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Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

THE BURIED BOOK: A Novel ~D.M. Pulley

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

D.M. Pulley wrote THE DEAD KEY that I reviewed several years ago.  It was a fascinating study of corruption that was part of an old bank scheduled to be demolished.  It was difficult to get into and yet there I was hooked into reading every page and the story was excellent.

“The author is a professional engineer from Shaker Heights, Ohio, who specializes in rehabbing historic structures as well as conducting forensic investigations of building failures.  Pulley’s structural survey of an abandoned building in Cleveland formed the basis for her debut novel.” (Cover)

THE BURIED BOOK starts off a huge leap as nervous Althea Leary drops her son, Jasper, off at her brother’s farm about 60 miles from Detroit.  He is left with a suitcase holding a change of clothes and a children’s Bible.  It is August of 1952 and Althea is in a huge hurry to escape something.   Everyone is confused but falls into place with the farm routines and helping Jasper fit into the schedule.  The cabin is small with almost no privacy.

Jasper is finding the farm chores rigorous and yet he is enjoying the work and the learning.  He is very confused by his Mother’s departure and when she does not return and her car is found abandoned or hidden the stress pushes him into hunting for her.  At a burned down farmhouse, he finds a journal written by Althea when she was a young girl.  The journal details how she was blackmailed into doing the bidding of bootlegger/wealthy farmer and this awfulness continued throughout her life.

The book is quite the page-turner, as I was kept invested in the story and what would happen to Jasper and his family.  We are also learning about what was happening to the Native American’s who were on a reservation in the area of the farm.  The prejudices and the fear of the people in the area are very much exploited by the drug runners and mafia people dealing with prohibition.  Poverty is a theme that underlies the entire story.

Pulley writes like an engineer; precise, mathematical, descriptive and dense.  The story moves forward until the riddle is solved and we find Jasper’s Mother and bring her home.

Fire was an important component of the story and I am still sorting out its meaning and reference.  It was a potent threat.

This good read was sent to my Kindle by TLC Book Tours for review.

Related:
The Dead Key
In Doubt
Shady Cross

GONE TO SOLDIERS: A Fiction Novel about WWII ~ Marge Piercy

Monday, April 25th, 2016

I discovered Marge Piercy the writer in the early 1990s.  GONE TO SOLDIERS was published in 1987 and I had already read GOING DOWN FAST, SMALL CHANGES, WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME,  FLY AWAY HOME, and HE, SHE, IT. The women I was in a support group with in New York City were praising Piercy’s work and we were sharing copies.  I enjoy her writing very much and her outlook.

After posting the review for HE, SHE, IT, an email* came in asking me if I would like to read GONE TO SOLDIERS for review.   I said yes I would like to read it, forgetting that I had read it first 30 years ago.  I just was so happy to read more of Piercy’s words.   The Kindle told me that at my reading speed it would take 32 hours and 30 minutes to get to the end.   I dove right into each chapter and hardly came up for air.  I am not incredibly fond of books about war.  This one is quite exceptional.  It took 7 years to write and perfect before it was published and winning so many awards.  I was so happy to read it once again.

The book has an interesting shape as 10 characters and their stories are highlighted throughout the book. Some have 14 chapters to their stories.  We begin before the start of the war in France and before the USA became involved.  WWII is over and recovery is beginning at the end of the story.  The primary theme is about being Jewish and how the Jewish experience of the war overlaps and touches so many lives.  I was amazed at how badly the USA Jews were treated and particularly by the Marine corp.  Some American Generals had no trouble with killing Jews in Europe and participated in the process. Each character was well defined and the connecting characters gave continuity to the story and kept the thread of the themes moving forward.

Extraordinary writing. So revealing about the hate we are seeing displayed even now in the USA, so much fear, and how working from that fear keeps us holding on and not moving forward.

Whenever the control is too great, there are scapegoats and then they are vilified and verbally derogated.  It was important for me to read this novel once again. I feel it with mature eyes.  There is more and more to the story; I become a witness.

I not only humbly give this book top stars and I feel as though it should be required reading in our schools today.   I highly recommend this story.

“Marge Piercy has written 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It and most recently Sex Wars; ; 19 volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010, The Crooked Inheritance and in spring 2015, Made in Detroit; and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she is active in antiwar, feminist and environmental causes.“ (Header at website)

Marge Piercy’s Website and Bio

*Kindle book was sent by Greta Shull, Marketing Coordinator, Open Road Integrated Media, 180 Maiden Lane, suite 8A  New York, NY 10038

Related:
He, She, It
When Women Were Birds
The Sowing

MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THEE: My Faith, My Family, Our Future ~ Keith Ellison

Monday, April 7th, 2014

The First Muslim American Elected to Congress:

“When Americans are challenged, we generally rise to the occasion.  When we’re fearful, we generally become divided.  When we’re courageous and have good leadership, we unite.”


MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THEE is about being the first to do something.  In this book we discover the backstory of what it is like to be the first Muslim to be elected to Congress in the USA.  This is a significant story of how one accomplishes any action of being first to succeed. I believe the story is even more important because Ellison was born a US citizen and is from a family of many generations of US Citizens.  Minnesota’s 5th District Congressional Representative was born in Detroit to an educated couple and was the middle son of a family of 5 sons.  His mother is a devout Catholic and in a professional career, his father was a free-spirit and a psychologist.  One of his brothers is a Baptist Pastor and almost all have law degrees. Ellison became Muslim during college because the peaceful nature of the religion and the daily practices and study helped him center and mature as an adult.

“If I was going to complain about injustice, didn’t I have an obligation to try to fix it?  Complaining without offering a solution is whining.”

Keith Ellison went to college and then to Law School.  He went to fine colleges and participated in all the offerings.  He did not go to the Ivy League and did not attempt to be someone else.  He practiced law, got married, shared life with 4 children, worked within his community, and practiced his faith.  He recognized when he made miss steps and mistakes, acknowledged those actions and then worked to improve his balance.  He became an astute judge of comments and assertions which were false, racist, and sexist and he looked to educate and expose rather than shout and whine.

“Islam teaches that men and women are equal before God.  So why do we have these draconian laws subjugating women in some Islamic nations?  Because people confuse faith with customs, laws, and politics.”

I finished the book believing that Ellison was a good representative for his district in Minnesota and he was a focused individual about what was good for democracy and all the citizens of our country.  He is knowledgeable about many faiths, politics, communities and the law and I think he serves his country well and with great hope.  He represents his whole district and their needs and wants.  At this time, he is not one of the political “stars”, but rather a solid representative doing the best he knows how to do.  If he can remain in office, I believe we will eventually describe him as a Statesman for our time.

Net Galley sent an uncorrected proof copy of this book via KINDLE and asked that I review it.  It was an interesting story and I am grateful for the opportunity to read it and share MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THEE with my readers.

Keith Ellison on Wikipedia
Keith Ellison on Facebook

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Related:
The Lemon Treex 
Revere Beach Elegy
Moyers On Democracy
The Social Animal