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review 2019-02-19 20:42
Indivisible: A Screenplay Novelization by Travis Thrasher
Indivisible: A Novelization - Travis Thrasher

Inspired by true events, Indivisible is a story of love, service, and finding each other all over again. Darren and Heather Turner share a passion for serving God, family, and country. When Darren is deployed to Iraq as an army chaplain, Heather vows to serve military families back home as she cares for the couple’s three young children.

Darren knows he’s overseas to support the troops in their suffering as their chaplain. What he doesn’t know is how he will get through his own dark moments. And as communication from Darren dwindles, Heather wonders what is happening in her husband’s heart. Meanwhile, she’s growing weary in the day-to-day life of a military base—each child’s milestone Darren will never see, each month waiting for orders, each late-night knock on the door. When Darren returns, he is no longer the husband Heather once knew. She is no longer the woman Darren wed. And so it’s at home that the Turners face their biggest battle: to save their marriage. Based on the screen play by David Evans, Indivisible is a tribute to the beauty of serving our country, the courage of choosing love in the darkness, and the power of a God who never gives up hope.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Inspired by a true story, Indivisible tells the story of Army chaplain Darren Turner, whose deployment in Iraq ends up challenging the foundation of his marriage to wife Heather. Based on the original screenplay by David Evans, this book features a foreword from the real Darren & Heather Turner, where Darren says that while the film has taken creative license in parts (to be expected), much of what made it to screen is a pretty accurate portrayal of their story.

 

In May of 2007, Darren Turner is sent to Iraq to serve as chaplain to the troops there. While he does his best to provide comfort to soldiers emotionally struggling, he comes to find he has his own struggle with inner dark thoughts. It begins to wear him down as he tries to find balance between duty to his job and his family back home. 

 

Image result for indivisible film

 

Back home, wife Heather notices a decrease in communications on Darren's end. She tries to be patient, but it's hard when she has her own tough and lonely journey as a military wife and really just wants a spouse she can have some bonding time with. When Darren does make it back home, his overall demeanor is noticeably different. Pretty quickly, life for the two becomes a fight to save their marriage.

 

On the surface, that sounds like a pretty touching story, as long as the reader can hope for a happy ending, right? Judging from the high praise of this work, it seems to have hit the mark just fine for many. Me, not so much. For reasons I'll get into in a minute, I came not to be all that impressed with Darren, at least how he comes off in this book. 

 

 

Related image

 

Right from the foreword, I was a little bothered that it's titled as being from both Darren and Heather, but Heather is not given her own space to share her own perspective. We only get things from Darren's point of view. Read past that and into the novelization itself, and Darren still gets top billing. The story's actually not as much of a Team Turner production as it's advertised to be. In fact, this thing read like one big humble brag on Darren's end. Perhaps the onus of that lies on the shoulders of Travis Thrasher's fictionalization of Darren's story, but I have to think Darren had some say and must have okay'd how he was portrayed here.... and come to think of it, why wasn't this just done as a nonfiction account to begin with?! 

 

Darren's characterization in general here was a large part of the problem for me. The underlying sexism that was hinted at in the foreword ("I am the man, I speak for both of us" attitude) shows its face even in the novel, when Darren is shocked to find that Sergeant Peterson is A WOMAN?! *Insert Scooby-Doo noise* 

 

A few other scenes I found bothersome:

 

* Friends throw Darren a going away party after he shares news of his upcoming deployment. As party guests are leaving, he gives everyone a long letter, the contents of which are shared in the novel. This letter basically amounts to more humble brag, scattered with "don't grieve for me", "just what I was called to do" and other unnecessary martyr-ish nonsense sentiments that scream of fake humility. If you want to get that stuff off your chest, just say a little something at the party real quick. The whole letter thing was definitely an ego stroke for him. It just read too over the top to me. 

 

* There's another part of the story that describes the time when Darren is still overseas and his communications to his wife start to drop off. She's sending him multiple emails begging from a word from him. He's hanging out at the base, it would be easy enough to shoot her a quick line and say, "Hey, just really busy but yeah, I'm good. Miss you." It's even mentioned that one of his CO's sees his email page open and mentions that Darren should let his wife know he's okay. Darren's response is basically, "Yeah, I know but meh, I'm busy." IT'S YOUR WIFE. YOU ARE IN A WAR ZONE. If you have the time and the ability, TELL HER YOU'RE OKAY. OMG. He also ends up forgetting their anniversary. When he does finally call her, what does he say? "Oh hey babe, can you start putting together Christmas stockings for the troops here?" When she asks how many he's thinking exactly he casually says, "Give or take a thousand." A THOUSAND. For a woman already swamped with raising three kids by herself for over a year. Yeah, cool. Not insensitive or selfish to ask this of your depressed, stressed out wife at all. 

 

  • SIDENOTE
  • Now don't hate on me btw, I was all for the idea of sending gifts to the troops. My beef is just with the way he dropped that on her like that after all that radio silence and then forgetting her anniversary. I'm just saying it definitely read like a man who doesn't see that he is most definitely taking the blessing of a loyal spouse for granted. Which is a HUGE peeve of mine. Like a solid life partner can be found just any old place. No! You gotta honor that gold! On the other hand though, Heather is also insanely quick to forgive Darren's lousy treatment of her, which I was also bothered by... having a successful traditional marriage setup does not require that one person be an emotional doormat, but it seems to be a dang trend these days! 

 

 

*The portion of the story where Darren comes back home and he and Heather try to find their new normal and work out their differences... that all felt very rushed. Again, Heather is quick with forgiving Darren before he quite deserves it, and he has one unbelievably cruel scene where he dares to ask what her contribution was while he was out serving the country. That sealed it for me. After that, I was done with anything he had to say. 

 

*Darren didn't strike me as all that great a pastor. I can't get behind someone who, when faced with someone grieving, questioning the existence of a loving God in the face of such horrors as those that come out in times of war, responds with an attitude of Well, if you won't immediately accept what I'm saying as correct, then you clearly are not listening and I have nothing else to say to you right now.

 

 

Related image

 

The problems continue. The dialogue between characters reads like a low budget tv movie. While I was reading, I could actually almost hear the sappy music drifting behind several of these scenes. The reader is also practically beaten over the head with the level of evangelism soaked into the text. Not really my cuppa. Then there was the subtle but definitely present biased military-themed propaganda, the whole "we're the good guys, THEY'RE evil". Yet again, here's a story making unfair blanket statements towards an entire group of people -- in this case, Muslims -- blaming the many not full of hate, just trying to quietly live their lives, for the sins of the minority group of extremists.

 

Darren's character is disturbingly flippant in his letters back home, "Things are going good, we are killing lots of bad guys!" I understand not wanting your family back home to worry, but maybe have a moment, a pause, of solemn acknowledgement for the tragic, horrible vacuum a war zone creates for families, on all sides of the equation. Maybe remind yourself that no one is really winning in this scenario. Maybe, just maybe don't go in with the attitude of a new age megachurch pastor on the first day of summer bible school. Reality hits Darren just pages after this scene, as he witnesses a young Iraqi girl struck by stray gunfire brought into the base for treatment. Watching her slowly die, he thinks of how close in age the girl is to one of his own daughters. Why does it so often take the death of someone for people to see others of a different race from your own are -- wild I know! -- in fact, people too. That the good guy / bad guy isn't always as clear as your narrow, sheltered viewpoint would have you believe. 

 

 

Image result for indivisible film

 

 

 

I have not yet seen the film this novelization was based off of, but honestly... just reading this book, I'm disappointed this was published at all. 

 

FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

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url 2019-02-15 10:18
New Consciousness and Group Dynamics
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Art of 4 Elements - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Tree of Life - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Chanting Mantras with Best Chords - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Being - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Spiritual Symbols: With their Meanings (Alchemy of love mindfulness training) (Volume 8) - Nataša Pantović Nuit

New Consciousness and Group Dynamics

Learning about Subconsciousness from Ancient Mythology & Philosophers Prometheus Titans PatanjaliSpiritualityPower of MindRelationshipsMindfulnessArticlesconsciousness

 

New  & Subconsciousness of Group Dynamics

Learning from Prometheus and Titans

by Nataša Pantović

The subconscious material or  chitta has its own “body” that engulfs the . Each soul from its birth passes through various awakenings, or dissociation from the sub-consciousness.

Mind chitta is an astral vibratory response within the subconscious layers with the precise words, feelings, and thoughts formations. We all enter it unconsciously. An ancient Indian Philosopher Patanjali  recognizes these dynamics within his Yoga Sutras. The Ancient Greeks Mythology and Philosophy Mother of All Sciences resonate with exactly the same logic.

Creation of humanity by Prometheus as Athena looks on (Roman-era relief 3rd century AD) Italy

Creation of humanity by Prometheus as Athena looks on (Roman-era relief 3rd century AD) Italy

Quantum physics and Consciousness

The infinite divisibility of the atom with its rapid transformation prevents the Soul from manifesting. Two atoms react uniquely different when with each other and two Souls have uniquely different encounters. Two mothers exchange parenting knowledge, two grandpas share their illnesses; two lovers interact through a sexual contact. The circumstances dance within the Universal Flow, creating a type of Dough that subconsciously modifies our thinking principle as a Soul materialized on Earth or someone who belongs to a Group. 

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url 2019-02-12 11:38
Ama Dios 9 Consciousness Books Combined
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Art of 4 Elements - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Tree of Life - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Chanting Mantras with Best Chords - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Being - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Spiritual Symbols: With their Meanings (Alchemy of love mindfulness training) (Volume 8) - Nataša Pantović Nuit

Ama Dios 9 Consciousness Books Combined

Applying Quantum Physics to manifestation of Consciousness researching Ancient Psychological aspects of Alchemy & Chinese, Greek, Hindu Philosophers, the compilation of 9 AoL books: 2 fiction and 7 non-fiction explore Symbols, Mysticism, Arts, Creativity, Consciousness & Beauty:
1. A-Ma by Nuit, Historical Fiction set in 17th Century China. A Mystical Journey of Portuguese, Chinese Consciousness Researchers, set in the Age of Enlightenment during the Dutch attack to Macao in 1622, the Reform of Chinese Calendar in 1630-s, with Father Adam Schall's appointment to the Chinese Board of Mathematicians during 1650-s, the witch hunt of a Shaman's African Goddess incarnated in China as Ama and her father Ottavio, a Portuguese Alchemist. Size: 244 pg, 6x9”
2. Art of 4 Elements: Exploring Alchemy through Poetry, Spiritual Four Elements Meditations, a Mystical Journey into Enlightenment through ancient mysteries and stories, by Nuit, Jason Lu, Christine Cutajar, Jeni Caruana. The 120 poems, written by Nuit, acted as an inspiration for the work of 3 artists. Size: 266 pg 8” x 10”
3. Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes, by Olivera Rosić .Designed with the best Alchemy of Love Mindful Eating Exercises and a collection of Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes. The Exercises help with over-eating, eating too often, eating too little, eating junk food, food allergies, etc. Size: 120 pg 6” x 9” 
4. Chanting Mantas with Best Chords by Nuit. With more than 50 mantras from all around the world, their spiritual meanings, lyrics and chords, it explores: Hindu Sacred Mantras; Buddhist Mantras; Sufi Chants; New-Consciousness Mantras in English. Size: 120 pg 6” x 9” 
5. Mindful Being towards Mindful Living Course is a 12 Modules Personal Growth Course full of "Green Life-Style" exercises including self improvement and spiritual questionnaires, soul’s diary, behavior pattern modification, relationship contracts, and many other daily self-growth transformation tools on Nutrition, Core Beliefs, Emotional Intelligence, Mind Power, Creative Thinking, Joy and Love. Year: 2015, Size: 187 pg 8” x 10”
6. Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents by Nuit and Ivana Milosavljević (Md Special Needs), a "Green-Lifestyle" Training designed for parents with plenty of Questionnaires and Family exercises. We explore the magic work with: Rhythm, Day-to-day Routine, Happy Family Structure, Cultivating Relationships, etc. We look into parenting goals, dreams, and creativity tools for kids. Size: 228 pg 8” x 10”
7. Tree of Life with Spiritual Poetry. A Novel by Nataša Pantović Nuitis set in Findhorn, UK as a Journey into the Field of Dreams that In various religious interpretations, within myths, and as a mystical concept represents the inter-connection of all life on our beautiful planet. The story becomes a true adoption story venturing into Africa, Ethiopia, Kenia, within the magic of four elements, four directions, four stages of Life. Size: 264 pg 6" x 9” 
8. Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations by Nuit, Developing both Left and Right Brain could be essential for Creative Thinkers of our Future. To purify mind we start with the consciousness that energy follows thoughts and we use Quantum Physics Logic within Consciousness Research of Taoism following Yin and Yang Universe Manifestations to enter Creative Flow. Year: 2017 Size: 96 pages, 6" x 9"
9. Spiritual Symbols with Their Meaning by Nuit. Our Holographic Universe resonates with the most amazing precision creating Realities of our Choice. Using the sound (Aum, Amin, Allah) resonance to mediate, today & in the past our artists use symbols to enter higher states of consciousness. From Neolithic wisdom of Ancient Temples' carvings of spirals, Pythagoras numbers, Leonardo da Vinci's paintings, ancient wisdom of magic, mysticism, occult travels to our worlds giving us conscious / subconscious gift from Greek Philosophers, Neolithic Temples Goddesses, Alchemy Size 152 pg 6" x 9"

Source: www.amazon.com/dp/B07NL6WBFR
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review 2019-01-26 18:31
Freedom's Light by Colleen Coble
Freedom's Light - Colleen Coble

Hannah Thomas left the South and all that was familiar to marry her beloved John. But the fact that she’s never been quite accepted by his mother and sister and that she doesn’t quite fit the strict Massachusetts Puritan community only becomes more difficult when John is killed in one of the first battles in the war for freedom. Hannah is allowed to continue to serve as lightkeeper for the twin tower lighthouses on the lonely coastline, but it is grueling work for a woman alone. One of the first shipwrecks washes ashore a handsome captain she thinks is a Tory, but she soon finds out he’s working as a spy for Washington. Much stands in the way of their happiness including the need to protect his secret, pressure from John’s family to marry another, near-constant disapproval from the townspeople, and the appearance of Hannah’s wayward sister. Coupled with the strain of war, Hannah isn’t sure she’ll ever see the light of freedom.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

Some time ago, young Hannah Thomas was being courted by Galen Wright, a man who seemed lovely and attentive enough at first but later proved to have a terrifying dark streak to his soul. His interest in her turned obsessive. To protect herself from further unwanted attentions from him, Hannah agrees to a marriage to the lighthouse keeper of Gurnet, Massachussetts, a man some 20 years her senior. Though it might have not been a traditional love match, over the course of their first year of marriage, the two did develop a comfortable companionship. 

 

Now Hannah is eighteen and has just received word that her husband, who had gone off to fight in the Revolutionary War, has been killed. Widowed, left without the protection of her husband's person or name, Hannah is fearful of what the future holds but continues to do her best to hold down the fort, both literally and figuratively. She has the slight misfortune of living just down the road from a difficult, nosy mother-in-law but does her best to keep relations there as civil as possible, though MIL makes it clear she does not like Hannah taking up her son's work at the lighthouse. She's also slyly made it know that she does not want Hannah to continue carrying the family name, though Hannah's brother-in-law has made an offer. Needing some distraction from all this family noise, not to mention some companionship, Hannah invites her younger sister, Lydia, to come stay with her. All is quite cozy and fun until Galen shows his face in town and Hannah is increasingly distressed with just how much interest Lydia is showing in him.

 

Then comes the pivotal night when Hannah fails to keep the lighthouse flame burning and a ship wrecks on Gurnet's shores. Much of the crew is lost, but Hannah manages to save the captain, Birch Meredith. Seeing his leg is severely damaged, she brings him into her home where he spends the next weeks & months recovering. During this time, a testy friendship develops. Though they amuse each other and Birch gets a kick out of Hannah's quietly fiesty nature, they struggle to bridge the political divide between them. Hannah, fiercely for the Revolution, cannot bring herself to accept that Birch is Team Loyalist (meaning he wishes for the United States to remain under British rule). Birch has reasons and secrets for his actions, but revealing them to anyone, even Hannah, is just too risky in these times.

 

image courtesy of SlidePlayer.com

"American Revolution: Treatment of Loyalists"

 

 

 

Covertly working for the US under the leadership of then General George Washington, Birch comes and goes from Hannah's life throughout the course of the novel, though she is never far from his thoughts. Birch is set on avenging the death of his brother, the killer being someone close to Hannah's circle (though she's unaware). General Washington reminds Birch not to let lust for revenge distract him from the mission of securing independence for the United States.

 

 

Guess I was unintentionally on Team Loyalist while reading!

 

 

Each time Birch reappears, Hannah finds her convictions shaken just a little more. Her friendship with Birch causes a growing fury within her Puritan community. More than once, she is brought before the elders to answer for her actions. At one of these tribunal sessions, in so many words the church elders basically say it's not so bad to throw yourself at a man as long as he's not a Loyalist! LOL But they later backtrack on this, saying Hannah really should answer "for the state of your soul", something they weren't AS concerned about a moment before, telling her "you and your God alone know the state of your heart."

 

There is a noticeable amount of inspiration pulled from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in this story, but I checked the author's note at the end and I don't see Colleen Coble fessin' up to it. Instead, she mentions that this is a story that's "languished in my virtual drawer for eighteen years...". She goes on to say that it wasn't previously published due to Revolutionary War era material being a tough sell. I'm assuming she meant within the Christian Fiction market, where she has since found her fame? I'd say it has a healthy enough fan base within other genres.

 

But back to the P & P similarities: First, there's Lydia. Not only does Hannah's sister share a name with Elizabeth Bennett's little sister, but she also gets into a similar fix. Both Lydias appear to have a weakness for a uniformed man.

 

 

 

 

Take out Galen Wright, insert George Wickham... OMG I just now realized they even have the same initials. But yeah, the guys are interchangeable with the same goal of getting their grubby, libidinous hands on a young innocent for the sake of getting closer to the older sister. Likewise, we have the arrival of Captain Birch Meredith mimicking the entrance of Fitzwilliam Darcy... in both instances, the ladies having an abrasive early introduction to the men which later turns into playful friendship and then love. Much in the way Darcy helps Elizabeth save & protect Lydia from Wickham, Captain Meredith from Freedom's Light sets out to take down Galen Wright and his cohorts and help get Lydia back to the safety of her sister, Hannah.

 

Though Coble first crafted this novel nearly twenty years ago, there are themes addressed here that not only make for an engaging historical read -- leading readers to think on experiences of our ancestors -- but still read relevant to today's times. Coble does a fair job tackling sexism of the 1700s. Take Hannah, our main character. Hannah, having served as her husband's assistant tending the lighthouse, she learns all about the care and maintenance of the light and how much the sailors rely on these towers for safety. She takes up her husband's post while he's away at war, and once she hears of his death she reasons that someone still must tend to the light. She has the training, so why not her? But nope, nope, nope.... the very idea unnerves the community. I mean, she's out there painting the tower in PANTS, people! The woman is just trying to do her best to live a right and good life, she has a defined moral code she guides herself by, but because the image of it all doesn't match the preferences of those in power, the community won't let up on her! 

 

Image result for revolutionary war life

 
 
by Baron Theodore Gudin (1848)
 
 

 

Then let's consider Birch. Though I liked Birch generally as a character and found him quite warm and funny for most of the story, his ageist side irked me. Perhaps I'm more sensitive to it as I creep along my 30s.... and from what I've read of history, his attitude was not uncommon... but UGH. There was a scene where Birch attends a party hosted by Molly Vicar. Birch is there to spy on Galen and his crew, but keeps making it a point to note how amazing it is that Molly Vicar can still capture attention and turn heads at her age of "around 40". Imagine that, a woman making it to that age and somehow avoiding the expected metamorphosis into a bridge troll! One line of this I likely would've laughed and overlooked, but Birch brings it up multiple times in this ONE scene! I was going to root for the character of Molly Vicar until she made the "any man that doesn't want me must be gay" (paraphrasing here) comment. Nevermind, a girl that smug can end up with whatever LOL. 

 

While I've not been the biggest fan of Coble's more modern novels -- while decently written, I find many of them bland and forgettable -- I was cheering for this one because it left me thinking Hallelujah, Coble finally showing some edge to her writing! Looking over the reviews of others though, seems many did NOT like this aspect of this novel. In Freedom's Light, Coble incorporates espionage, hangings, whippings, sexual assault / rape, hostage situations and babies born out of wedlock. I've seen many reviews criticize Coble for putting this out there, crying "How dare you?!" Well, here's the thing folks. History --- real history, not the sanitized Hallmark image you must have in your mind --- plays dirty. Since the dawn of civilization, people have made questionable choices for the sake of love, survival, money, power, what have you. That includes such things as murder, rape, illegitimate children, etc. Open a real, non-fiction history book and it's all in there. It's DANGEROUS to never acknowledge the darker side of human nature. So I say yes, put them in novels. Make people look at it. And then craft characters around it who show us how to overcome such situations! Give us a sense of hope in dark times! 

 

Consider Hannah and her interactions with Birch: Hannah has strong faith which in turn provides her with strength and belief in herself and her abilities to overcome any of life's difficulties. Birch, fueled by rage and a need for revenge over the murder of his younger brother, scoffs at any mention of religion. Hannah urges him to reconsider his feelings. As time passes and Birch's love for Hannah grows, he confesses that if he could just have her, he'd let go of everything else. She could save him! Hannah calmly and wisely explains something vitally important for him to understand: it is incredibly foolhardy for a person to pin all their hopes of faith, salvation or redemption on any one person. Sure, others can help you along the path but putting all your eggs in one basket (so to speak) only leads to a false sense of security. 

 

 

Image result for Shipwreck in Stormy Seas 1773, Claude-Joseph Vernet

"A Shipwreck In Stormy Seas" (1773)

by Claude-Joseph Vernet

 

 

 

Humans... humans are fallible by nature. Answers to questions regarding faith and life purpose can only be answered from inside one's soul. And typically those answers come about through surviving those most unpretty of life scenarios.

 

FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.

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review 2019-01-23 00:06
Tales of a Cosmic Possum by Sheila Ingle
Tales of a Cosmic Possum - Sheila Ingle

Sheila Ingle’s husband John was brought up in Ingle Holler in Union, South Carolina, with eight other Ingle families. They worked together in the mills, shared their gardens, attended church, and enjoyed the playing and singing of the songs from the Grand Ole Opry. When five of the brothers went off to war, those who couldn’t fight took care of their families. The Ingles stuck together, just like they were taught in the Appalachian hills of Erwin, Tennessee. Love of God, love of family, and love of country were modeled in each home. In fact, one year Make Ingle put his sons and grandsons together to build Hillside Baptist Church. Adults kept up with the newspapers and the radios; world happenings were important. Any type of sickness brought a barrage of soup and cornbread, because children still had to eat. On those twenty acres, the children played in the creek, cowboys and Indians, and hide-and-seek. They built their own wagons and sleds to race down the hill on the dry, hickory leaves. All the boys learned to shoot a .22 caliber, and John’s mother Lois could light a match with her shots. Living in Ingle Holler was home, where each one was accepted.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

In Tales of Cosmic Possum, author Sheila Ingle writes a celebratory biography of the Ingle family, her husband's people. The branch of the family tree we as readers get to know originated in Erwin, Tennessee but later relocated to Union, South Carolina on a piece of land that came to be known as Ingle Holler. In this holler, family members could grow up expecting a true Appalachian upbringing. As the years pass over the course of the book, readers are introduced to generations of cotton mill workers -- many dropping out of school by the 3rd grade to join the rest of the family in the mills --  humble and hard-working folk dedicated to their families, regardless of how much or how little they had. Scattered throughout these tales are also neat little historical notes (ie. the reference to Peter Pan peanut butter being sold in tin cans in the 1930s -- I didn't know the brand even dated back that far!)

 

 

Sometimes it was difficult to remember back to those early years 37 years ago. The skinny auburn-haired girl, afraid of the dark and her own shadow, had matured into a woman who was a right good spinner and fit as a fiddle. Her third grade education had not held her back.

 

"Julie", chapter discussing the grandmother of Sheila Ingle's husband, John

 

 

Though considered one continuous non-fiction piece, the chapters are set up to showcase one particular member of the Ingle family (per chapter) and a story unique to them. But the stories are so moving, so richly infused with life & spirit, the reader quickly gets immersed in the lives of these people long gone. Sheila Ingle's writing is so inviting, offers such a sense of inclusion to readers, that this work of biography moves more like a collection of interconnected short stories. I guess, in a sense, they are! The very last chapter focuses on Sheila Ingle's mother-in-law.

 

Relevant black and white photos are included in some of the chapters to enhance the scenes described. There are also several pages of additional photos of family members at the back of the book. 

 

Collectively, the chapters span the years between early 1900s - 1950s, chapters full of heartwarming stories of neighbor helping neighbor, even when it seems like you have nothing to offer. Sheila Ingle, through the stories of her husband's family, illustrates that though one may have meager physical possessions on hand, you may be surprised to realize that, in fact, there is nearly always something within your ability or means that can be of use to someone in need. These are the types of books we need more of in this day and age! 

 

*Note to animal lovers though: Early on in the book, during Fannie's story, there is description of Fannie witnessing the hanging -- literal hanging -- execution of a circus elephant who trampled its handler to death after being startled. The imagery, as you can imagine, is pretty disturbing.

 

FTC Disclaimer: Ambassador International kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.

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