Tag Archives: Commentary

Book Review: “Say Not What If” by Andrew Friedman

“Say Not What If” is about a man on death row, and has as its theme the concept that time is our most valuable commodity. As someone once said, “waste anything but time, because we really are promised no tomorrows.” This theme is explored through the life of a man who sacrifices his marriage and everything else for his career. He realizes much too late the terrible consequences of this decision, and then desperately tries to regain those lost years by making a much worse choice. The resolution of this latter choice involves an additional examination of the concepts of accountability and responsibility, redemption, and the morality of the death penalty. (from Goodreads)

 

This exceptional book is a short story, (approximately 10,000 words), written as a rhyming poem, which really makes it a long, (51 page), poem!  However you choose to describe it, however you choose to summarize it, this literary work is something incredibly special.

I was not sure how I would feel about a long prose-poem, and I was a little intimidated by it. However, it did not take long for me to know how I felt about the book itself.  I was hooked by the second page.

Most of us can probably relate to a story of a man spending too much time away from his family, and not enough time appreciating the time he has on this earth.  Why is it that we can all find ourselves in this situation, even when the world around us is filled with examples of how “not-to”?  I am reminded of two famous sayings: “Learn by example” and “Learn by our own mistakes”.  Which one is correct?  Or are they both correct?

The main character in this short story is depicted, in the beginning, as one who has a passion for his job, or if not a passion, then dedication and loyalty.  When everyone else leaves for the day, he and his boss remain.  And it is clear that he believes this is the way to get through life, the way that will lead to a wonderful time of retirement. 

Reading the opening stanza, it seems as though this man’s life theory is: to live for the day.  “Say Not What If”, embrace life and all it offers.  We learn, almost immediately, that this philosophy of life was only arrived at after some big moments of regret.  The bulk of the story finds the main character struggling with his life choices.

While it might be tempting to read this book in one short period of time, I would caution against this.  I took multiple sittings, as the subject matter was heavy, even though the style of writing was light.  And as the book progressed I was pleased with the slower pace of my reading.

As I read his story, I could not help but feel pain for the main character.  But also pain for those of us living part, or all of our lives, saying “what if”.  For a short book, this story addresses major life issues, ones which the reader will find speak to the core of our beings.  The author has the skill to reach directly into our hearts, souls, and minds – in a very short amount of time.

I highly recommend this book, and hope that we as readers, will learn life lessons that will stay with us for the rest of our journey.

 

I would like to thank Andrew Friedman, for providing a complimentary copy of his book, for my review.

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 Well, that did not last long!!  Did anyone happen to notice what I forgot in this post?!

“Where is the Joy?”!!!!!

My very next post, after deciding I would ask that question at the end of any post, I forgot!  Maybe no one else remembered either!!

So, where is the Joy in this post, in this book?  I thought that might be a challenging question, given the subject matter of the book “Say Not What If”, (maybe that’s why I ‘forgot’!??).

However, the answer came quite easily.  I found Joy in the rhyming pattern of the stanzas, in the flow of the words, and from there the images of what was being depicted. 

That was the Joy.

Patricia

Choose Joy!

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Reading and Reviewing!!!

                      

                              I’mm….. Baaccccckkkkk…….!!!!!!!!

Reading and Reviewing are both working their way back into my world!!

But, YIKES!! Many stacks of books around me!! My plan is to still go forward reading the books in the order in which I received them. This may be a ‘not perfect’ system – but I will do my best to make it work.

As shown in the picture, if it can happen to Agatha Christie, it can happen to me!

Throughout these past months I have learned many things – as we all do when life throws us a curve. One of the things I learned, or should I say re-learned, is how much my soul and my mind need to be nourished by reading! It is a life-force for me. I have also learned how much writing, in this case review writing, also nourishes my soul and my mind.

And that is WONDERFUL!!!

The Joy of the Written Word!!

                         The Novel Reader    (Van Gogh)

 

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Help!!!! I’ve Fallen Into Book Blogs, And I Can’t Get Out!!

My Smiley!!

I signed on with Facebook against my better judgement. I was not going to get into a situation where everyone could “see” me!! Ok, maybe I was a little dramatic…… Although Facebook was a wonderful way I connected with long distance relatives, and friends I had lost touch with many years ago, I was not interested in playing any of the Games, building a Following of 800 Friends who I vaguely, or did not know, or signing up with many well-meaning charities. During the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – my country!! – Facebook was a fabulous tool for building cross-country enthusiasm, real team building, and national pride. But once that excitement gradually diminished, my interest in Facebook dwindled. I am still using Facebook, but primarily for family and friend contact, sharing photos, and the occasional You-Tube video clip!

Then…. I’m not sure how this happened, and to be honest, I’m not positive there was any connection to Facebook – but I ‘feel’ like there was!! I discovered the “She Writes” blog! Like most people, I’m sure I have a great writer inside my brain – just waiting for the right opportunity……!!

Content for awhile with exploring “She Writes”, (which is a great Blog!), I eventually found my way to a blog actually called: “Book Blogs”! hhmmm…… That sounded very interesting!! I started exploring and soon enough – I signed up! Just as a home base for spending hours of time reading other peoples’ blogs………!! It was AMAZING!! I was in my kind of heaven! Everywhere I looked someone was talking about books, writing about books, blogging about books, and more! PLUS…… There were so many pictures of books: in living rooms, in libraries, on shelves, on tables, in someone’s hand, on a night table, or even on the floor!! I LOVED IT ALL!!!

So, I started to become a Follower: Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs through Facebook, (a good attribute of Facebook), RSS Feeds, and my personal favourite – via email subscription. And I tried to keep up with all the blogs I was connected to: read the emails, the home pages, the book reviews, and whatever else I could read!

Well, you may guess where this going! One day, I came out of my book daze, saw what I was attempting to do, and yelled STOP!! I could not believe it had happened! I was overwhelmed by books, and I needed air!! I was also shocked – how could this happen? I love books. I love reading. I’m a social person, I like connecting with “Blog People”!! What was my problem? My problem was that I was caught in a spider web of Book Blogs, one blog connected to two blogs, with four blogs, with 8 blogs, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on…..

So I stopped. I cancelled out of the Book Blogs’ site. Wiped out all my data. Retreated from all the Groups I had joined, (I had joined how many groups??). And finally completely cancelled out of my Book Blogs’ Blog. An innocent participant in this situation, I also cancelled out of “She Writes”.

Whew! I felt like I had lost 10 pounds! Wait! Maybe I really did lose 10 pounds!

So, a couple of weeks pass…… maybe, just maybe, I could run my own blog!! My own book blog!! Maybe it would help the old brain skills….. Use that cognitive functioning we hear so much about. Then, once I set up my own blog, I will need to get back to Book Blogs and She Writes – I certainly could not go forth alone!

So once again, there I was, totally involved in my Book Blog, in signing up for Groups, taking part in discussions, deciding I would be thrilled to do book reviews, changing my header picture again and again….. and so on and so on….

BUT! I did limit my groups, got a handle on email, and settled in to do some serious book reading.

Until I wanted to look something up on my blog………..

And while I was there, I may as well flip over to see what is happening in my Groups. Look at all the fascinating comments… must read that one…. Click. Into another’s blog: “Oh look at this!” Another Blog I have never previously noticed, better stop in for a visit… Oh, look! another dapper looking blog button! Let me just click that, and see where it leads me…. Have I been here before? No, I don’t think so, but maybe if I just read one more review. Oh, I must share some of this as a post on my blog! How is that done? If I go back two blogs ago, click on that pink square…….. and so on, and so on, and they’ll tell two people, and so on, and so on……

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