BERKELEY TO PARIS AND BACK WITH TWO STOPS IN NEW YORK by Lynn Snyder is a moving read. 4 Stars -🌟🌟🌟🌟

Title: BERKELEY TO PARIS AND BACK WITH TWO STOPS IN NEW YORK

Author: LYNN SNYDER

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Genre: MEMOIR, NON-FICTION

Length: 101 PAGES

Publisher: CREATE SPACE

Release Date:

ISBN: 9781530855896

Price: $5.38 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟


* I received a free copy of this book through the 
Goodreads Giveaway program.

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Playwright Lynn Snyder had decided to give up looking for love. In fact, she even briefly contemplated moving far away from San Francisco to live out the rest of her life on the edges of the High Sierra mountain range.

Thankfully she realized that idea would be taking things a bit too far.

Not long after making this monumental life decision, she heard an announcement on her favorite classical music radio station regarding personal ads for meeting people with the same interests (this was many years before the invention of online dating.) Lynn decided she wouldn’t mind meeting new people and answered an ad that interested her.

It was the best decision she had ever made. It was how she met and fell in love with Leo, which led to them having twenty years together.

I expected this book to be a chronicle of their lives together and nothing more, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that while it was what I expected, it was also so much more.

Leo is eventually diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and at this point in the story it could have taken a dramatic and sad turn. The author instead chooses to use his diagnosis as a challenge. It is one that Leo will inevitably lose, but at least they had each other and they were deeply in love.

Lynn Snyder is an intelligent and interesting person who loves to travel and who is extremely self-aware. I love that she is unapologetic and firm in her beliefs – many of which I share.

The scene I found the most compelling takes place at a Huntington’s Support Group.

Jane’s eighty-year-old mother, Marilyn tells us that Jane has started to become violent.” Obviously this poses great problems for Marilyn since she is Jane’s sole caregiver. “She says that when her physician suggested Jane be placed in a nursing home, Jane protested loudly, demanding that she be allowed to commit suicide.” Marilyn is deeply religious and does not believe in suicide and the resident social worker tells her to trick Jane into going into a nursing home. She also points out that suicide is illegal. I agree 100% with Lynn’s response to this conversation and I applaud her for voicing her opinion in such an emotional matter. When she says that suicide is a crime, Lynn says:

 
“I’m well aware of that. But deceiving a mentally unstable person should be and isn’t, which doesn’t mean that we, in this group, should be as unenlightened as our society.”

Lynn leaves the support group – never to return. She realizes that she does not fit in, which, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Lynn also does a credible job of articulating the helplessness and despair that is often felt by those who have to watch a loved one deteriorate, knowing there is nothing they can do to save them. This is my favorite quote from the book:

“I want to help him speak and walk. I want to rub strength into his fingers so that he can play the piano. I love him so much, and it seems incredible that I can’t translate my love into restoring what is rightfully his – speech, mobility, everything that allows him to be who he is.”

There is so much emotion in those few short sentences and Lynn’s love for Leo shines like a beacon for the rest of us.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

The one thing that I would have liked to see would have been some photos the couple and possibly some photos of their travels and their homes. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Lynn Snyder was born in Akron, Ohio. After receiving a degree in political science from the University of Michigan, she became a journalist.

She spent time in London, England, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, before moving to Northern California.

It was there that she met her husband, Leo.

In addition to journalism, Snyder has also worked as a playwright, campaign publicity director, and literature teacher.

Visit Lynn Snyder on FACEBOOK    

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5 Stars for OUTSIDERS by Tammy Ferebee – BOOK REVIEW

 
Title: OUTSIDERS

Author: Tammy Ferebee

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Young Adult

Length: 332 pages

Publication Date: September 21, 2015 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

~ I received an autographed first edition copy of OUTSIDERS from the author in exchange for an honest review
Jaylen Hayes may be a seventeen year old girl, but she has always known that she is somehow different from other girls her age. 

Being super-smart certainly doesn’t help her feel like a typical teenager. Throw in the fact that Jaylen never gets sick, wild animals seem to hate her and the fact that she has an unknown medical condition which requires her to have access to drinking water at all times and readers can easily understand why Jaylen feels like she doesn’t fit in. 

Forced to relocate and change schools in the middle of her senior year, Jaylen starts at a private Catholic school that is vastly different from any school she has ever attended. 

She has never emotionally connected with any of her peers, so she is understandably shocked when she meets not one, but two people she feels instantly drawn to. 

As the story progresses the reader learns more about Jaylen and is also introduced to Michael and Indigo. 

I do not want to give away the story but I will say that Jaylen does finally discover exactly why she has always felt like an outsider. She also figures out the reason that she felt so instantly comfortable around Michael and Indigo.

Even though this book is a tale of Jaylen’s search for self-identity, it is also so much more.

  
I did not mention in my synopsis that Jaylen is black (or African American if you prefer the politically correct term). Michael is a mixture – he has a black mother and a white (Caucasian) father and Indigo is Latino. This mixture of races is actually more realistic than when you read a novel where all the characters are one race. The world today is a “melting pot” of colours, races and cultures and it is unfortunate that more books do not reflect the wonderful diversity of our current society. 

Chapter One begins with Jaylen describing her beliefs. She states: “I’ve never been religious. Never picked up the Bible to read a scripture. Never even prayed.” This actually surprised me. It is rare that an author so blatantly admits that a novel’s main character is an atheist. I think Tammy Ferebee is very brave. Religion seems to be a subject that most authors (especially Young Adult authors) shy away from. However, I understand why religion in fiction is generally avoided. In my opinion this avoidance stems from fear and/or from an eye towards mass commercial appeal. Why do I say that? Well, if you are an extremely religious person and while looking for a book to buy, you pick up a book that starts out the way this one does, you may never read past that first paragraph. I believe that most publishers would have asked Tammy Ferebee to exclude information about Jaylen’s beliefs before agreeing to publish “Outsiders”. I think they would be concerned that they could lose potential sales by having this information included. That is why I say that I believe Tammy Ferebee is brave. In fact, I actually admire her for the fact that she chose story purity over commercial profitability. Good for her. 

Still on the topic of religion in “Outsiders” the novel, I think that it is important to include this topic in Young Adult fiction because most young adult fiction readers are not often exposed to religious ideologies other than their own family beliefs. I was trying to think back over all the YA books I have read and I cannot think of a single one in which the main character was a professed atheist. Kudos again to the author for incorporating this topic into her writing. 

Are you interested in learning what the author has to say about why she chose an atheist as her protagonist? If so, watch this YouTube video: http://youtu.be/-GVze6Nz_cM 

Fiction is a vehicle for young adults to attempt to relate to the characters and to escape their own lives for a while. It is also a vehicle for them to learn about the lives of others. In addition, it is a safe and secure way to learn about topics that may interest them, but that they do not feel comfortable discussing with others. 

 Jaylen has moved from New Jersey to Virginia. The school she had previously attended was a large public high school and her new school is a private Catholic school. She has never been exposed to a school setting where the majority of the teachers are nuns and the Lord’s Prayer is recited every morning. Imagine how different and out-of-place she must feel. How does an atheist fit in at a Catholic school? I think just about every person can relate to the feeling of being out of their element, especially young adults. 

Another aspect of this book that I was thrilled with was the socioeconomic aspects of the story. Unfortunately, several of the YA books I have read that feature black leading characters have also included the typical, fictional black stereotype of low income being the norm. This is not the case in reality and it is nice to read about a black girl who comes from a high income background and whose challenges do not have anything to do with poverty, drugs or gangs. Again, I give kudos to Tammy Ferebee for not falling into the trap of writing two dimensional and stereotypical characters. 

In the Young Adult genre I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ For the reasons I have listed above as well as for pure enjoyment and escapism, I highly recommend OUTSIDERS to anyone who enjoys Young Adult fiction with great characters, lots of twists and turns with a science fiction flair. 

The ending of this book leaves an opening for the story to continue in a second book. I will definitely be on the lookout for it and will be adding it to my “To Read” list. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  

Tammy Ferebee is a dedicated and loving mother of two. How do I know this? Well, I know this because of what she chose to write on the dedication page of “Outsiders.” 

“To My Kayla and Kaden: Without you two, I could’ve written and published this book three years ago. But without you two, life wouldn’t be worth living. You two are my everything. I know I am blessed because I get to see my heart on the outside of my body every day.” 

Tammy Ferebee lives and writes in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a Grad student who enjoys eating unhealthy amounts of chocolate, and can sometimes be found binge-watching “The Golden Girls.” 

To learn about this talented author visit her webpage at http://www.tammyferebee.com 

Follow her on Twitter: @TammyFerebee 

Check out her Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/Tammy-Ferebee 

Visit her Goodreads author page at: 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14228854.Tammy_Ferebee 

Buy OUTSIDERS online at: 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0159DHYQ0/ref=cm_sw_su_dp.