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review 2017-05-04 17:30
The Buried Book by DM Pulley
The Buried Book - D. M. Pulley

Set in and around Detroit in 1952, 9 year old Jasper has just been left at his uncle Leo’s farm. No one knows where his mother Althea has gotten off to and his dad visits when he can. Jasper has many questions and several of those can be answered by secrets kept on the farm. The rest he must hunt out, puzzling them together.

Part mystery, part literary fiction, part coming of age, this tale wasn’t what I was expecting but it sure was gripping. Most of the book is told through Jasper’s eyes, though there are flashbacks sprinkled throughout the book to show us Althea’s life as a girl long before she had Jasper. While some parts of the book were a bit slow, there was always something pulling me back into it.

Althea grew up in the Prohibition Era and as a teen she is faced with some interesting employment choices. She doesn’t want to be a farmer her whole life yet she doesn’t see many choices in front of her either. Jumping forward a generation, young Jasper is dumped on the farm’s doorstep. Eventually he starts exploring things a bit and finds the old farmhouse that was gutted by fire. The structure is still standing and he makes a very interesting discovery inside, one that gives him many clues as to his mom’s history. These clues lead him to seek out people his mom once knew and who might be able to help him locate her today.

I wasn’t expecting some of the twists and turns this book took, which I really liked about the story. Since he’s only 9, most of the adults in the tale don’t want to tell him what they know, usually in an attempt to protect him. Jasper is tired of being protected from the truth and indeed, the web of lies and evasions really start to weigh on the guy. Talk about emotional and mental strain!

The farm scenes were good but often intense. After all, it’s a working farm complete with livestock, tractors, and plenty of chores. Jasper has his older cousin to help him navigate the dos and dont’s of the farm. There are scenes of butchering but I didn’t feel they were gratuitously gory though we do get Jasper’s view on these scenes. Initially, he’s a bit horrified but as he spends more time on the farm, he starts to understand and except how things are done.

The ending wrapped up the big questions and I believe Jasper comes out the stronger for the experience. I did feel some minor mysteries were left hanging a bit. While such is often so with real life, I did want just a little more from this book. Still, it was a good listen and I did get attached to Jasper and his cousin.

I listened to this audiobook through Kindle Unlimited.

The Narration: Luke Daniels was great for this book. I am once again impressed with his vocal range. He was great as 9 year old Jasper including the myriad of emotions he experiences throughout this story. I especially loved his voice for uncle Leo who was often hard yet caring at the same time. Daniels’s female voices were good and his regional accents were well done.

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review 2016-08-10 00:00
Detroit Is No Dry Bones: The Eternal City of the Industrial Age
Detroit Is No Dry Bones: The Eternal Cit... Detroit Is No Dry Bones: The Eternal City of the Industrial Age - Camilo José Vergara My Review:
This book had an unsettling effect on me. All those ruins, and they really are ruins, relics of a grander time. All the life, gone. Vergara commented on it himself at one point. There are no people in his photographs. He'd start to take a picture and try to refocus to capture a person, and the person would be gone. There are whole parts of Detroit where there are no people, though. Nothing but rotting floors, rusting pipes, faded signs, fallen roofs. Abandoned. Burnt. Abused. And graffiti over all. In some landscapes, that's the only color, the graffiti. It's a stark sight and he's been photographing it for a long time. Each year catching the changes. Some slow, gradual. Some as quick as a flash of hot fire. No one to stop it. No one to care.

No, that's not true. There are people who care. The African American population in Detroit fights back as it can. However, the money in Detroit doesn't belong to them. And Packards aren't made in Detroit anymore. No jobs. No money. No power. No progress. Slow progress. The revelation of the condition of their city has embarrassed some of the people of Detroit and things are ever so slowly changing. It's going to take time. It's going to take a whole lot of money. And it's going to take a whole lot of caring. I hope Mr. Vergara keeps dropping into Detroit with his camera to take pictures.

This book is being published on August 28, 2016. I was provided a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review by University of Michigan Regional and NetGalley. I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions stated are fully my own.
~ Judi E. Easley
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review 2016-05-18 13:05
The Turner House
The Turner House - Angela Flournoy
  This probably wouldn't have come across my radar without the Detroit connection and might have languished on my TBR shelf if it hadn't turned up at my local library in the front area new book shelves--one of the best (and most dangerous) areas in the library.

The Turner House is the story of a family and the story of a city both undergoing extreme changes. Viola Turner is the matriarch of thirteen children, who's been forced to leave the family home of 50 years on Yarrow Street and live with her eldest son Cha-Cha and his wife Tina. This of course, is only temporary until she recovers from some health issues she's been having.

The home is no longer in a desirable neighborhood and sadly only worth 1/10th of it's mortgage, so the kids have to decide what they are going to do. Lots of suggestions but nobody's happy with any of them. And it's becoming more and more obvious as time passes that Viola will end her days at her son's home--regardless of her wishes.

Told between the two time frames of 1944 when the Turner patriarch Francis first arrived in Detroit from Arkansas to 2008 and mostly following the oldest son Cha-Cha and the youngest daughter Lelah with appearances by the other siblings along the way this is a bittersweet story with lots of heart.

 

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text 2016-04-08 14:42
Authors We Like- James C. Ritchie

Please go to the link provided because after 10 failed attempts at posting the blog here I quit. My friend has published a lovely book of photographs of Detroit and I just wish BL was working properly so I could repost his photographs here.

 

 

They allow just one image it seems so here is Silent Player.

 

Another dawn greets this forever-silent piano in the Sam Leon Bar in the ghost town Bodie, California.

 

This photo is a Gold Award winner in the 2010 COLOR Magazine Single Image Contest. Only 15 Gold Award winners were chosen out of 324 entries comprising 2,030 images. It appears on page 71 in the May, 2010 special issue (No. 7).

Source: 38caliberreviews.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/authors-we-like-james-c-ritchie
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review 2015-08-30 05:42
Once In A Great City: Detroit 1963: Cars, Motown, Labor, Race, Hope - David Maraniss

#Onceagreatcity  @simon&schuster

At first, I was pretty interested in this book, but as I kept reading, it really wasn't as much about Detroit as I thought it would be. It's like if anyone who lived in Detroit did anything, it was included. Why was I reading about the assignation of JFK and Martin Luther King? Those did not take place in Detroit. And the March on Washington? Sure King did his "I have a dream" speech first in Detroit, but why am I reading all about the March. Why am I reading about the Cold War? Why am I reading about Vietnam?

I think book should be titled what went on in the early 1960's, not just Detroit. If your looking for a book just about Detroit, skip this one. Too much other stuff that doesn't belong in there.

Thanks Simon and Schuster and Net Galley for providing me with this free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

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