to the US. I accept checks and PayPal. Just send me an e-mail by clicking on the button that says Contact Me below my link section.

BUY THE E-BOOK through me for only $4.99/US. Read it right on your screen or print it out and read from the comfort of your easy chair.

Take a trip down the rocky road of love and don't forget to sign my guestbook to let me know that you were here. I value your feedback and will respond to your comments.


I am a freelance writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. My articles have been published in American periodicals such as the Women's Freedom Network Newsletter in Washington, D.C., Toastmaster International Magazine, and Justice Denied. In Canada, my works have appeared in the national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, as well as the Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario's Newsletter and Carleton University Womyn's Center's annual magazine. I also have a new article coming out in SNL Horror Magazine in December of 2008.

My interests are diverse but I am particularly drawn to women's issues and wrongful convictions. I've spent most of my adult life as a social activist in the women's movement, starting as the Political Action Coordinator and Legislative Task Force Leader of The National Organization for Women in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

My devotion to wrongful convictions stems from the work that I did with Joyce Milgaard to exonerate her son, David, who was wrongly imprisoned for 23 years and later found to have been innocent based on DNA evidence. I was the co-coordinator of the Milgaard Support Group in Ottawa and was also a member of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted.The Milgaard Inquiry began in January of 2005. Since David's case is considered to be one of the worst instances of injustice in Canadian history, it is important to discover what went wrong, and what kind of prophylactic measures we can implement in order to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to other innocent people. Check out my blog at

In addition, I am an advocate for patients and have written extensively about alcoholism, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, menopause, invisible disabilities, social phobias, panic disorder and joint replacement.My first book is a patient's guide to hip surgery. GETTING HIP: Recovery from a Total Hip Replacement traces my personal story following hip replacement, which I required after being injured by a drunk driver. I also interviewed 10 people around the world in order to gain a broader perspective on different types of recoveries and hip implants. You can read more about GETTING HIP on Sigrid's Recovery at

Of course, I blog about issues related to D'Amour Road like missing women such as Natalee Holloway, Jennifer Teague, Alicia Ross, Laci Peterson, Lori Hacking, and Tamra Keepness; the effect of race and class on the way police conduct investigations for missing women; the plight of sex trade workers and the question of legalizing prostitution (many women who have gone missing in Canada over the last 10 years have been sex trade workers); unrequited love; turning 40 and coming to terms with the aging process. The D'Amour Road blog is located at

I am also book coach, helping people to organize their thoughts in order to write their first book and to market their material, and I am a copy editor. Please send me an e-mail if you are interested in my editing services.And don't forget to make comments on the blogs or in my guestbook! I am always thrilled to hear from readers and I answer all of my mail. You can write to me by clicking on the link that says CONTACT ME.

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Sigrid Macdonald

Saturday, May 22, 2010

American Adulterer: Too Much Information?

If the name JFK makes you envision a champion of civil rights, activist for nuclear disarmament, and a handsome, charismatic leader who was brutally snuffed out before his time, after reading American Adulterer, you will never view Jack Kennedy that way again.

Jed Mercurio, a British author with a medical background, offers a fictional glimpse into what could have gone on in the sex life, physical health and mind of JFK. Mercurio portrays Kennedy as such a medically ill person that we wonder how he ever had the clarity of mind to decide whether to wear the white shirt or the blue shirt, let alone to negotiate with Nikita Khrushchev. Kennedy is on a host of medications for his Addison's, thyroid failure, and suffers with severe bouts of stomach distress. This is not to mention the incessant pain from his back, which was injured in his early years playing sports, fractured when PT 109 was blown up by the Japanese, became septic during surgery, and infected during a postop operation for a herniated disc. Wow! How could one person have such bad luck? And how could that man possibly have had the drive, and the intellectual rigor, to aspire to the highest office in the land?

I felt very sympathetic towards Kennedy reading about all of his ailments, although there was quite a bit of TMI, but the sympathy stopped the minute Mercurio provided a detailed description of Kennedys affairs. I'm not sure how I feel about sex addiction -- is it just a way for powerful men like Tiger Woods to justify their infidelity and exploitation of women because women throw themselves at them? Is it a psychological problem -- a type of sociopathy where an otherwise devoted husband has absolutely no regard for his wife or her feelings? Or is it biological? Do some men (and women) have extraordinary urges for sex that go beyond the "norm"? There are no easy answers but I had an uncomfortable feeling reading this book -- that I wasn't sure if I was really entitled to this info. Just because people are famous, or even world leaders, doesn't mean that I should know the intimate details of their physical health or sex life. On the other hand, Kennedy is part of history. And the old boys' network that kept his secrets is long gone. Maybe we're entitled to know some of this but not all.

Although this book clearly took a lot of time to write, and was well-researched and thought out, it was repetitive and too intimate a look at the man for my own taste. Mercurio succeeds in crushing whatever idolization we've had about the JFK years and the dreadful assassination. Instead, he is reduced to a skirt chasing invalid. Very sad.

Sigrid Macdonald, Author of Be Your Own Editor

Monday, March 08, 2010

Aside from dealing with missing women and domestic violence, D'Amour Road takes a frank, endearing and humorous look at the aging process. 39-year-old married Tara falls head over heels for hunky 24-year-old Alain. Midlife is a bitch! I'd rather be one of those balding guys who buys a phallic shaped car rather than an otherwise normal woman who becomes slightly crazy right before she turns 40, and begins obsessing about her weight, the color of her hair, and the attention of a much younger guy.
D'Amour Road is available for free as an online novel. Check it out at Smashwords: or Online Novels at It's Kindle-friendly and will work on a variety of devices. And the book is still in print!

If you like D'Amour Road, please review it on Amazon, and buy a paperback copy for a friend as a gift. Thanks so much and happy reading. Sigrid Mac

Monday, February 22, 2010

Book Review of The Peep Diaries

The Peep Diaries:How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors

In this post-Orwellian era, not only do we fail to worry about vast amounts of data being collected by Big Brother, but we eagerly offer reams of private information about ourselves to him on a platter, argues Toronto author Hal Niedzviecki. We blog, tweet, post videos of neighbors in embarrassing situations, plaster pictures of ourselves half naked or hungover on social networking sites, and apply in droves to participate on reality TV shows. What's going on? What fuels this need of ours to watch and be watched?

It starts with our caveman desire to belong and be part of a community, Niedzviecki explains. As social animals, we're hardwired to connect with one another and to feel special or important. Historically, people lived in small villages which fulfilled that function. Everyone knew each other and everybody's business. Everyone had a place and was acknowledged in some way. Now we're global and mobile; we don't stay in the same town, we don't have intact nuclear families, let alone extended ones, and we're becoming increasingly alienated from the church and organized religion.

We're also frantically busy. Most families have two income earners and kids who are involved in sports and afterschool activities. Where is the free time to make friends, to hang out, to relax and reflect upon our day? Enter the Internet with its seductive message -- instant friends on Facebook! If you're unpopular at school, no worries. Post videos on YouTube and become a quasi-celebrity. We expose ourselves in the hope of making genuine connections, but does it work or is it illusory?

One of the best parts of this exceedingly well researched book is that Niedzviecki claims no easy answers. Unlike other nonfiction works that assert the Net and reality TV are dumbing us down, or making the new generation the most narcissistic imaginable, The Peep Diaries understands that not everything is black and white. In fact, most things in life, including the use of surveillance cameras, social networking and reality footage are complex and contradictory. They can't easily be assessed and dismissed into one good or bad category. Moreover, Niedzviecki is a consumer who immersed himself in peep culture, not solely as an experiment but also as a lifestyle -- he's still there despite the risks involved in revealing personal information about himself, which could be used against him, or out of context, by law enforcement, neighbors, employers or advertisers.

The old Shakespearean saying, "All the world's a stage..." has never been more true. In the modern wired world, we're always acting, creating personas online to impress and capture the hearts and attention of others. We have turned ourselves into products that we pitch to each other. When we take photos now, in the back of our minds we're wondering how this will look on MySpace. If we don't like a photo, we delete it -- we act as though the moment never happened; when we're at events, including the Olympics, we're stopping to tweet about how much fun we're having. If we're having that much fun, how can we stand to stop in order to tweet? The Peep Diaries has no easy answers for these hard questions, but it gives us all a starting place to look at our comfort with "oversharing," obsessively tracking and incessantly micro-blogging in search of an emotional connection that may always elude us electronically.