Reaching: A Memoir

‘Reach for the stars, but if you want success, you have to reach for the moon.’

Review by Grady Harp

Grace Peterson has achieved more stature as a writer in this short memoir REACHING that many other authors far more experienced in the field of writing. In short, this is an astonishingly well-sculpted book that reveals Peterson to be a wordsmith on a par with the finest. This is not meant to negate the importance of the message of the book: this is one lf the most sincerely penetrating memoirs of a child’s journey through a jungle of problems to reach adulthood and become a symbol of the growth that is possible even in the most impossible of histories. In art this is called Form Follows Function, and a finer compliment for a book, especially a memoir, could not be made. Continue reading

Self-Published Kindling: Memoirs of a Homeless Bookstore Owner

Understanding the homeless and other important revelations

Review by Grady Harp

Mik Everett is a writer to read, an artist to watch. She is unique: all writers who matter are unique, but Mik Everett has a higher position on the ladder with this her first book. One of the aspects of this book that is rather startling is the fact that it is indeed a memoir, that Mik Everett is the narrating person in this profoundly moving novel. Bit of bio (from her own sites): ‘Mik Everett is a 22-year-old writer living in Black Hawk, Colorado with her daughter. She studied philosophy and English at Wichita State University, where she also worked as a logic clinician before moving to Boulder, Colorado to open a bookstore. She is a former bookstore owner, former logic instructor, and former fashion magazine editorialist. Now she writes and edits stuff.’ Some comments from her about what is important: ‘literature also offers something I hope I can convince you is more valuable than that: The ability to see life through someone else’s eyes. When people are grouped and labeled and otherized, real human beings suffer.’ Continue reading

Memoirs of a Modern-Day Drifter

A Review of Ronald Brown’s Memoirs of a Modern-Day Drifter

What it means to be a man has continually evolved in the past 70 or so years. In many ways, the Marlboro man image has lost its power—men who are too aggressive, too take-charge, too, well, manly, have come to be seen as an artifact of a less enlightened time. Robert Bly’s Iron John and the Fire in the Belly movement rose in the late eighties and early nineties as the old models of manhood began to crumble and the male of our species began to come untethered from many of the guiding principles that served my father’s and his father’s generations.

Don’t get me wrong—there’s a fine line between being a strong man and being an overly controlling, argumentative, and just plain violent and miserable SOB. Too much of anything—yelling, drinking, carousing, drifting—can be bad for a man; and his family. Continue reading

Painful Secrets

An Emotionally Immersing Memoir

Review by Grady Harp

Tim Hutchinson has essentially written two books in this one volume titled PAINFUL SECRETS: one is a profoundly moving study of a young boy sexually abused by a friend of his completely dysfunctional family, who finds no support from a distant and abusive father and an uninvolved mother, a member of a large family where the children are treated as excess unwanted baggage and spend their childhoods in multiple `shelters’ – in other words a completely emotionally abandoned and isolated boy who turns to crime out of need for financial support and as a means of reacting with uncontrollable anger and physical abuse to lash out at a world that refuses to accept him. The other book is a version of a self-help book – teaching from experience why living on the wrong side of the law brings only defeat and that turning life into a positive direction brings personal fulfillment. Continue reading

Survivor’s Game

Number 87672

Review by Grady Harp

David Karmi has written a rather extraordinary book. Though the book is a memoir of his experiences as a Jewish lad who survived the Holocaust, there are several aspects of SURVIVOR’S GAME that make it unique among the many books about this subject. First, Karmi writes with exquisite prose, a fact that takes the reader beyond the facts at hand and allows visualization of the beauties of the Hungarian and Polish countryside, the joys of family life, and the interaction between those friends both young and old that he meets throughout his journey. Second, he documents with maps and time frames the actual events of the Nazi rise to power and destruction of the lives of so many people in Hitler’s wildly insane perception of the Third Reich. Continue reading