Posted in reviews

Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir by John Robinette and Robert Jacoby Review

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/

Posted in reviews

O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss And A Year Of Mourning by Lee and Andrew Fernside Review

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

An emotional and reflective collection of essays, poetry and more bring the lives of celebrities lost in 2018 to the forefront in authors Lee and Andrew Fernside’s “O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and a Year of Mourning”. 

The Synopsis

O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and Mourning is an artists book created by siblings Andrew and Lee Fearnside. This book mourns celebrities who died in 2016: David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Gwen Ifill, Alan Rickman and 11 more. Relief print portraits are paired with personal narratives by 23 writers from around the country, including poet laureates, journalists, community organizers, professors and activists. Winner of the 2018 IPPY Independent Voice Award.

The Review

This was a beautifully written collection. The illustrations and personal connection felt between the authors and those the world lost in 2018 was felt immensely. Showcasing the way these celebrities and influential people impacted the authors highlights how those in the public eye have more influence and connections to the world at large than anyone truly realizes. 

Normally these reviews are focused solely on the book itself, but in order to perfectly capture the book’s emotional connection with readers, it’s only fitting to mention the personal connection I had as a reader with the book. 

The two chapters that spoke to me the most involved Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. This year, as many of you know, I lost my grandmother on my mom’s side, whom I was really close to. Six years or so before that we lost my grandfather on my mom’s side, and so it has been a heartbreaking year personally. However one thing that always makes me feel close to them is Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

My father was a carpet installer for his entire life, and one of the clients he worked for was Debbie Reynolds. As he was working, Carrie Fisher as a young child jumped onto his shoulders and asked for a piggy-back ride. Debbie Reynolds apologized but he laughed and obliged, and the young Carrie Fisher got her wish. Personal stories like that have always made me feel connected to my wonderful grandparents, and these two chapters opened up those emotions wholeheartedly, showcasing the author’s powerful approach to the topics as a whole.

The Verdict

This is a must read novel of 2019. While these celebrities hail from 2018, the message and impact of those losses resonates still as 2019 comes to a close. An emotional journey to discover how people as a whole impact our lives and the journey to come to terms with their loss. A beautiful way to honor and keep these memories in our hearts, be sure to grab “O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and a Year of Mourning” by Lee and Andrew Fernside today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.chimeraprojects.art/