Posted in reviews

Wasted Youth: A Flint Punk Rock Memoir by John Ribner Review

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

In a bid to escape toxic and abusive surroundings, Flint, Michigan native J.P. Ribner found solace in his pursuit of Punk Rock glory, and in this memoir the author holds no punches as he explores his journey to find self-worth and in the end discover himself in the memoir, “Wasted Youth: A Flint Punk Rock Memoir”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

In Flint, Michigan, the water isn’t the only thing that’s toxic!

Growing up in Flint left its mark on J.P. Ribner. Punk rock offered an escape from his abusive surroundings. At 16, he set out to become the singer in a punk rock band.

In this gritty, hard-hitting memoir, Ribner shares his experiences with:

  • Dysfunctional family dynamics,
  • Back-stabbing band politics,
  • A drive-by shooting,
  • Being de-platformed,
  • A drugged drink,
  • Violent identity politics,
  • Divorce,
  • The loss of friendships,
  • And much more.

Ribner’s writing pulls no punches. He daringly shares the blistering details of his desperate search for self-worth. He ends with a brutal deconstruction of his fiery disaster.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, he offers hope by sharing life lessons he’s learned along the way.

The Review

This was such an insightful and gritty memoir! The author does a fantastic job of painting a picture of life growing up both personally and as a whole in Flint, Michigan in the 1980s and beyond. The detail and the emotion that the author puts into his writing as he describes some of the harrowing moments of his life, from his first betrayal from a former band member to the abuse both verbally and physically he suffered at home and even the shocking events that led to the author losing the friends who had always been in his corner. 

What really stands out in this narrative is the expertise with which the author balances setting with a theme in this memoir. The town and era for which this story takes place really capture the real experience of not only life in Flint, Michigan but the familiar but crucial nature that drove so many young people to embrace and love the punk-rock scene. As a fan of the rock genre overall, it’s always fascinating to see the path that brought musicians of all kinds to the bands and genres they loved. This, blended with the introspective nature of the memoir’s narrative that saw the author examining not only the foundation for his youth’s hardships, but his role in both his failures and his successes later in life, made this a true one-of-a-kind read.

amzn_assoc_ad_type = “banner”; amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”; amzn_assoc_region = “US”; amzn_assoc_placement = “assoc_banner_placement_default”; amzn_assoc_campaigns = “audible”; amzn_assoc_banner_type = “category”; amzn_assoc_isresponsive = “true”; amzn_assoc_banner_id = “0S6C9RC4J0QCW7HD2PG2”; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “authoranthony-20”; amzn_assoc_linkid = “924715ead47ba754d9cc1ec8bc85b483”; //z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&Operation=GetScript&ID=OneJS&WS=1

The Verdict

A brilliant, honest, and engaging memoir, author John P. Ribner’s “Wasted Youth” is a must-read nonfiction book. The relatable and memorable way the author delivers the heartfelt and at times brutal reality of his life growing up, and the lessons that led from heartbreak to hope found, made this a mesmerizing and enlightening read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Born in Flint, Michigan. Raised by narcissists. Novelist. Singer. Songwriter. Martial artist. Social critic. Victim of a drive-by shooting. Author of “Wasted Youth: A Flint Punk Rock Memoir” and four other books.

Posted in reviews

Custom Justice by Amanda Blackwood Review

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

TRIGGER WARNING: BOOK DEALS WITH SUBJECTS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, ABUSE, AND THEMES RELATED TO THESE SUBJECTS. READER DISCRETION ADVISED.

Author Amanda Blackwood shares her harrowing story of survival after escaping human trafficking and striving to get her own brand of justice through sharing the truth in her memoir, “Custom Justice”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

It’s hard enough to escape human trafficking, but how does someone survive the aftermath of continually being hunted for years to come? I was young when the abuse started. It came from every angle. Struggling for many years, I wasn’t sure I’d ever have a chance at a normal life with real love and true happiness. At the age of 31 I figured I was too old for that sort of thing. I’d been abused in the past, but this time I was finally going to have a happy ending. I was moving to a foreign country to get married to a police officer I’d known for seven years. I would finally be happy. I had no idea that my entire life would change once more, and I’d be forced to either subject myself to abuse beyond anything I could ever imagine, or end my life unceremoniously, death by train. The man I thought I loved exploited me beyond comprehension. The damage he left behind will haunt me for the rest of my life. There is no way to seek court justice across international borders against a police officer in a corrupt system. Instead, I seek my custom justice simply by sharing the truth with the world. It’s been 10 years since I escaped, beating all odds. Most don’t survive. I know that now, I didn’t know that then.

The Review

This is a heartbreaking yet vital read for those who want to educate themselves about the perils of human trafficking, what constitutes human trafficking, and overcoming abuse as a whole. The vulnerability the author writes with when exploring her past and the moments that defined so much of her life really bring this subject to life vividly, exploring experiences far too many people have in general in the lives that they never knew could be considered abuse or a form of trafficking. 

The balance of personal memories and emotions with the descriptive and haunting way the author delves into her experiences makes this book feel important and engaging with the reader. The way the author writes also showcases an underlying theme of overcoming the odds, finding hope again, and making a life outside of the one filled with trauma, which so many people can relate to. 

A Mountain of Entertainment

The Verdict

A harrowing, emotional, and well-told story of survival and hope, author Amanda Blackwood’s “Custom Justice” is the must-read non-fiction memoir that any and all survivors of abuse and trafficking will not want to miss. Educational for those who have not experienced this before, the author’s story is important and memorable, and while often painful to read the more harrowing experiences the author shares from throughout her life, reading these experiences may well one day help others to feel connected and not alone, leading this book to be a must-own story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Amanda Blackwood is a survivor of human trafficking and an avid writer. A portion of every book sale goes to local organizations in the state of Colorado to help rescue other victims of human trafficking and offer them a better chance at life.

Check out more books by Amanda Blackwood on Amazon.

– Detailed Pieces of a Shattered Dream

– The Miller Miles

– Twisted Fate – poetry from a survivor

– Thirty Synchronized Woodpeckers

– The Shack in the Woods

– The Unlikely

– Custom Justice

– New Hope

…More coming soon!

https://detailedpieces.com/

Posted in reviews

Reflections of an Anxious African-American Dad by Eric L. Heard Review

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

A father speaks to his son on the experiences of his own childhood in an effort to connect those experiences to the anxiety and challenges of parenthood in author Eric L. Heard’s “Reflections of an Anxious African-American Dad”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

The purpose of this book is an awkward discussion of Eric Heard’s life to his son. He talks about his life in a candid way that tries to explain his anxiety as an African American dad. It is an open and honest account of his life through the life of a child that has been through a lot in his life. It is a reflection on his life that has been shaped by his childhood experiences.

The Review

This was such a brilliantly written and emotionally driven memoir. The personal nature of this particular memoir really helps readers to feel connected not only to the message this novel creates but to the author himself and his struggles both with his past and his anxiety to be the best parent to his son possible. Stemming from a fear that his son would go down a path of chaos and bad decisions, the author recognizes his behavior not only directly impacts his son and his perceptions of the world, but how his own past and the adults in his life have impacted his actions in the present. 

This is not only a great examination of learned behavior and environment on the growth of a child, (examining the author’s life and childhood growing up in the American South during the ’70s, 80’s and beyond), but in particular, this is a much needed and thoughtful look at the experiences African-American children undergo and the added pressures that African-American parents have to help raise their child in a nation that still houses too much racism. Combine this with the personal stories the author shares of his relationship with his parents, his grandparents, and the relationship between his parents and his grandparents together, and the reader gets both an intimate look into the author’s life and a broader look into the life of an African-American parent in the United States today.

The Verdict

A meaningful, insightful, and thought-provoking memoir, author Eric L. Heard’s “Reflections of an Anxious African-American Dad” is a must-read nonfiction book of 2021. While a short read, the book has a major impact, speaking to parents and in particular African-American parents as the book takes an intimate look into the author’s personal stories and showcases how our childhood and the way adults interact with children do have an impact on their lives later on. A truly meaningful book that is not to be missed, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Eric L. Heard currently lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky with his wife, Sonya, of 17 years and his son, McKinley. Eric is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Engineering. He also has a Master’s Business Administration from Indiana University and Master’s of Manufacturing Operations from Kettering University. He is an Army Brat who has lived in the Southeast United States, Germany, and Japan. Please contact me at ericlheard@hotmail.com, if you have any questions or need to contact me.

https://www.bookbub.com/books/reflections-of-an-anxious-african-american-dad-by-eric-l-heard

Posted in reviews

Red Earth Diaries by Jason Rebello Review

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

Two newlyweds from another country throw caution to the wind and travel the country they plan to call home in author Jason Rebello’s “Red Earth Diaries”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis 

A one-way ticket to Australia…two months of travel…and a shoestring budget.

In Red Earth Diaries we meet Jason and Ambika, a newlywed couple who migrated to Australia with the hope of a fresh start. However, unlike most migrants, they made a bold decision to postpone their settlement plans, throw caution to the wind and backpack in Australia on a shoestring budget. Their intention was to learn about the country and its people first-hand … a land they would someday call home. Swimming with sharks, cuddling cute koalas, chartering private helicopters, venturing deep into ancient rainforests, and getting to know plenty of locals – the couple had incredible experiences in this stunning country.

Their travel story is interwoven with snippets of history and provides the reader with a glimpse of Australia as viewed through the eyes of newly arrived migrants. Join Jason and Ambika on their spectacular journey of discovery. Red Earth Diaries is founded on four primary pillars: a migrant’s journal, a travelogue, a delve into Australian history, and an inspirational tale.

The central message of the book is for everyone to chase their dreams – however distant and impossible they may seem. Moving to Australia has been one seemingly impossible goal the author had set decades ago, and he likewise urges the reader to shed all reservations and to dream the wildest dreams possible. The Preface of Red Earth Diaries is called Dreamtime, and in it, the author describes the evolution of his journey to this strange and peculiar wonderland.

As a travelogue, the book harkens to all travellers as well as migrants who are already in Australia or who are thinking of making the move to this beautiful country. The book also contains stories of local Australians the couple met along the way. In it you will meet, amongst others – Helen, a 10-Pound-pom; Rowland Mosbergen, a sprightly man in his eighties who survived the horrors of WWII in a remote jungle in Bahau; Rafael and Nadia and their three kids based in Research, Victoria; Ranjit, a practising surgeon and his wife who are based in Kew, Melbourne. The travelogue aims to deliver an essential message to all migrants in Australia – to not take this country for granted and to try to understand and embrace its culture first.

Some Key Personalities mentioned: Paul Hogan, Ned Kelly, Steve Irwin, Captain Cook, Burley Griffin, Gregory Blaxland, Jorn Utzon, Eddie Mabo

Some key historical events described: The Endeavour striking the reef, finding a passage through the Blue Mountains, the discovery of gold, the naming of Sunshine Coast, the birth of Canberra as the nation’s capital, the iconic rail journeys in Australia, WWI and WWII, Early colonization, construction of Hume Highway, Blackbirding, construction of Opera House.

Charity Donation: Five per cent of all profits from the sale of this book in the first year of publication will be donated to the Red Cross towards the 2019–20 bushfire crisis management (www.redcross.org.au) and a further five per cent will be also be given to aged care in India through Help Age India (www.helpageindia.org).

The Review 

A wonderful blend of travel, memoir, and history, author Jason Rebello has done an incredible job bringing this book to life. The non-fiction story gives readers a unique perspective on not just general travel but immigrating to an entirely new country, as the newlywed couple immerses themselves in the culture and history of Australia while experiencing the nation firsthand. 

The author does a great job of sharing the experiences of their adventures and their relationship and the history and culture they were experiencing. The way in which the author brought that spirit of travel and adventure so many seek was felt throughout every chapter, while the attention to detail on Australia itself was fantastic to see unfold. From the nation’s history and pop culture to the nation’s strict quarantine procedures and so much more, the author poured so much culture and heart into this story, creating a truly interactive and mesmerizing non-fiction read. 

The Verdict

A gripping, heartfelt, and breathtaking travel and memoir-style book, author Jason Rebello’s “Red Earth Diaries” is a must-read. The wonderful blend of history and culture does a great job of mirroring the emotions and adventure that the couple themselves experienced along the way and creates an intimate and thoughtful narrative that many readers can identify with and that many of us can only hope for. A great and fantastic read, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing story on July 8th, 2021. 

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Jason Rebello was born in Mumbai, India and went to sea at the early age of seventeen.He spent many years sailing across the world on modern ocean liners, eventually rising to the rank of a ship’s Captain. His sea career was interspaced with a healthy dose of backpacking and intrepid travels and as a result, he was firmly hooked on a life of adventure and uncommon living.His travel blog, The Evolving Backpacker, was born out of his passion for travel. He has also written several self-help books under the ‘Migrant Ninja’ series.Jason along with his wife and two children is now settled in Australia.

https://www.instagram.com/theevolvingbackpacker/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0948GVRBM/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58172451-red-earth-diaries%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D2GKMQ0lXzA%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Posted in reviews

Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be-First-Time Dad by Tom Kreffer Review

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

A humorous and heartfelt exploration of impending fatherhood and the process of pregnancy from a husband and father’s perspective is brought to brilliant life in author Tom Kreffer’s “Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be-First-Time Dad”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Imagine discovering you’re about to become a parent, even though doctors told you the chances of making a baby were close to zero.

Now, a soon-to-be first-time father is charting a course through the perilous and choppy waters of living with a pregnant woman. He’s dodging hormonal right hooks, evading emotional explosions, saying all the wrong things (like ‘Are you okay?’) and trying to figure out how the hell you install a car seat.

Written as a journal to his unborn child, Dear Dory is the unfiltered, irreverently funny, honest and heartfelt account of one man’s journey to fatherhood as he contemplates his new identity as a Daddy and prepares for the responsibility of a lifetime.

WARNING: This book contains a truckload of profanity.

The Review

This is such a fantastic and honest read. The author brilliantly delves into the raw and honest emotions that run through an impending father’s mind throughout the course of a nine-month pregnancy. From the rush of nerves and fear of hoping when facing a pregnancy test to the changing health conditions of your pregnant wife, including her low iron levels, and the challenge of finding the right remedy to help their exhaustion, the author covers a wide range of both physical and mental (along with emotional) experiences throughout pregnancy both for his wife and himself. 

The tone and the pacing of this  book are what really stand out to me. The author’s truthful and humorous approach to the subject of fatherhood really makes this narrative relatable, and the fact the author promises that the book is not a must-follow guide on all things parenting, but instead an honest conversation on the author’s personal experiences throughout the pregnancy and looking ahead to fatherhood. Both parents and impending parents will be able to relate to the author’s story, as it is refreshing to see a father who not only seeks answers and hope for parenting but exudes a sense of optimism in his writing about fatherhood.

The Verdict

A heartwarming, engaging and eye-opening read for any father, parent or future parent, author Tom Kreffer’s “Dear Dory” is a must-read book on parenthood. The humor and wit the author infuses into his writing balances the honesty and hope that the author brings to the subject matter, and makes this a valuable as well as entertaining read that should not be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Tom Kreffer has a degree in film and television and has worked in finance for over ten years. Dear Dory is his first book.

He lives in Northampton, England with his family, whom he intends to exploit for many more story opportunities in the years to come.

Amazon: Say Hi

Facebook: Say Hi

Instagram: Say Hi

https://www.bookbub.com/books/dear-dory-journal-of-a-soon-to-be-first-time-dad-adventures-in-dadding-1-by-tom-kreffer

Posted in reviews

On the Way to Casa Lotus by Lorena Junco Margain Review

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

What should have been a simple procedure to heal herself goes wrong and one woman must go on a journey of forgiveness and healing in author Lorena Junco Margain’s “On the Way to Casa Lotus”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Lorena Junco Margain—passionate art collector and devoted wife and mother—is already shaken after abruptly fleeing Mexico and relocating in the USA with her family while pregnant due to safety concerns. Then, she learns she has a tumor on her adrenal gland. Having long experienced unexplained symptoms of dizziness and lethargy that neither medications nor holistic or Ayurvedic treatments have helped, she embraces the news with tears of relief: with a simple surgery, she can regain her strength and joyful spirit. But fate can be mischievous, and to err is human—even for surgeons. Rather than improve after surgery, her condition worsens.

On the Way to Casa Lotus is the gripping true story of Junco Margain’s journey coming to terms with the permanent consequences of a surgeon’s devastating mistake. Mindful that even good people make errors and that vengeance would not mend her broken body or soul, she chooses instead to embark on a quest for peace and healing—beginning by seeking space in her heart to forgive.

Deeply compassionate, wise and poetic, On the Way to Casa Lotus lays bare some of the most poignant contradictions of the human condition, blurring the distinctions between guilt and neglectfulness, anger and sorrow, humility and shame, gratitude and despair. Rich with imagery and metaphors from the world of contemporary art, brimming with scenes from the author’s close-knit, abundantly loving Mexican family, the book plants a seed of hope that loss and pain can serve a higher purpose: one of promoting forgiveness as a force for personal and universal change.

The Review

This was a beautiful memoir that made a huge impact early on in the book. The author takes a really fresh and kind look at a terrible situation. Striking to find the balance between speaking up for oneself and forgiving someone who has wronged you can be a tricky thing to do, especially in this modern age where people can be vilified with the simple push of a button. It was refreshing to see the author’s perspective take flight in this book, highlighting the heartbreaking reality that no matter how good a person is, we are all flawed, and hating someone is never going to change that.

The author does a wonderful job of capturing so much within this book. From the author’s culture and the shock of leaving the life you know behind to find safety in a much different land, to the fear and frustration that can come with facing not only a difficult health diagnosis but a failed attempt at correcting that diagnosis, this book expertly weaves the author’s life and experiences together while finding the perfect harmony with the author’s message of hope and forgiveness. 

The Verdict

A heartfelt, emotional, and ultimately uplifting memoir that highlights the journey to overcome a great wrong and find peace in the wake of tragedy, author Lorena Junco Margain’s “On the Way to Casa Lotus” is a must-read non-fiction read. A thought-provoking story that speaks to so many of us, the author creates a great sense of pacing and imagery that brings their experiences to life wonderfully, and readers will be hard-pressed to put this book down themselves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Advertisements

About the Author

Born and raised in Mexico (Monterrey and Mexico City), author, art collector, and philanthropist Lorena Junco Margain studied visual arts at Universidad de Monterrey before cofounding the Distrito14 gallery as a platform to amplify emerging Mexican artists. Soon afterward, she cofounded and curated the Margain-Junco Collection with her husband, Eduardo Margain, to support emerging artists, foster the art scene in Mexico, and promote awareness of Mexican art internationally. She also played an instrumental role in launching the 2015 Shaped in Mexico contemporary art exhibition in London. In 2008, Junco Margain was forced to flee Mexico with her husband, children, parents, and extended family due to concerns for their safety. Today she lives with her husband and three kids in Austin, Texas.

Posted in reviews

Paradise Road: A Memoir by Marilyn Kriete Review

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

A young woman experiencing loss goes on an emotional journey as she rides her bicycle on a cross-continental trip that spans two years in author Marilyn Kriete’s “Paradise Road: A Memoir”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

A restless child of the 1960s, Marilyn yearns for love, hippiedom, and escape from her mother’s control. At 14, she runs nearly a thousand miles away to Vancouver, British Columbia, eventually landing herself in a Catholic home for troubled girls. At 16, she’s emancipated, navigating adulthood without a high school diploma, and craving a soulmate. When she falls in love with Jack, the grad student living next door, life finally seems perfect. The two embark on a cross-continental bicycle trip, headed for South America, but before they reach Mexico, tragedy strikes. Utterly shattered, Marilyn does the hardest thing she can imagine: a solo bicycle trip, part tribute, part life test. She conquers her fears but goes wildly off course, chasing her heart as she falls into a series of tragicomic rebounds. Two itinerant years later, a chain of events in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains leads to a peace she never expected to find.

Reminiscent of Wild and Traveling with Ghosts, Marilyn’s journey portrays a life unmoored by grief, brought to shore again. Paradise Road was selected as the International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club’s International Book of the Month for March 2021.

The Review

I absolutely connected to the emotional story of the author’s life from the age of 6 until she was 24. Over the span of this time in the author’s life and in the book itself, the author explores so much more than the synopsis initially indicates, jumping into the tumultuous and heartbreaking childhood she experienced including a friction-filled relationship with her mother and then continuing on from there as the author manages to fit several lifetimes worth of experience in less than a couple of decades. The author’s life and narrative in this book shift from a coming-of-age-like story of traumatic childhoods and growing through those experiences to a heartbreaking memoir of love lost and love gained. 

What stood out was the way the author managed to pace the story of her life in a way that felt tethered to the emotional core of the narrative. Whether it was the dynamics within her family as a child or the wayward lifestyle she lived as she ran away from home or even the years spent taking care of the man she loved and was destined to lose, the author builds up the events of her life with intrigue and draws the reader in with creative writing that makes the story come alive in the audience’s mind. The growth and evolution the author goes through by the book’s end make this such an engaging story, and truly marvelous non-fiction read. 

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and thought-provoking memoir, author Marilyn Kriete’s “Paradise Road” is a must-read nonfiction story. Written beautifully from a place of honesty and emotion, the author has captured this reader’s attention and balances the fearful events of her life with the moments of joy and elation perfectly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Never one to choose the boring route, Marilyn has lived in four continents and 16 cities (so far), earning her keep as a cook, waitress, janitor, chambermaid, fisher-woman, bill-deliverer (on foot in 40 below zero weather), missionary, church leader, tutor, academic writing editor, housekeeper, and–with a little luck–author. She writes about her adventures in a series of memoirs, all slated to be published over the next few years.

She makes her home in Kelowna, BC, where she shares her cozy bungalow with three cats and her husband of many decades, Henry. They have two grown children and are eagerly awaiting their first grandchild, scheduled to arrive in July, 2021.

PARADISE ROAD is her first memoir, and yes, in the way of all good memoirs, it’s every bit true. 

https://marilynkriete.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Marilynmemoircelebration/

Posted in reviews

Roller Rink Starlight: A Memoir by William Hart

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

Author William Hart takes a look back at an important time in his life when he joins a male and female led team of roller skaters, and in the process learns the pitfalls of romance, love and life in general in this coming of age style sports memoir, “Roller Rink Starlight”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

William Hart’s true coming of age memoir begins when at fourteen he joins an amateur roller racing team comprised of both sexes and loaded with RSROA national champions. A varsity sprinter in track, he soon excels at speed skating.

Insiders know roller rinks are conspiracies to turn singles into couples.

The main storyline follows Hart’s early education in romance—piquant, humorous, harrowing, and laced with major life lessons. The setting: Wichita, Kansas, early 1960s, when the sexual repression of the 50s still prevails, except in rare zones of marked liberation. Adults have their watering holes, teens the rink, where they can experiment with their budding sexualities. Immersed in powerful mood music they glide in pairs through darkness under stars and make out in the bleachers. Falling in love is ridiculously easy, as we see in the adventures of teammates, parents, and certainly the author. Hart fell hard for a gifted racer, his kindred spirit, costar of many of his most indelible memories.

This sports memoir about love and roller skating chronicles poignantly the ecstasies and perils of 60s high school romance against a backdrop of flat-out athletic competition.

Roller Rink Starlight is nostalgic nonfiction for seniors and educational nonfiction for young adults interested in love and sex in another time.

The Review

A fantastic and in-depth look into the life of a young man coming into his own and discovering life one step at a time, the author does a wonderful job of drawing the reader in with insightful looks into his own life and creative writing that makes the book feel like both a memoir and an original story all at once. The ease in which the author writes paints a visual image in the reader’s mind, transporting us all back to that era in the 1960s and watching the young man’s life unfolding before our eyes.

What really sets this memoir apart however was the way the author wrote the book itself. It seemed at multiple times that the author was not just retelling the story, but almost conversing with his younger self, reflecting on the important moments of his life and how he’s learned from them since. It immediately clear when he begins retelling his interaction with a young classmate named Gretchen, and how her actions during her high school years led to some major changes in her life and impacted the author as well second-hand. This was a brief glimpse into the rest of this narrative, and yet it felt like it set the tone immediately for the coming-of-age aspect of this book.

The Verdict

An insightful, engaging, and wildly descriptive yet narrative memoir, author William Hart’s “Roller Rink Starlight: A Memoir” is a must-read nonfiction story. The author’s discovery of life, love, and romance, and everything in between is so beautifully written, and the author masterfully engages the reader on both a nostalgic and thought-provoking level. Whether the author’s words reflected a similar time in the reader’s life or spoke to the road not taken, this was a read that shouldn’t be missed, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

William Hart is a novelist and poet living in Los Angeles. After earning a doctorate in English from the University of Southern California, he taught college writing courses in LA and wrote. Now he writes–fiction mostly–while helping produce the documentaries of filmmaker Jayasri Majumdar, his wife. Hart’s work has appeared in several hundred literary journals, commercial magazines, newspapers, and anthologies, and fourteen books. A pair of one-hour documentaries from Hartfilms aired nationally on PBS, the latest receiving Emmy nominations.

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Dorit Sasson

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Ever since returning to the States, I wrote all different kinds of articles on the side, but it wasn’t until I realized I needed to tell the story of serving in the Israel Defense Forces and understand what happened to me that I jumped into memoir writing. 

I started out my career as an EFL (English a foreign language) teacher in Israel and since then I’ve pivoted several times. My last pivot was as a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist and copywriter and that happened right after the university where I was teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) let me go. 

Advertisements

2) What inspired you to write your book?

With both my memoirs Sand and Steel and Accidental Soldier, there was a burning desire to understand the WHY behind the WHAT. What happened in the IDF led to discovering the real cultural struggle of finding home. 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Several: 

How misunderstood Reverse Culture Shock really is and how hard it is for returning Americans like myself it is to find a home. As an Israel expat, my energy is spent understanding longing and straddling two different cultures and this can be an extremely emotional and lonely experience that can make or break a person and a family over time if not addressed well. RCS is very individual, personal and subjective. 

I have 2 passports – American and Israeli but no one ever told me how hard it would be to find a home again on U.S. soil.  Writing the book helped me understand the fluidity of home — in that it’s always changing and evolving so long as we evolve and change and that’s okay. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I could never fictionalize my story without really telling the truth. Memoir is a truth-seeking genre. I needed the power of reflections and takeaways to show how my character grows and develops and ultimately comes full circle at the end. 

5) For those who have never had to move to another country, what would you say was one of the biggest changes you experienced moving back to the United States? What impacted you the most personally after your time serving in Israel?

I’ll just be blunt about this: From experience, not many Americans want to get to know another culture and where a person comes from. We’re a very ego-centered, “me, me, me” culture and this does not serve in bridging cultures and build compassion. With that said, the Jewish community where I live acts a bit differently than my overall experience.  

When I served in the IDF with many foreign recruits, I got a crash course in understanding the psychology of cultures and people. The intimacy and learning. I couldn’t afford to stay anonymous. Israel is a tight-knit country and is like one big family. It’s the size of New Jersey and you’ve got no choice but stay connected to each other for better or worse. In many ways, this inter-connectedness is deeply missing from the American landscape. We don’t do well as a culture when we prefer to stay in our bubbles. 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Over the years, I’ve floundered between Facebook and Instagram and I feel Instagram helps cater to my message and storytelling. I can capture the emotional essence of what I’m trying to say in an Instagram post. The visual element is also motivating. 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Quite a bit actually as I can’t help myself. 

Worry more about the craft than marketing. 

Write to that one person. 

Writing is the fun part. Enjoy it as long as it lasts. 

Don’t rush the writing either. You’ve got just one chance to make a good first impression. 

Hire an editor earlier on in the process and/or join a critique group when you’ve fleshed out the story as best as you can.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m currently taking a short story course and writing my way through fiction because I’m tired writing about myself. It’s time to use my imagination to create characters from scratch.  I’m also doing a fair amount of pitching to different outlets to help promote Sand and Steel. 

Advertisements

About the Author

Dorit Sasson writes for a wide range of print and online publications, including The Huffington Post and The Writer, and speaks at conferences, libraries, and community centers. She is the author of the a featured chapter in Pebbles in the Pond: Transforming the World One Person at a Time, the latest installment of that best-selling series, and. She is the host of the global radio show “Giving Voice to Your Courageous Story.” She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children.

Home

Social media links

Facebook

LinkedIn

Instagram