I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A man spends a year interviewing his friend in an attempt to confront his friend’s grief head on in author’s John Robinette and Robert Jacoby’s “Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir”. 

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The Synopsis

A story of grief, male friendship, and healing conversations.

“Be present,” “cherish each day,” “always say I love you.” John Robinette lived those words. Or so he thought. Then his wife, Amy, was killed instantly in a pedestrian accident.

John’s world shattered, and he began the grueling task of parenting two young boys in a house filled with vibrant, bittersweet memories. As the grief closed in around him, John’s close friend, author Robert Jacoby, saw John struggling and proposed an unusual idea: to interview him over the course of the first year after Amy’s death. Robert’s hope was to meet John directly in his experience of sorrow, explore his grief with him, and discover what lessons might be learned.

Born of a year’s worth of candid interviews, Never Stop Dancing avoids clichéd takeaways about grief and healing to chart a deeper, thornier examination of loss and regret. Robert and John are transformed through their shared experience, too, emerging strengthened and with an abiding male friendship that cuts against the grain of pop-culture trends of quick fixes and easy answers. This memoir-in-conversation provides hard-won reassurances that one can and does go on after loss.

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The Review

This novel was emotionally and beautifully written. While steeped in tragedy and pain, the bond created by these events and the painful process of grief have given readers and the authors alike an experience like no other. In this novel, the eloquently written interviews between two friends take readers through John’s painful journey through the sudden loss of his wife. From the heartbreaking moment he’s confronted with the news, having to tell all his family about it, the first time his sons are confronted with Mother’s Day and more all bring the heartbreak and pain of loss to the forefront. 

However as the interviews grew on, both Robert and John began to examine some of life’s toughest questions in the face of such a painful tragedy. From whether or not “God” is in fact all powerful or more of a being still prone to mistakes, how we converse and treat those who have lost someone, the falsehood that somehow men are supposed to have their lives together more readily than women in the face of tragedy, and finally the ultimate lesson of living in the moment with those you love rather than worrying about a future that hasn’t happened yet, all these lessons are found and experienced firsthand by the authors as they go on this emotional journey together. 

The Verdict

A truly well written, evenly paced read that challenges readers to examine life, the bonds they share with those they love and the painful truth behind grief that most self-help books and quick fixes won’t tell you. As someone who lost a close family member this year, I could relate to the author’s struggles in a lot of ways, but as the book shows as well, grief is different for everyone. Both physically and mentally the grieving process changes and grows for each individual person, and respecting that and helping those in grief to find their way through is sometimes the best way to come together in the face of tragedy. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir” by John Robinette and Robert Jacoby today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

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Robert Jacoby

I’m a poet, novelist, memoirist, and diarist. My poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in more than 20 literary magazines. My story “The Span of Blood” was selected runner up in the 2018 Haunted Waters Press Short Shorts Flash Fiction Competition; read the story here. I’m the author of three books: Dusk and Ember(2019, novel); There Are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes(2012, novel); and Escaping from Reality Without Really Trying: 40 Years of High Seas Travels and Lowbrow Tales(2011, nonfiction). The book’s website is escaping-from-reality.com and has audio clips of the interviews, an FAQ, and more. My new book, Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir, is forthcoming October 2019. I’m currently working on two new novels.

Visit my other sites around the web to see what I’m all about:

• robert-jacoby.com

• Facebook page

• Amazon Author page

• LinkedIn page

John Robinette 

After the death of his wife Amy Polk, John began journaling on his blog Hole in the Sun about his journey and has contributed to Elephant Journal.

John has a B.S., and M.S., in Management Science and spent the first 25 years of his career as a software engineer, IT professional, and project manager. After Amy’s death, he shifted his focus towards helping people be more successful and find more joy in their careers.

When he is not writing, John is an organizational development and leadership coach with the Center for Leadership and Organizational Change at the University of Maryland. He is also a principle at V-Teamwork, a company using immersive virtual game simulations to build trust and accelerate collaboration in teams.

John has a passion for the natural world and environment and met his current wife Lori on GreenSingles.com. They live in Takoma Park, Maryland with John’s sons Adam and Bryan along with three rescue pets.

https://hole-in-the-sun.com/

Anthony Avina, (Born March 1990), is an author, a journalist, and a blogger. Born in Southern California, he has battled through injuries, disabilities, moves back and forth across the country, and more, yet still maintains a creative voice that he hopes to use not only to entertain but to inspire hope in even the darkest situations. He writes short stories and novels in several genres, and is also a seasoned journalist for the online magazine, On Request Magazine, as well as the popular site TheGamer. Having grown up reading the books of Dean Koontz and Stephen King, they inspired him to write new and exciting stories that delved into the minds of richly developed characters. He constantly tries to write stories that have never been told before, and to paint a picture in your mind while you are reading the book, as if you could see every scene of the book as if it were a movie you were watching. His stories will get your imaginations working, and will also show that in spite of the most despairing and horrific situations, hope is never out of reach. He am always writing, and so there will never be a shortage of new stories for your reading pleasure. http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

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