The Bone Bridge: A Brother’s Story

‘Yes, that’s right. We met in the middle. Didn’t we?’

Review by Grady Harp

Yarrott relates The Bone Bridge – A Brother’s Story, a compelling true story with the flair of a fine writer. We learn of his large Tennessee family – 2 older brothers and a sister (Yarrott is the youngest), a mother who was crippled since age 16 but went on to be a nurse and then the wife of a doctor – Yarrott’s father and mother. Yarrott focuses on his relationship with Charley, 3 years his senior, and if ever there were exact opposites in brothers, these two were at the far ends of the polar spectrum. They were enemies in so much as Charley made Yarrott’s life miserable.

But all this changed when Charley gradually came down with aplastic anemia (a disease in which there are no platelets, the necessary factor for blood clotting). After a long build up of Charley being undiagnosed but ill, the day came when the diagnosis was discovered and Charley’s physician treated him with platelet packs – but that `cure’ was unreliable due to the often mismatched transfusions. Continue reading

Demons & Pearls

A Rousing Pirate Tale

Review by Joey Madia

About 18 months ago, I reviewed P. S. Bartlett’s Fireflies, which I touted as a “novel that tells, simply and elegantly, the story of a family’s love.” Although family love is a strong undercurrent in her latest offering (the second book in the “Razor’s Adventures” series), Demons & Pearls is a much different read, taking as its subject matter the high-adventure world of pirates in the 1700s.

Pirates are immensely popular these days, with the success of Black Sails on Starz, last year’s take on Edward “Blackbeard” Teach by NBC, called Crossbones starring John Malkovich, and the buzz around the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. There are also an increasing number of re-enactors and cos play participants donning pirate attire and a national “talk like a pirate day” that is always fun to participate in on Facebook. Continue reading

Neighbor

product_thumbnail“Thru the Windows and the Blinds”

Review by Joey Madia

Some poets write in a minimalist, Eastern style that reads like a sutra or a prayer, as opposed to the at-times very dense poetry of Western writers. Poets writing in the former style give the reader ample space in which to graft their interpretations and morph their experiences with the work, allowing their poems to operate like myths, folk tales, and fairytales.

It was five years ago that I first reviewed Ed Baker’s work, when I received for the purpose his Restoration Letters (1972–1978)—co-authored with Cid Corman—and his solo book, Restoration Poems (1972–2007). I had been a fan of his writing and goddess illustrations for years prior, and since publishing that review, we have kept in touch through email. Continue reading

Blind Triangle: A Rare Love Story from the Sixties

‘Because she needs you so much, almost as much as I do’

Review by Grady Harp

Now and then up pops an artist whose work is new, refreshingly unique, and profoundly beautiful and that makes you wonder why the name is unfamiliar to you. Jack Deveny is that kind of author – he has published poems and a theatrical play (both of which I hope he makes available to what is bound to become a large audience of admirers), but this appears to be his debut novel. It is a book of such emotional power that it may elude those who describe books as `I just couldn’t put it down’ or ‘it is a real page turner’ and stop commenting at that. But this is a book, at least for this reader, that now languishes at bedside, earmarked and noted in the margins for areas to read again and again – a book so rich I didn’t want it to end. Perhaps the power of Jack’s writing reflects his degree in psychology, his work with troubled teenagers, or even his own early years being raised in an abusive and drug addled and violent environment. Continue reading

Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief

Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief

Review by Joey Madia

A decade ago, I lost someone very close to me. My Aunt Annette was not only a favorite family member; she was a spiritual teacher who first instilled a love of myths and stories in me. At the time of her death, her husband, a counselor and spiritual teacher in his own right, suggested that I read Neil Donald Walsch’s Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends to help me process the profound sense of loss I was feeling.

In the years since, I have turned to that book many times, as I have lost other family, and some close friends and mentors. I recommended it to those I knew who were dealing with losses of their own. Continue reading