By Cole Cronk, Special to the NB Indy
“Unapologetic: Tales of the Original Party Crasher” by Newport Beach author Caroline Nadine Helsing is a touching book about Caroline’s spectacular mother, Lea, and the interesting life she lived.
Caroline wrote the book during the pandemic after her mom passed away.
Although the title of the book refers to the way that Lea lived her life, Caroline’s writing style is unapologetic as well. Her fearlessness to confront all of the complicated emotions that come with losing a parent jumps off the page.
It starts immediately in the dedication, when Caroline recounts a phone call with her father discussing her qualms about sharing this story that involves so many important people in her life. The end result is something special.
The chapters of “Unapologetic” look and read like a blog post; short and sweet bits of text that are easily digestible. Each one covers a phase of Lea’s life which includes run-ins with popular celebrities, unique jobs, and fun anecdotes. There were chapters I enjoyed more over others, but they move so quickly that it doesn’t take long to come across one that inhibits a chuckle or a misty eye.
My favorite parts of the book are the sections that paint a picture of Caroline’s dad, Everett. The bold and spontaneous Lea fell in love with a man who has had one sip of alcohol in his life. The bits that shed light on how simple and traditional Caroline’s dad is make her mom an even more prominent and crazy character in part. The old saying is that opposites attract, and this mini love story within the book is proof of its accuracy. Caroline also mentions that Lea’s passing made her grow closer to her dad as she talked to him about a shared loss, which led to her writing the book.
As the book draws to a close, Caroline catches up to the last few years of her mother’s life and begins to slow down as she recounts the more recent memories. Even as her mother’s health deteriorates, Caroline keeps writing, never shying away from tragic moments like the loss of her own unborn child in the midst of Lea’s final year of life.
Overall, Caroline has written an honest memoir that stays true from the first page and doesn’t stop until it’s over. It is a story of a loving woman who danced her way through life until the bitter end.
The final chapter, “Does Life Really End,” is a poetic and hopeful ending that suggests there is more to the end of a life than death. A life that continues is held in the pages of this book, in the memories of her loved ones, and in the wisdom that the only way to live life is, indeed, unapologetically.
“Unapologetic: Tales of the Original Party Crasher” is available on Caroline’s website at https://carolinenadinehelsing.com.