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review 2016-12-13 07:15
The Illegal reads like a fairy tale, poorly written
The Illegal: A Novel - Lawrence Hill

Zantoroland is a small island ruled by an evil dictator. People from Zantoroland are black, poor and friendly. The only thing good about Zantoroland is it produces the fastest long distant runners in the world. Keita, the protagonist is one of them.


Fifteen hundred kilometres across the Sea of Ortiz is Freedom State, a far larger island, a democracy and one of the wealthiest nations in the world. People from Freedom State are mostly white, mostly rich and mostly bigots.


The people of Zantoroland are trying to get to Freedom State anyway they can for obvious reasons. The people of Freedom State are tired of illegal immigrants for obvious reasons and have elected a quasi-fascist government to find and deport them.


When Keita's father is murdered by the evil dictator he must flee and ends up in Freedom State. Unfortunately, the evil dictator has kidnapped his sister and is demanding Keita pay a ransom for her release.


As an illegal the only way Keita can make money to pay the ransom is to win long distance races. This is the premise behind The Illegal by Lawrence Hill.


This preposterous plot is further hobbled by stereotypical characters including the aforementioned evil dictator, a whore with a heart of gold, a female cop that answers to love rather than her commander, a feisty old lady, and a sleazy, unethical prime minister and his sociopathic assistant.


The political machinations in The Illegal are convoluted to the point of being ridiculous.


On every level, except for the running, this novel lacks authenticity and credibility. The first sentence of The Illegal should have began , "Once upon a time..." The last, "And they lived happily, ever after."


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review 2016-01-24 22:41
Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball - R.A. Dickey,Wayne Coffey

A book that made a major impression on me. I was amazed at the story and events that make up R.A. Dickey. A devout Christian, Dickey describes how his calling from God has helped him on his journey through life and baseball. Baseball fans will love this book, but this book also has life messages for everyone. One of the more inspiring books you will ever read.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-03-07 10:58
Completed March 7, 2014
Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy - Susan Spencer-Wendel,Bret Witter

Like The End of Your Life Book Club, this was a book about death and dying that reminded me just how cynical and judgmental I have become.


I like to say that I "lead with compassion".  In my work assisting a local legislator, i have been exposed to many social issues, including dying with dignity.  I believe that each and every one of us should have the opportunity to leave this world on our own terms, in our own unique way.


i admire the author for her strength of character, and for her commitment to live out her final days without dwelling on her condition or the loss of so much that makes us feel human.  However (here comes the cynical and judgmental part!) this book BOTHERED me, on a number of levels:


1.  For someone living on borrowed time, someone who writes so passionately about her love for her children...why spend so much of the time you have left far from home, away from them?


2.  Some of the most meaningful portions of the book involved the author's discovery of her late birth father's homeland and his wonderful, welcoming relatives.  Why not introduce your children to that aspect of your life while you can still see it through their eyes?  Why wait until you are gone to make the introductions?


3.  The "moments" depicted often feel manufactured and put on.  I'm sorry, but a woman should try on her first (and hopefully only!) wedding gown when she has a ring and a date, and is hopelessly in love with Mr. / Ms. Right.  Not before.


4.  Permanent make-up???  Really???  The "setting" of this book - Palm Beach - plays a vital role in how I approach this book, and in how I perceive the author.  We're not talking Compton, California here.  That makes a heartbreaking journey just a little more comfortable, and so much of the book had me rolling my eyes at the resources and connections that helped ease the way;


5.  The decision not to be honest with the kids about how the journey will end was a source of confusion and sadness for me.  Yes, children should be sheltered from adult tragedies, but these are not babies.  I think the youngest is ten or eleven.  One of them has Asperger's.  There are truths that can be shared, gently and kindly, without shattering their hearts or their souls.  And they probably know far more than we think they do.


But...well...who am i to judge?


This book is extremely well-written, and I discovered a new favourite narrator, Karen White.  But it is a true story, and I needed more from it than it delivered.  May lightning strike me down for saying so :)

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text 2013-12-17 04:40
Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel - Carol Rifka Brunt

At first, this book puzzled me.  It was like a maze, and I kept hitting all the dead ends.


i think I get it now.  Or at least I'm closer to figuring out the route.

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quote 2013-07-22 22:53
"We're so used to getting what we want at Wal-Mart, so used to punching the buttons on the remote to find the show we want, so used to custom-ordering our computers, our cars, our food (just have it your way), that we tend to apply that to our relationship to the church and then to God the Father...

We want Wal-God - a god who is one of our own making, who exists to serve us when we want and how we want."

Super Center Savior, p48

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