A Quiet Place + Mark Twain

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“I thoroughly disapprove of duels.  If a man should challange me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.”  Mark Twain

New Book Review + Ken Venturi Quote

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I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be. ~ Ken Venturi
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5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable,Informative memoir,March 20, 2012 By dori
This review is from: Saturation (Kindle Edition)

I loved this book. A Well written,discriptive,honest journey into the mind of an alcoholic.Anyone who has someone in their life that struggles with Alcoholism will get a wealth of information from this book. Now This is the type of book they should give out at Al-non.

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Thanks Dori!

Chillaxin’, Four Stars & Mother Teresa

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Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.  ~ Mother Teresa
*******
4.0 out of 5 stars A Valuable Memoir,January 26, 2012
By
A. Arendt (Fredericksburg, VA 22405)

(From my blog, Word Vagabond: Supporting Independent and Small Press Authors.)
When Jennifer Place entered a substance abuse treatment center for the first time, she was fresh out of jail and drinking four bottles of wine a day. She had given away custody of her two children, married a man she didn’t love, and moved several states away, all in a haze of alcohol. This book describes her journey through five treatment programs, struggling to free herself from her toxic relationship with drinking.
The book begins just after Place’s husband has her hauled off to jail, which is definitely an attention-grabbing way to start. Unfortunately, this is immediately followed by a chapter that tries to sum up her entire history up until that point in just a few pages. The result is confusing and feels rushed.
Thankfully, the book gets much easier to read after that. Place’s descriptions of her time in jail and rehab are vivid and interesting. Her voice gets stronger and more confident chapter by chapter, which helps the reader feel the progress she is making underneath her continuing addiction.
Watching her enter each new treatment center and then relapse time and again is frustrating, but that’s what makes this an authentic story: there are no easy answers, no quick fixes. It would be nice to see more of the internal work she was doing while in treatment, though. She talks about doing constant journaling and introspection, but never shares the results of that work. She also doesn’t discuss why she started drinking in the first place, which I think would be a crucial detail for this kind of memoir.
Even as a person who has never struggled with addiction, I found a lot of empathize with in her story. Place’s severe anxiety attacks were all too familiar, and I actually found those parts emotionally difficult to read because they described perfectly experiences I have gone through. It was easy for me to understand how difficult it was to recover from alcohol abuse and try to manage severe anxiety at the same time.
Apart from the story, Saturation would have benefitted from more thorough copy-editing. While there weren’t a crippling number of typos and style errors, they were a bit distracting.
I think this is a valuable memoir for anyone who wants a better understanding of alcohol addiction, or even the possible effects of severe anxiety.

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Thanks A!

Book Review + Mae West

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Wow, I’d love to walk through there!

5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn’t Put This Down!!!,January 19, 2012
By
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

I absolutely LOVED this book. I got it for my Kindle and I just couldn’t put it down. For a first book this was well-written and brutally honest, which I really appreciated. I did not want this book to end, but after all the author had gone through, I couldn’t imagine one more bad event in her life. For someone who is struggling with sobriety this is an excellent account because, for me at least, there is so much I could relate to. I found myself cheering for the author every time she entered another treatment center, but even when she relapsed I sympathized with her because I know what it’s like. Yes, she had quite an attitude, but look at the reasons: she arrived to treatment nearly every time extremely intoxicated and not very happy about being there. Too add more to it, I really think that she was feeling very beaten down and deeply disappointed in herself and was afraid of another failure. I loved the fact that she never gave up on herself in the end.
I highly recommend this to anyone going through recovery or any friends or family of an addict!

*******

Thanks, Black Belt Mom!

Quote of the day:   Between two evils, I generally like to pick the one I never tried before. ~ Mae West

One Out Of Five Stars + Princess Diana

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1.0 out of 5 stars A rough draft with possibilities (needs thorough editing), December 26, 2011
Miranda (Charleston WV)

If I hadn’t gotten this for free as an early reviewer I would not have finished it. I read a huge range of books, most are mediocre but a book has to be really bad for me to leave it partially finished.
The worst thing for me was that this could be a good book. The story is interesting and drinking memoirs are popular right now. A good, critical editor would have improved it, but as-is it reads like a rough draft with no editing. There are grammatical mistakes throughout the book and the writing is incredibly awkward. I read this on my Kindle and found a piece of text to highlight (for grammar, awkward wording, etc…) on a every page. There aren’t very many sentences on a Kindle page, especially given the odd formatting of this book.
Sometimes the writing is simply bad: “The mattress…had to weigh around a lot of pounds.”
But at other times it’s so poorly worded that it’s difficult to understand: “I took something that had nothing to do with me personally.” Did she steal something even though it meant nothing to her or did she become emotionally involved in something which had nothing to do with her? Of course you can figure it out from context but it never should have gotten past a halfway decent editor or 8th grade English teacher.
On one page the author writes “I needed to move to the PNW…” This is the first mention of this phrase yet she immediately uses initials. That’s quite the mistake but she compounds it a short while later with this passage “‘RJC’ She answered. …like I was supposed to know what those three letters stood for.” So the reader was supposed to automatically understand the author but when others do the same thing the author finds it offensive.
That is the other issue I had with this book – the author is extremely unlikeable. She makes snap judgements over trivialities – “Liar. He was a hair over 6’8″ and rounded up.” Estimating height to within an inch would be quite a talent. She harshly judges the behavior of other alcoholics as if it’s not an addiction and a disease while expecting her father to understand her behavior in terms of addiction (rather than a free choice). She includes odd descriptive details but does it randomly, as if she’s suddenly remembered that she should be descriptive.
I don’t think she *needs* to come off as likable, but if you’re not a sympathetic character then you need something else. Really fine writing, really good insights, or humor are good compensations (I don’t think Augusten Burroughs seems particularly likable but I love his books). This book has none of those compensations.
Again, this could be a good book. The author needs to take some writing classes, spend six months reading every decent memoir she can find and find a really tough editor who will help her improve her writing so that it reads like a finished book and not a rough draft.

*******

Duly noted, Miranda!   And now, a quote from a wise soul:

When you are happy you can forgive a great deal.  ~ Princess Diana

Shameless. :-) Okay – Cool Pic & Quote too…

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Sandra K rated it 4 of 5 stars ·

Exhausted.
Saturation, exhausted me. 

I’m not a reader that will read a book just to finish it. If the book does not interest me, if it is poorly written, I won’t continue.
Saturation took up a lot of my time and simply because the author’s life spread before me with such surgical, calculated pain; the book was fascinating I could not look away.
The author did not ramble and almost had a third party, journalistic view point of her life. I found myself thinking about the book when I was not reading it – a good sign. I found myself when I was finished sort of wrung out, as if I had run a long race. I can still feel that rubbery sort of numbness in my limbs thinking about the author’s life – completely saturated.
This is not light reading and it is not for the faint of heart. You will find yourself enraged and walking away – telling yourself you won’t pick up that **** book again. You will go back to it – you are compelled to go back to the book.
If you have a family member who is on the self-destruct road of alcoholism and you are searching for answers perhaps this book will help – it did not help me in that capacity. I was not searching for a connection or guidance, I wanted to read the book as an objective human being – I did not stay objective, I became emotionally involved.
I felt myself arguing with her decisions and questioning her complaints and pulling her away from her addictions. Then I realized – hey, I would be part of the problem too. I realized that as the book ended.
Again, I need to go back to that “exhausted,” feeling. As the book concludes and I realize that her journey was one of self-discovery and that wanting her to be sober was not enough – even her desire to be sober was not enough, she needed to deal with why she drank not how to get beyond drinking.
We’ve all heard that an addicted person needs to meet rock bottom, an addicted person needs to want sobriety. I realized when I completed the book that I had been wrestling with this author all through her words – she allowed me to enter her world. She did not come out, words blazing telling me to back off; she showed me my own controlling desires I never realized. That’s what a good book does – enlightens the reader. It was like grabbing the wheel during a high-speed chase and understanding you can’t drive from the passenger side.
Ms Place, I appreciate your work, your diligence and I would recommend and am recommending your writing. Thanks for your insight and best of luck.

 
 
Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.
Miguel de Cervantes

Extraordinary Picture and Review!

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“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.”
Wade Boggs

 

New! Nymtoc reviewed Saturation
Extraordinary November 15, 2011
Jennifer Place tells her own story and holds nothing back. “Saturation” is a hard look at a hard life. Through sheer determination, she made her way down long, ugly roads most of us never travel, and came out safe and sane at the end. The tough broads and eccentric jailbirds she meets belong in a movie. Many of the prison scenes are disturbing, but they show how much this gritty young woman went through before finding her way back to a more or less normal world.
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Thanks Nym!