REVIEWS for Girl with the Crooked Smile


“Powerful. A roller coaster that keeps going up until you cannot catch your breath. Truth more alarming than fiction. Riveting, Funny and Insightful. This is a book you want to share. It inspires courage. Well done, Darah Zeledon.”–MZ

“I love reading and usually only recommend books that I think are out of this world. In this case, before I do that (which I did), I need to express my feelings about it. Darah, your book simply changed my life. I am a person that, as many others, has gone through quite a lot, but saw it as sent from G-d, as part of living. Then, after your book, it simply put life in perspective and showed me that if someone had been through enough, it was you. But the way you come out after each fall, so positive, so gracefully, so humbly and with so much faith, you surely have much to teach all of us. Darah, you taught me many lessons with your book and I really want to thank you, with all my heart. I hope G-d just gives you a safe and steady journey for you and your family since I think you have proven to HIM how to take all his tests with style. And above it all, still show determination, love, faith and willingness to continue fighting…After saying all this, I loved, loved, loved your book, and being able to write to the author, makes me love it a bit more. Thank you for writing it. It changed me.” –Clodi Lalo

“This is a memoir by a fellow South Florida Mom. Zeledon has five gorgeous little kids and a doting husband. If that is not enough to keep her busy, she has bounced back from some huge kicks in the stomach including a brain tumor while pregnant with her fourth child and other tragedies including a family member’s suicide, a home invasion robbery, financial troubles and more. Sounds like a downer right? The crazy thing is, it is not. I could not put the book down and when I was done, I felt inspired. Zeledon did not take any one of the horrible situations that she was confronted with by curling up in a ball under the covers. She chose love over fear and fought hard to not only stay alive, but to live a full, happy life.Instead of just telling you her tale of woe, she explains how she was able to cope with the cards that she was dealt and gives tips on how to deal with adversity when you are faced with it in your own life. While taking you on her journey, she also gives amazing descriptions of living a privileged life as a foreigner in Latin America. I personally know lots and lots Latin Americans but never really thought about how life differs for upper class citizens in those countries and I found these portions of book fascinating. Later in the book, Zeledon moves back to the U.S. and finds herself much worse off financially and the juxtaposition between her two lifestyles is also fascinating. I’m keeping this one on my (virtual kindle) bookshelf for future reference but I also highly recommended it to a friend who is going through some really scary medical stuff right now and will recommend it in the future to others.”–Julie S.

“A truly remarkable and engaging story, Girl with the Crooked Smile evokes tears, laughter, and goosebumps. Darah’s autobiography eloquently covers topics of: resiliency, physiology, identity, socialization, and multi-culturalism through her flawless and descriptive literary expression. With Darah’s humor, wisdom, and strength the book sends an inspirational message of hope and is an admirable demonstration of her ability to stay positive and grow spiritually in spite of life’s hardships. There is a delicate balance of strength and vulnerability that I think many women can relate to. Darah is one if the bravest women I know.”–Sheree Sharkan, Nationally Certified School Psychologist

“I used to be an avid reader, but ever since having kids 3 years ago, I have not had the time or energy to read many books (other than to my kids), but I made time to read this book because I have known Darah for a long time (though we lost touch after college) and admittedly felt an obligation to her. So I reluctantly decided to get the book and after reading a few pages thinking I would give it the obligatory cursory read, was pleasantly surprised and then completely hooked! It was so well written, such a page turner that I took it to the beach with me on my vacation and could not put it down! If her story were made into a movie, it would be a romantically tragic comedy! How about that for a genre?! I want the movie rights! I am so happy I decided to read this book, Darah’s writing style is easy and simplistic, yet sophisticated enough to grab and hold your attention… her life story is unbelievable (except that it is true), her perseverance is an inspiration to anyone with a heart, and her pearls of wisdom are priceless. Kudos to Darah”–Keith L.

“Darah has made me laugh and cry, as I held my breath to think that yet another tragedy had befallen this young women. However Darah’s incredible strength, sense of humor and determination that she could overcome everything that life was throwing at her is the incredible takeaway from her inspiring story. It is an outstanding example of the indomitable human spirit – a shining guide for others facing difficulties in their lives. She has shared her most intimate thoughts and moments, provided us with her “Pearls of Wisdom”, in the hope of helping others facing life’s adversities. Beautifully written! A must read!”–Judy Turtletaub

“I have just finished this heart wrenching, inspirational memoir and still feel quite connected to the book. Parts had me crying real tears and shortly after, smiling and at times, even laughing out loud at the author’s brilliant wit and sense of humor. The author’s style of writing is gripping and each chapter presents another life lesson learned, along with her “pearls of wisdom” she shares with her readers. It’s hard to believe this brave woman’s struggle as she so passionately portrays it, but her courage, commitment to her husband and children, and “joie de vivre” reaches out to all of us and makes us stronger, more compassionate individuals. Darah truly connects with the reader and the life lessons learned are valuable tools for all of us to utilize in our daily life. Don’t stop now, Darah, – your readers anxiously await your next endeavor!” –Queenie

“What an amazing read! Not only is Darah’s memoir an incredible story, but the way she wrote her memoir was with such literary talent and ease. There was not a moment in the book that I wanted to put it down. I would highly recommend this book as virtually anyone could grab her “pearls of wisdom” and apply it to their individual lives. Darah is a true inspiration and definitely a wonderfully, talented author. Two thumbs up!”–Gregory Feiss

Girl with the Crooked Smile was riveting – could hardly put it down from the moment I started reading. Any one of the trials are enough to test ones mettle, but to think the author lived through all of these tribulations and wrote about them with humor is a lesson on how to face life. The little pearls of wisdom at the end of each chapter quickly summarize hints to help face life challenges. I know I will use this as a reference when feeling sorry for myself!”–Lorri

“Darah Zeledon is a down-to-earth, funny, intelligent and immensely strong woman. Girl with the Crooked Smile is one of those books that I just could not put down! The stories are real, descriptive, captivating, relate-able and wise.  They will inspire and uplift you. Read it.”–Evelyn Lauren, Business Ops Specialist at EMC

“Rarely, do I get wrapped up in a book that I feel the desire to finish it within a couple days. This book had me hooked from the beginning! Loved the conversational writing style of the author and how she let us into her world. A true story of motivation and inspiration to anyone going through hardship and for those who are not, a tale that will have you counting all your blessings!”–G.G.

“Darah is an amazing woman who has shared her story with thousands. It made me believe that I, too, can do what I want to do even at the ripe age of 64. Knowing her personally, I can truly say, she walks the talk of her words; she and her husband have raised a fabulous family with amazing children and still manages to write, blog, and reach out to others. She inspired me and I am sure she will inspire others.”–Nina Spinner-Sands

“This book is a true story that reads like fiction as it is full of surprises and the heroine is completely lovable. Darah’s story of keeping faith through incidents that one usually only reads about is entertaining and touching all at once. She makes you laugh, cry and feel as if you were there. Her wit and imagination make this story of real life a wonderful book.”–Promilla Johnson

“Wow! What an amazing book! I found myself staying up so late because I could not put the book down. So many ups and downs, and she never lost touch with reality! Darah is a super talented writer. With that being said, the book gave me a lot of insight into my own life and how I can use her pearls of wisdom. I have told many friends and family members about the book. I can’t wait for her next book!”–KRothschld

“Very well written and obviously quite cathartic for the author. I usually read fiction, but this story of inner strength, love of family and moxie makes one want to not only read more from this woman, but to personally get to know her!”–Harry Frankel

“Darah’s life story is nothing short of amazing and you feel like you are living each moment with her as it happens. Thank you Darah for letting us into your world! Its a great summer read that brings the important things in life back into focus.”–Christian Panagakos

“This book was fantastic! I cried and laughed and felt like I was with Darah as she faced her trials and tribulations like the warrior I know she is! I’m in awe of my dear kindergarten friend who I sat next to as we graduated from college and who is now the mother of five, a devoted wife, and a published amazing author!! This is not just a must read, but a keeper!”–Alyssa F.

“What a page turner! This is one book that I couldn’t put down. It’s hard to believe that Darah, by the age of forty, had experienced so many tragic life changing situations. It makes one realize how important a loving family, good friends, and faith in God help to give us the strength to pull through life’s adversities. Her sense of humor and words of wisdom are very effective in her writing style. While reading ,you can feel Darah’s high energy, optimism and passion for life. It makes you appreciate how important it is not to sweat the small stuff. Darah’s life story is an inspiration to all that read it.” –Nancy Gronich

“I read a lot of inspirational books and this one really captured my attention. The author’s openness and vulnerability drew me in — she took me through her ups and downs and I found her hopefulness both refreshing and uplifting. I found myself flipping back to reread her lessons (the author calls them “pearls”). I have recommended this book to several friends and we just choose it for our next book club so we can all discuss how we would have tackled each twist in this riveting book. I loved it and can’t wait to discuss with the rest of my group!”–T. King

“Darah Zeledon’s book was exceptional. It made me laugh, cry and gave me insight on how to get through difficult times in my own life. Darah is a very gifted writer. I finished the Girl with the Crooked Smile in two days. Once I got started I could not put it down. Darah keep on writing and I for one will keep on buying your books.”–Jerry Riz

“A very well written emotional and inspiring book. A reminder to always keep fighting and that the saying “this too shall pass” is real. Faith can get you through!”–D. Aponte

“This book is so powerful, I could not put it down. Darah is quite the writer. Her story is amazing, quite a woman.” –Judy Carlish

“Reading Darah’s book I was inspired by her strength and ability to handle devastating circumstances. As it turns out, toward the end of reading her book, my dad was tragically killed in an accident. I found the strength to cope with such a huge loss thanks to this inspiring book. I highly recommend anyone to read her amazing life story. Thank you for sharing your most intimate moments. Forever Grateful, Taimir Terrell”

“What a page turner! This is one book that I couldn’t put down. It’s hard to believe that Darah, by the age of forty, had experienced so many tragic life changing situations. It makes one realize how important a loving family, good friends, and faith in God help to give us the strength to pull through life’s adversities. Her sense of humor and words of wisdom are very effective in her writing style. While reading ,you can feel Darah’s high energy, optimism and passion for life. It makes you appreciate how important it is not to sweat the small stuff. Darah’s life story is an inspiration to all that read it.”–Nancy Gronich

Girl with a Crooked Smile” is an inspiring read. It is the true account of someone who took adversity and turned it into success, with a bright, crooked smile on her face!”–Ana Karla Gherman, Human Resources Expert

“Darah Zeledon’s Girl with the Crooked Smile is certainly an encouragement to anyone who has had trials in this life. Her strength, faith and attitude to persevere in the most trying of circumstances jumps off the page and into your soul. I was intrigued and glued to the pages by her resolve to keep going and wanted to know what propelled her to do so. Darah’s book is both heart-wrenching and heart-warming and it was a joy to get this intimate look into her life.” –Chris Bonavita-Plunkett, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Non-profit guru

“This amazingly written memoir will take readers on an emotional roller-coaster as the writer walks them through her life–a story of nightmares, dreams and ultimately, of hope. You will find the pearls of wisdom that encapsulate each chapter incredibly inspiring–a true lesson of maturity from a very grateful author.” –Sally Sacca Abadi, Professional translator, Advocate

Girl with the Crooked Smile got me, right where it really counts. The part of you that’s terrified, hopeful, wistful, and determined, all at once, and never quite sure how thing are going to turn out. Her vulnerability is the shining thread that weaves it all together, and it’s beautiful.  This is not a “look at me and see how fabulous I turned out!” kind of book, but a look at a set of rotten cards, without regret or self-pity, giving us a chance to see her whole internal thought and heart process, eventually leading to the Pearls.  They shine, because we get to feel what forged them.” –Bethany Rule Vedder, Owner at, Marketing Consultant at Jacquard Associates, Owner at Thin Line Design

“Darah’s story is packed with emotional as well as physical upheavals – yet she comes through with resilient fortitude.”–Penney Weiner, Real Estate guru, writer

“I loved this book, and I’m not a fan of self-help kinds of things but this book is far from that. It’s a memoir, with bonuses. It’s funny, draws you in, and most of all it’s not anything like “poor me” but more of a “come with me and feel what I felt” kind of journey. Intimate, raw, and vulnerable. The pearls are parts that I’ll go back to when I get kicked in the teeth :). Darah is a remarkable woman, and I’ll be glad to read more when she’s got more to share, personal or not.”–Bethany Vedder

“Most riveting book that you will not want to put down until you are finished! This a story that is not “Hollywood” but so true in every detail. I can not wait to read future books written by Darah.”–Ira Kent

“The author tells her story in a candid, conversational way, which makes the book easy to read. It’s heartbreaking to read all the hurdles and obstacles she overcomes in her life, but it’s equally compelling to read the ways in which she copes and survives.”–S. Giulianti

“Powerful, riveting, and soulful, Darah Zeledon’s memoir teaches us the values of love and imperfection. Darah combines themes of marriage, motherhood, and family, interlacing them with elements of her Jewish faith and adopted Latin American home to tell her story. A feisty, adventurous soul, Darah faces pain and adversity with optimism. But she also has a breaking point. And this book teaches us how she made it through the most difficult of circumstances, persevering through shock, depression, frustration, and immense hardship, and coming out the other side as stronger, loving, and more wonderfully imperfect woman. Darah is authentic, charismatic, and one-of-a-kind. And as her memoir develops, Darah’s true voice, clever explanations, and self-deprecating humor become even more infectious and entertaining; good luck putting this book down! And by the time you’ve finished the book, you too will be seeking out Darah Zeledon as the inspirational speaker for your next event.”–Lori B.

“What a inspirational story! Darah you are a model of strength, courage and the refusal to give up. Keep that crooked smile on girl….God clearly has huge plans for you!!!!” –J. Karay

“I started and finished this book while on holiday with my family. Darah’s journey is a testament to the enduring human spirit. While reading her pages in what seemed a series of unfortunate events I wonder if I would have been as strong. Conversations with family remained during our holiday focused on the Judaic interpretation of the story of Job. No other family member was reading Darah book- but I find her story like Job. The lesson and my personal pearl of wisdom is to always have something with fighting for. Something worth living for. Overall her book was a journey into the strength and delicacy of life. I loved reading about the underlining love story with her dedicated husband- as a hopeless romantic- it was a joy to read about such unrelenting dedication and love! Cheers to them both and their awesome kids! I am ready for book 2…why not make a series!”–Miamigirl

Girl with the Crooked Smile is a riveting book which was difficult to put down and a book that I read in one day. Darah took me through a journey of many difficulties. There were tears and laughter but I was left with a feeling of inspiration and hope that all is possible with a loving family and friends by your side and the courage to endure. I look forward to Darah Zeledon’s next book.” –Maddie Phillips

“I had heard of Girl with the Crooked Smile through a friend and couldn’t imagine how she could rave so about a book. Having read the book, I could see how. And here I am, raving about the book! How one gal could experience so many life-altering situations in life, I couldn’t imagine. After all, this is NON-fiction. My first reaction in reading the first few chapters was realizing the spirit of the author. Her strength and spirit jumped off the pages and filled my own spirit and heart. I found myself feeling her words. And consequently found myself able to handle once-before stressful situations with a new-found confidence. It was like “I can do this…Go, girl go!” Hello Darah’s “Pearls of Wisdom!” And that was just the beginning. With a new found strength which carried me over once stressful situations, I was on my way!” –Judith Robaina

“Girl with the Crooked Smile by Darah Zeledon is a passionate story of hope, self-discovery and transformation as one girl triumphs through much tragedy to break free and honor her inner passion … a real page turner and must read experience. Thank you Darah for the raw truth, in honesty, bravery and authenticity.” –Jodi Nicholson

“As a life long avid reader of fiction as well as biographical non-fiction, I have had the extreme pleasure of being totally captivated by numerous authors during my lifetime; however, as a general rule, self help….introspective books would fall into my least favorite category. Therefore, imagine my surprise when I began reading “girl with the crooked smile”……and realizing that I couldn’t put it down. Dara’s writing skills are so good that they are hard for me to describe—other than saying her precise choice of words, the rhythm of her story, the manner in which you actually “feel” what she is saying…topped off by her valuable pearls of wisdom, are truly remarkable. I guess you could say that I “sort of” liked the book!”–Walter Hollander

“I loved this book so much I couldn’t put it down and finished it in two days. Darah’s story is truly motivational and gives the reader a great perspective on what is truly meaningful in life and what we do not have control over and therefore should not focus on or worry about. This book was such a great reminder on the importance of maintaining one’s sense of humor and an attitude of gratitude during difficult times. Darah’s ongoing perseverance in the face of repeated, extreme life experiences was so inspiring. I will be using this book with clients and recommending it to friends.”–Danielle Price

“When I started to read the girl with crooked smile, I had no clue what to expect. The book shortly draws you in and you find yourself intertwined with the characters, dilemmas, and challenges. The personal journey itself is quite genuine as everybody could find a point through the book that they themselves have experienced a similar set of trials and tribulations. The fun part of the book is the pearls that are written at the end of each chapter, which gives a set of life lessons to take away and also reflect back on the chapter. A surprisingly fun read with touching personal story which I would recommend… “–Omsreadz

“Words cannot express how timely and impacting Darah’s book, Girl With The Crooked Smile, was to my life. I had just recently lost my husband due to brain cancer/tumor. Darah’s trials mimicked mine in a way, and her resilience to not give in to the sadness, gave me encouragement.Most women my age have lived long enough to experience some of what she went through. By no fault of her own, to have to endure such hardships at a relatively young age is quite astounding! I was lured in by her clear and descriptive writing. She painted a wonderful picture of her life in such beautiful detail. Her positive outlook is refreshing, and her strength to keep going to see what is just over the horizon has inspired me to keep going as well. Thank you Darah!”–Lynne B.

Girl with the Crooked Smile is a remarkable story of physical, emotional and spiritual survival through an amazing series of misfortunes. Overcoming one adversity after another, Darah Zeledon tells her story of becoming Warrior Mom as she struggles against health problems, grief, evil people and destitution. Also a story of hope, miracles, gratitude and wisdom, Zeledon’s autobiographical masterpiece is both admirable and inspirational, giving every reader a new perspective on his or her own life.”–Robert McGreevey

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Darah’s book, Girl with the Crooked Smile! Darah has such an incredible gift, of making me laugh in between tears, while reading about the events of her life. Darah is beyond inspirational! She has found the strength to push through so many difficult times and shares with readers her “pearls of wisdom” on how we can all do the same. I can’t wait for the next book, Darah!”–Dana T.

“Fantastic fluid read! She is not only inspiring, but you can completely relate to her human conversational writing style. I couldn’t put the book down. The universal message resonates with any woman who has every lived through any life changing event. Truly engaging and I hope to see more from this author.”–N. Levy

“I started reading this book and couldn’t put it down. I finished it in 2 days because I felt so inspired to see how each event would make Darah and her family stronger and more alive each day! I realized how special her husband was and still is thru all these events. Most people would have simply given up, but Darah just wanted to show everyone that she is as strong mentally as she is physically. I will no longer sweat the small stuff and live life to the fullest. Best of luck to Darah and her wonderful family and I can’t wait to see what she write’s about in her next book. This book will definitely inspire a lot of readers to realize that our everyday events are nothing compared to a lot of people in this world and you can get thru them with family and loved ones and God’s help.” –Tinytot

“As a mother to 2 sons and 1 daughter this book is full of validation for all women and coming from many different situations. It reminds readers of the complexity that embodies all women and the inner strength that is inside each and every one of us.” –Peter Flick