Okay, this could be another shameless promotion for my latest book, Fifteen First Times, but what it really is, is a humbling share for the many of you who had the interest to read, and read and reviewed my latest tellings. I have caught up with some lovely new reviews that came in while I was on winter break, and I am thrilled to share them here with you today. Thanks again so much for reading and reviewing, and I’m so glad that many of you could relate to my stories with some of your own experiences.
This book is a collection of stories about some of Kaye’s first-time experiences with life’s most natural events. Told through the intimate conversational writing we’ve come to know from this author, poignant personal steppingstones to learning moments are revealed. She encompasses the heart of each matter with sincerity and sprinkled inflections of humor.
From first kiss to first car to walking in the desert with four-inch heels, Kaye’s short coming-of-age stories take us through her awakenings and important moments of growth, often without warning. Some good and some not, life lessons are learned through trial and error, winging it, and navigating by the seat of her pants.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Tour of LifeReviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 1, 2023
I might be in my sixth decade of life, but DG Kaye’s memoir, Fifteen First Times, brings me blissfully back in time as if I were reliving my youth. She includes tender moments, budding independence, and painful firsts. I felt as if I were sitting across the couch from Kaye, sipping crisp white wine and exchanging stories of our beloved but challenging past.
She draws you in with our commonalities as women, from our first love to menstruation, a hysterical shoe obsession, bad hair decisions, first apartments, and broken hearts. As I read through each story, I laughed, cried, and empathized with Kaye’s Fifteen Firsts. It is a bold, funny, and touching read about life’s endearing moments. An enchanting novel for fans of delightful memoirs.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Familiar FirstsReviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 2, 2023
Fifteen First Times was such a comfortable and almost conversational read that I cranked it out in one setting. While a few of the memorable firsts involved topics that pertained more to women (period, menopause, shoes), there were plenty of other subjects that involved either gender. Written in her usual honest style with moments of sadness and humor embedded, Kaye will connect with most readers. While reading about a young woman finding her way, I found myself reminiscing about my first kiss, car, heartbreak, cigarette, and many other subjects.
Most subjects were pretty light until the author shared some poignant and touching memories about experiencing the death of a close friend and then, later, her husband. Those chapters will stay with me the most as Kaye openly shares her private thoughts. I felt like I was listening in on a phone call with someone sharing their feelings with a close friend.
4.0 out of 5 stars Relatable Personal StoriesReviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 31, 2022
This recollection of fifteen events in the author’s life that shaped her entire future is an entertaining and relatable memoir.
We’ve all had those first moments of an experience we could never forget. In a personal and conversational style of writing, Ms. Kaye shares fifteen of her firsts, from a fascination with shoes to getting her period, her first car, heartbreak, apartment, learning to drive, and to her first experience with grief.
When we are kids, we have so many questions and search for answers. And while this author had an insatiable curiosity, sadly, she had no one in which to confide when she first got her period, and she had no idea what was happening to her. Thank goodness we have come forward in a time where these things are more openly talked about. I love the humor the author interjected into the stories, and many made me chuckle. The last entry in the book gripped my heart as she shared the loss of her husband, her one true love. The anguish comes across in her words. I highly recommend this personal memoir to women of all ages. There is a sprinkling of sage advice that would benefit younger women, and a feeling of camaraderie older women can experience when reading this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick and easy readReviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 19, 2023
I have read and enjoyed books by this author previously. So when Fifteen First Times released, I grabbed a copy right away. At 92 Kindle pages, this is a quick and easy read.
‘We live, we experience, we learn, we become, and we overcome.’ I loved this quote in the opening pages, which spoke to my own life truths.
In this book, the writer shares fifteen firsts–or, in some cases, almost or kind-of firsts–with the reader, along with what she learnt from each experience. Many of these, I couldn’t connect with so easily, as I didn’t need to diet as a child but, rather, struggled to get enough to eat. The same with the shoe fetish, where I used to stuff the soles with cardboard as new shoes were nowhere near my horizon. Neither did I have my father buy a new car for me or have an aunt and father who could rent me a flat. What I did connect with was the narcissistic mother, who had more concern for her own life than that of her daughter. The lack of knowledge of that first period, I could relate to strongly, as my mother failed to mention this major event completely, and I had many of the same fears and shame as did D G Kaye, which she expressed wonderfully.
While I might not have connected fully with each experience, I loved the raw honesty of this short memoir, told in a slice-of-life fashion. And the final chapter, where the author shares her utter anguish at the loss of her husband–lifelong partner and best friend–moved me deeply. The author’s outgoing personality shone through in this small book, as did her ability to make friends easily, which came through in her chatty, easy-to-relate-to style of writing. I believe that this little memoir will appeal to women of all ages–both as a cautionary tale and as inducing poignant memories of ‘the good old days’.
5.0 out of 5 stars Open, honest, poignant, and funny all in oneReviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 8, 2023
‘Fifteen First Times’ fully describes this short, entertaining read in D G Kaye’s inimitable open and honest style – no subject is too difficult to approach or describe.
As with some other reviewers, there were several experiences I didn’t relate to, but found Kaye’s explanations of them engaging and sometimes eye-opening. The one that amused me most was ‘From Blonde to Wrong’. I began experimenting with dying my own hair quite early in my teens, and also chose to go red – a colour that both my cousins have by nature, and I coveted. Unlike Kaye, my first foray into hair colouring was using henna, and I was pleased with the results, so I have continued to dye my own hair, and the only time I ever got it done at a salon was the one time it turned out so dark it was almost black and I hated it – just as happened to Kaye with her first home effort!
No matter how painful the memories of some of these ‘firsts’, Kaye does not shy away from sharing the depths of feelings she experienced, and still manages to highlight the humour that characterises her welcome positive approach to life. I’m sure everyone will find some ‘firsts’ applicable to them – well worth the read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another lovingly observed collection of stories from Kaye’s gifted writing talent …Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 16, 2023
I love Kaye’s books and this one does not disappoint. A loving collection of ‘firsts’ and the stories are all warm, witty and keenly observed by a writer who writes from a wise viewpoint. I was right there with her on First Broken Heart, From Blond to Wrong, First Loss Of A Friend, through to the heartbreaking tribute to her beloved G. We will all find a part of our history in her stories as they help us to feel seen and understood. Please keep writing!
In her opening thoughts, Ms Kaye writes “We live, we write, we experience, we become, and we overcome.” It’s this acceptance of what life throws at us, and using it as a way to move forwards, that gave me huge respect for the author. Her candour, her vivid recollections of these first landmarks in her life, and her bubbly nature offset with a deprecating humour, all contribute to the magic, poignancy and heartbreak of these revelations.
The book is written in a conversational style that brought the experiences closer to home for me. Her first kiss (“Yuck!”) and her first broken heart were so natural and relatable, and I could picture them so clearly, sympathizing with her sadness whilst smiling at her recollections. The story of her first period, though, was shocking. As she says, she was “sheltered and uninformed” and dealt with the worry and practical problems on her own until others realized what was going on. Her mother’s brutal humiliation was painful to read about.
There’s a wit and wisdom about all of these pieces. During her time on a kibbutz, she refers to herself as ‘a spoiled brat’ but her good-natured responses and ability to laugh at herself completely took the sting out of the situation and earned my admiration.
The last ‘time’ is entitled When Friends Die and was the most poignant and moving of these for me. She writes “Death doesn’t bypass the kindhearted”. There is a tribute to her beloved husband who died recently and I found it incredibly touching.
In the epilogue she concludes that we have to experience these things for ourselves and that they provide the ‘compass’ for life. Without these incidents we would never learn or have anything for comparison.
I think it’s inevitable that we remember our own encounters when we read this book and this does add to the overall appeal of the book for me. It made me reflect on my own life whilst providing an entertaining, humorous and emotional read.
Reviewed by Toni Pike
5 Stars – a pleasure to read
I loved D.G. Kaye’s new book and it even exceeded my high expectations. I’ve enjoyed books by this author before – she has a great talent for writing highly entertaining stories. This is a heart-warming collection of fifteen stories about significant firsts in her life, mainly from her early years. Kaye regarded these as “her compass for life, setting up the direction for whom and how I’d become me.”
Every story was so easy to relate to and touched a chord with me, bringing back memories of my own life. They all tugged at the heart-strings and were told with a great deal of humour and common sense, showing a wonderful zest for life. The author is not afraid to shy away from some very difficult subjects, such as her first, very traumatic experiences with menstruation.
I enjoyed all of the stories, but my special favourites were:
My First Kiss – Yuck!
First Broken Heart
My First Apartment.
Most touching of all was the final story – a heartbreaking tribute to her beloved husband.
This was a joy to read, and I give it a resounding five stars.
xThank you again for the lovely welcome back and for reading!
Thanks so much for reading and your lovely reviews 💜💙