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PURITY: A Political Novel ~Jonathan Franzen

Monday, July 10th, 2017

PURITY is a marvelous story by Jonathan Franzen and it was on my holiday wish list in 2015.  It had already been out for a while, but with my reading schedule it was the first time I could clear a space to savor this read.   I like Franzen’s entire writing list and have read them even before one became an Oprah selection.  They are dense reads with great detail and the development of the characters is outstanding; one is certain that they know the individuals.  When you mix in the personal look at history that the characters share with the reader, the books become a truth to build perspective upon and enjoy.

PURITY was not an exception to the writer’s rule and it took me a full 18 hours to get from cover to cover and I had to put it aside several times to find enough time to truly understand the story and the lessons about life and political reality.  The story line is such amazing separate pieces that resolve into an integration of the character’s lives and a remarkable conclusion.   There was an incredible amount of sexual tension to the story as if sexuality was the subtext of the wholeness of the story.

Pip is the first focus and she wanders through the maze of other’s lives until she connects all the folks into a reunion that shines the love through the timeline and allows for it to manifest in a healthy manner.  She is a computer expert in a demeaning job saddled with $130,000 of education loans.  Her mother is “weird” and lives in a cabin in rural California and works as a grocery store checker.  Pip is learning about people, work, and how to get along with others – maybe?    She is also the focus of political intrigue and lessons, which match up with her self-protection, sarcasm, and ability to discern what is real. Pip does not know who she is or her roots.

Andreas is the political operative and the founder of an organization that is similar to WikiLeaks – ‘The Sunlight Project’.  He grew up with his parents a part of the Communist regime in East Berlin and yet for most of his youth he led a life of privilege and wealth.  He is well detailed and he starts his own revolution by speaking out at University and working against the grain.  He is there for the falling of the ‘Wall’ and he continually tries to ‘help’ people, particularly teenage girls, as a counselor at the mission church where he lives and hides.  He ends up developing a secret community of hackers and ‘truth tellers’ in a remote location in Bolivia.

The reader is pulled into the extraordinary wealth of a family in the Midwest of the USA.  The daughter is rebelling and trying to escape the life of the rich and yet her mental health is not so stable.  She is rebellious and a ‘hippie’ protestor/artist in her youth and she also becomes an exile as she hides from her family and takes on the role of being poverty.

Each section of the book, I had to read without putting the book down it was so compelling and detailed and fascinating.  One needs to wonder what the rebellion of youth will bring us and how we will live out our values within the confines of the life we are living.  How do we escape the political ramifications of our circumstances and be in touch with our values?  What do we reveal about ourselves and how is it that we learn to achieve our destiny to arrive at our own home; find the love we need?     Whew!  PURITY is the perfect length and yet still can take our breath away.

As always Franzen does not disappoint making the mind work with good story telling skill and focus.    A noteworthy read- PURITY

Author:

Jonathan Franzen is the author of four other novels, most recently FREEDOM and THE CORRECTIONS, and five works of nonfiction and translation, including FARTHER AWAY and THE KRAUS PROJECT, all published by FSG.  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the German Akademie de Kunste, and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

“Purity is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has imagined a world of vividly original characters–Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers–and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes. Purity is the most daring and penetrating book yet by one of the major writers of our time.”(Cover)

Jonathan Franzen Facebook

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SUGAR CRUSH: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage, and Reclaim Good Health ~By Dr. Richard P. Jacoby and Raquel Baldelomar

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Suffering with nerve pain, foot sores, generally feeling tired and worn down, taking a number of pills and not finding relief, not a true diagnosis, and maybe diagnosed as diabetic?  Dr. Jacoby to the rescue with his new book SUGAR CRUSH.  He does not mince words and the book is clear and the explanations are exacting and detailed without being overwhelming.  The big names in nutrition and healing are a part of the story he shares with the reader.  It is not easy to read as it tells it like it is with concise words and lots of truth.

TLC Book Tours sent me the book for review and picked the date of posting with this read.  I was at the start of a 20-day detox diet and then a 36-hour fast before having some major lab tests.   I found the book to be informative and sometimes scary; primarily it reminded me of what I already knew and was encouraged to keep making progress on my regime.  There is a great deal of “Tough Love” on each of the pages.

“Dr. Jacoby ushers us into a new paradigm by ‘connecting the dots’ for the treatment of neuropathy.” (Cover) Robert G. Parker, DPM, FACFAS, FASP, PA

The connection between sugar and illness, especially inflammation, is crystal clear and they only way to stop the progress of disease in the body is to stop using sugar and many carbohydrates.  Dr. Jacoby’s patients who have followed his plan have reversed their pain, and the diseases’ progression; stopped the nerve destruction and damage.  It is not easy, but millions of people are now doing just this before they get to a lifetime of pills and surgeries, headaches and non-healing sores and lesions.  It is a strong, loud wake up call.

Dr. Jacoby still performs a great deal of surgery and like Dr. David Perlmutter, author of GRAIN BRAIN; he is making big inroads to the halting of disease and the recovery of health.  It is a holistic understanding of how the compression of nerves and how digestive issues, migraines, ALS, and diabetes can all be healed by removing addicting sugar from the diet.  There are quizzes and asides with short explanations and good nutritional expertise.

I believe this will be another bestseller and a very useful tool.   My lab work was awesome by the way and I was taken off 2 medications after following the instructions found here and the Detox Diet.  SUGAR CRUSH provided an awesome combination of learning and change bringing me benefit.

Dr. Richard P. Jacoby is one of the country’s leading peripheral nerve surgeons, specializing in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy.  He is a cofounder of the Scottsdale Healthcare Wound Management Center and is the former president of the Arizona Podiatry Association and the Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons.  He lives in Scottsdale with his wife and two children.

Raquel Baldelomar is the founder of Quaintise, a health care marketing and advertising agency, and is a contributing writer for Advertising Age, Modern Healthcare, and Physician magazine.  She lives in Santa Monica, California.

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THINGS YOU’VE INHERITED FROM YOUR MOTHER: A Novel ~Hollie Adams

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

“In her startlingly funny first novel, Hollie Adams takes the conventional wisdom about ‘likeable’ literary heroines and shoves it down an elevator shaft.” (cover)

THINGS YOU’VE INHERITED FROM YOUR MOTHER begins and ends with “Tuesday your mother died. Ovarian Cancer.”  It is a very short book with a book within it or several self –help books within it’s covers, the longest being about the containment and removal of mice within your home; beneficial and humorous in length and depth of writing and success.

Carrie is very confused after the death of her mother and about her life at the current moment.  She is the mother of a 16 year old, Kate, who was born when Carrie was 16.  She is making sure everyone is aware she is “over” her husband, and it is a good thing because his current girl friend is pregnant with his baby and they are getting married.  They want stepdaughter Kate to be part of the family too.  Carrie then proposes to Ben the new boyfriend and decides to have the wedding at Disney World.  Carrie also chooses to contest the dress code at the office and gets fired.  Izzy, Carrie’s rational, organized sister becomes the official truth teller of all the events and stories going around, and no one is actually sure what is real and what is fantasized or created out of Carrie’s mind.

THINGS YOU’VE INHERITED FROM YOUR MOTHER has some very interesting sit-com kind of humor and some good snarky word play.  Things are not going smoothly for Carrie’s transition to being an orphan and then she mixes more alcohol into the not smoothly running transition.  Carrie’s grip on self and reality is not fully realized and it is not a Calgary version of the Gilmore Girls.  There is hope for Carrie as she reaches the end of her mourning story and the self-help book prints out the first line.

The only thing the reader is sure of is that Poncho her Mother’s cat is clearly Carrie’s inheritance and he eats peanut butter not mice!

A very different story and will it will chuckle you to the possibility of a redemption – or maybe just a recovery.

TLC Book Tours asked me to read, review and post my review of this book.  Sometimes one just needs to trust and THINGS YOU”VE INHERITED FROM YOUR MOTHER, I trusted to be good and humorous and I was not disappointed.

About Hollie Adams:

“Hollie Adams is a Windsorite living in Alberta, where she teaches writing and literature. She has studied creative writing at the University of Windsor and has a PhD in English from the University of Calgary. Her writing has been published in several Canadian periodicals including Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, Carousel, The Windsor Review, and Filling Station, and online at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother is her first novel.”

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I REGRET EVERYTHING: A Love Story ~Seth Greenland

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

“I don’t know that poets will ever have a public role again but for me poetry is something that must be read closely because the finest work demands a radical empathy.” (Unproofed, uncorrected copy page 91)

I REGRET EVERYTHING is a story I highly recommend to all readers.  Written by a poet and satirist, this novel is compact and complete in expressing it’s theme; the words are silken and clever all at the most wonderful pace.  The vulnerability, which is expressed between these two characters, is heart opening and magical in ways that make the reader empathize and want to know that depth of connection.

Jeremy Best is an estate lawyer in a huge firm in NYC; he wanted to be a writer/poet but his graduate school advisor damaged that possibility. He made poetry his secondary career and had several poems published in notable periodicals.  He had his life all planned out and safe, hoping to make partner in the firm and had not found a life partner at age 33.

Spaulding, the boss’s daughter, is 19 and has been in boarding school in Europe, came home and tried to commit suicide. She needs to be under care and on medications if her divorced parents have their way.  She would like to be a writer and a poet and while working at her father’s law firm she discovers that Mr. Best is a published poet.  She who is quirky and shy begins a friendship with Mr. Best and they text poetic lines to each other as she works on life and figuring out where she needs to be to go forward with her dream.

“By the time he finished the cake he was less vexed.  It’s truly amazing the power of knowing someone, somewhere, is willing to listen to you for free, to know you’re less alone than you think.  Isn’t that what everyone with a beating heart really wants?  To know they’re not alone.  When it started to get dark and I told him he had to go back to Connecticut he was too tired to argue.  We returned to my apartment to get his suitcase.”  Spaulding to younger step brother Marshall (Page 251)

I know that all good poetry needs to be read a number of times, as with this story.  There is so much to enjoy and one reading will not resolve all the dynamics into an evolution of thought or action.  I do not think I would like to see this story made into a movie the words are so crucial for me and the producers would change it into a plain old love story – banal and trite.   The words are so important – wondrous.

What does it mean to be alive?  What is this reference to no regrets at death and yet these evolved characters are having lives full of regrets and control?  The discovery of authentic self is dynamic at any age; toss in humor and WOW.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review and I am thankful.

About Seth Greenland (from TLC page)
Seth Greenland is a novelist, playwright, and a screenwriter. He was a writer-producer on the Emmy-nominated HBO series Big Love, is an award-winning playwright, and the author of the novels The Angry Buddhist, The Bones, and Shining City, which was named a Best Book of 2008 by the Washington Post. Greenland lives in Los Angeles with his family.
Seth Greenland Online
Seth Greenland Wikipedia

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