Book Review: “The Imitation of Patsy Burke” by John J. Gaynard

World-renowned sculptor and hell-raiser Patsy Burke comes to in a cheap hotel in Paris covered in blood and with a broken arm—and no idea what happened the night before. Thus begins a journey through the bars of Paris, during which Patsy, with the help of a few “friends,” including Caravaggio and the Scandal Man, attempts to unravel the events of the previous day and night. Along the way, he relives the major occurrences of his past, most of which involve a combination of women, drink, and violence. Has he ever been truly responsible for the man he is, whether for his successes or for another crime he suspects he may have committed? His “friends” take him to breaking point. If he does not wish his life to finally come full circle, he must make one final, possibly fatal choice. (from Goodreads) 

One of the classic lines in “The Imitation of Patsy Burke” must be:  “What came first?  Was it the overdrinking or was it the voices?”(page 10).  If the reader has not figured it out by this early point in the novel, this quote ensures a better understanding of the narration.  The “voices”, the “friends”, exist within the very compelling mind of the main character, Patsy Burke; in actual fact, the only true character in the novel.  The other characters exist, but they exist within Patsy’s very complicated mind.  It is from this perspective that John J. Gaynard spins this tale of emotion, action, and vivid description.  The tone is raw, irreverent, racy, provocative, and infrequently loving. 

When I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, it was in exchange for an impartial review.  At that time, I thought I was about to read an action packed thriller, with a psychological bent.  That was not how it turned out!  But the writer’s style caught my attention after only a couple of pages.  Then the plotline caught my eye, and I was hooked.   

Due to the use of offensive language, there were times when completion of the novel seemed out of reach.  Throw in some graphic violence, and it is not my pick for summer afternoon reading.  However, the author still held my attention.  You see, each of the voices in Patsy Burke’s mind, made up an aspect of Patsy’s personality.  The skill of the author is in holding the reader’s attention to see how all the voices fit together, and how the author can actually create quite a storyline, all from the voices in the lead character’s mind.  Are you intrigued yet?? 

As a word of caution, I would suggest that the reader keep in mind that this is a work of fiction – even though at times it reads like history.  I choose not to expand on that comment, as I try to avoid ‘spoilers’ in my book reviews. 

One skill of Gaynard’s is the ability to remain neutral throughout this book.  By that I mean, the reader is left guessing about Gaynard’s own history and personal beliefs.  And I think in a book of this nature that is key to the plotline and readability of the book itself.  Keep your mind open, and your wits sharp, and this book may be just what you are looking for! 

Where is the Joy in the Written Word of this novel?  While not a ‘joy-less’ story, the word ‘Joy’ does not come to my mind in this instance.  If you have read, or do read, this novel, I invite you to leave me a comment on where you do, or do not see Joy.  And in all humility, John Gaynard, if you read this post, I truly welcome your thoughts on “The Imitation of Patsy Burke” and on where you see the Joy of the Written Word.

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Choose Joy! 

Patricia

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Book Review: “The Nature of God: 50 Christian Devotions About God’s Love and Acceptance” by Mona Hanna

The Nature of God contains 50 Christian devotions, focusing on God’s true love and acceptance of us. The devotions portray God’s kindness, sweetness, grace, mercy and forgiveness. These devotions break down the notion that God judges us, and has strict requirements for how we should think, feel and behave. Mona’s stance is that God loves us like a parent loves their child, with the same intimacy and compassion that a loving parent would have. Immerse yourself in heart-warming declarations of God’s love, and remind yourself of the true nature of God. (from amazon.com) 

Before I was a few pages into this devotional book, it was clear to me that the author herself has a real and heartwarming relationship with her God.  Mona Hanna is right up front with her Christian faith, and through the 50 Christian Devotions in this book, shares her faith openly with her readers.  

Mona shares how she experiences the many characteristics of God, and gives the reader a look into her own perception of God’s personality.  This is done through short daily devotions.  But rather than 365 devotions, the 50 devotions in the book are each given a title, which the reader can view in order to choose the devotion that aligns with their present need.  Alternatively, the reader can open the book, turn to a random page, and read how that particular page can be actively applied to their current life place.  This is one of the positive characteristics of this devotional. 

“The Nature of God” gives us the author’s perspective of God: as being less judgmental and less of a rule enforcer, than may have been implied in the reader’s previous life descriptions of God.  Mona Hanna sees God as all loving, all giving, and all protecting of His children; and would like her readers to walk away with the same feelings, or similar feelings to her own, that which is expressed in this book.  Mona reinforces this as what she believes is the true nature of God.

The author uses everyday language in each devotion, which brings the reader close to the heart of the meaning in that particular day’s words.  But, at the same time, Mona’s language is not too simplistic, and therefore can reach a level of shared experience.   

The writing style allows for “The Nature of God” to be used in many settings, and over repeated time frames.  Basically, the book may be used as the reader sees fit.  This is a wonderful asset, when people are learning and growing in their faith environment. 

My word of caution pertains to readers, who may choose this book as an introduction to Christian faith.  The reason for this caution is that some of Mona’s comments could be perceived as theologically true, when in fact they are strictly from Mona’s life experience.  To be clear, the author does not claim anything other than offering devotional prayer.  However, given the writer’s style, thoughts may be construed as theological fact.  For that reason, I would recommend this book be used by a strong Christian, who is versed in some elements of theology, as related to their own doctrine of practice.  This critique may be remedied by the author’s use of a theological or doctrinal editor. 

On the whole, Mona Hanna has done what she set out to do: provide the reader with a closer look at God’s love and acceptance of humankind.  A job well done! 

I asked myself where I found Joy in this book, or in my book review.  I would say that I found Joy in both places.  But, primarily, I found Joy that someone, Mona Hanna, cares enough about her faith, to want to share her faith with others.  And I thank Mona for doing just that. 

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Choose Joy! 

Patricia

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Anti-Procrastination Tuesday – My Post for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Goals This Week

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Complete Outstanding Book Reviews::

1) Completed The Nature of God by Mona Hanna

2) Completed Everblossom by Larissa Hinton

3) Completed The Imitation of Patsy Burke by John J. Gaynard

4) A Marked Heart by David George Ball

5) Completed Recipes for Disaster by Sheryl Browne

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Books to Read This Week (and Hope to Review!!)::

1) The Devil’s Legacy by Tom Jackson

2) A Life Lived Ridiculously by Dr Annabelle R Charbit

3) Seven Point Eight by Marie Harbon

And, if I accomplish all of these goals…..  I will definitely bring myself some Joy!!!

Please visit Amy at “New Nostalgia“, the originator of Anti-Procrastination Tuesday. Amy has a wonderful blog!

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Patricia

Choose Joy!

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Six Word Saturday is Here!!! Yahoo!!

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Falling asleep at my computer! Goodnight!!

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Fond Memories!!

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Etch-A-Sketch 

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Joy was in the air whenever Mom brought out this toy!!

“Remember to Share!”

Choose Joy!!

Patricia

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“The Pineville Heist” by Lee Chambers

Seventeen year old Aaron stumbles into the aftermath of a five million dollar bank heist gone wrong. Hiding under a canoe, Aaron partially catches the murder of one of the robbers. In the chaos he sneaks away with the money and heads straight for the closest place of safety, his high school. Terrified, Aaron tells his shocking tale to Amanda Becker, his drama teacher, but it doesn’t take long for one of the psychotic robbers to show up. In the locked down school the pair are relentlessly pursued in a quest to get the money back and wipe out the evidence. (from amazon.com) 

Original Cover

Aaron Stevens is a typical high school student, who argues with his father, and likes to skip the occasional class.  Aaron’s father is very wealthy, and that wealth sometimes becomes a thorn in Aaron’s side, and gives other students a reason to raze him.   

On an ordinary day, Aaron and two of his friends get caught in the middle of a bank heist; a bank heist that now includes guns, murder, lost friendships, and death.  This kind of excitement is more than Aaron and his friends bargained for.  Aaron quickly becomes the key, the centre of an intricate plot that captures the reader’s attention, and keeps hold until the final paragraph. 

The story moves at a quick pace; sometimes taking wonderful gigantic leaps!  The reader will want to keep up – and quite possibly read the book in one sitting. The book is classed as “Middle Grade” reading, but I recommend that any adult who likes adventure and mystery, pick up “The Pineville Heist” soon!  It is definitely a good read! 

Middle Grade students will no doubt enjoy “The Pineville Heist”.  My only comment is a word of caution, with respect to the occasional injection of swearing into the conversation.  While it is likely that Middle Grade students will pass by this language without a thought, I found it unnecessary in a book of the calibre of “The Pineville Heist”. 

New Front Cover

The author, Lee Chambers, keeps situation and character description to a minimum.  Action and dialogue take centre stage, treating the reader to mind-spinning and mind-boggling twists and turns.  In Aaron Stevens, Chambers has created a very likeable hero, who remains through it all, an ordinary guy who exhibits extraordinary courage, someone the reader will care about and cheer on until the last page. 

This is a fabulous adventure and mystery novel, sent to me by Lee Chambers, in exchange for an impartial review.  A review I am very happy to post. 

 

“The Joy of the Written Word” was exemplified as I smiled and gasped my way through “The Pineville Heist”!  Definitely a wonderful read. 

Choose Joy! 

Patricia

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