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TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS: A Novel ~Sejal Badani

Monday, May 4th, 2015

“Never depend on another person for your happiness.  If someone had the authority to give, then he or she had the authority to take away.” (location 142)

I did not know what to expect from the book TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS.    I knew it was an immigration story and a debut novel but did not know much more.  I am often tempted to read the book descriptions sent by the publishers for advanced reading copies of books; I resisted and just dove into reading the story.  TLC Book Tours sent me a copy for review.

Three sister’s elegantly tell their stories of their lives in the USA after their family moves from India as an opportunity for daughters to achieve success and excel for the family when there are no sons.  Their father was successful and kind in India but he who was an engineer in his home country now can only get work in a tire store and experiences great racism and difficult circumstances.  He is driven to control his daughters and wife to the point of verbal and physical abuse.  He is in a coma and the family is forced to look at their lives and the shame they feel; the sad and unhappy outcomes of their lives.   A family story emerges as the family secrets are confronted by the violence exposed and events manifesting in their contemporary lives.

What blooms in the family tree as the family progresses and what changes in the patterns, so that history may not repeat itself? Can destructive behavior ever manifest real or solid success and provide growth and change for communication and allow love to emerge?

The telling of Sonja, Trisha, and Marin’s stories opens up the reader to explore what was expected of them from their own families and fathers.  How does original enculturation interfere or enhance a huge change in structures and systems and how does it breakdown the basic traits and expectations?  What are the freedoms that are attached to this change and could it be thought of as a good concept.  TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS will challenge one’s thinking and expectations.

I highly recommend TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS for those who like family dynamics, secrets revealed and want a story to end with hope for the future.

I was interested to see that Amazon already had 547  4+ reviews for this debut novel.

Sejal Badani is a former attorney.  She currently lives on the West Coast with her family and their 2 dogs.

Sejal Badani Facebook 

Playing St. Barbara 
The Clover House 
The Last Conception 
The Isolation Door 

PLAYING ST. BARBARA: A novel ~Marian Szczepanski

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

PLAYING ST. BARBARA is an historic look at a time period in American History that was very dramatic -1929 to 1942.  It is a family saga that is about changing lives and thinking; coming into a new age as well as a new decade.  Marian Szczepanski is writing about the historic experiences of her own family in a fictionalized tale which condenses all that history and change into one family’s story.  Playing St. BARBARA would make a wonderful Masterpiece Theater Presentation and series to teach a segment of our history.

Our tale undertakes to tell the story of an Irish Immigrant who takes a German wife and proceeds to lie about her origins.  Fin does not succeed as a professional baseball player but becomes a miner determined to unionize his co-workers in the company town. He is a rabble rouser, extremely poor, and addicted to alcohol and violence.   He has produced 6 children but the 3 boys have died of crib death, violence and poverty.  Fin is furious.

The story in about the 3 daughters and how they free themselves from the state of extreme violence in the family and within the mining community, when the door opens for each of them in turn to act the role of St. Barbara in the yearly pageant they discover a new freedom.  St. Barbara is the patron protector saint of miners. Each opportunity opens the women’s voices and assists in setting them free to make their own way in the world.  The women in the mining community have a special bond between them.  They attempt to protect and assist in providing for each other.  They help out if the KKK ruins the garden or burns crosses, and they provide nourishment to each other.  Some even cross the alley to the black section of the miner’s housing.  They all shop at the company store and each woman hopes their husbands will be able to move up the hill to better housing and pay.

To have all these historic events combined into one family story is at times overwhelming. I had to set the book aside when they started into WWII and the hatred of the Germans and the Jews collided.  There was so much depth and detail I needed a breather.   To feel the fear experienced by this mother and her daughters was very intense and it certainly parallels many of the changes that are being made today.   The public hatred of immigrants is so present today and the coal wars are different but right here again.  As the story was about building up the Steel Industry in the USA – we now purchase most of our steel outside our country boundaries, and we know the terrible side effects of coal for everyone.   I think I needed to put the book down, because I was saddened by how we have not made much change in the decades beyond and yet yes! we have made astounding changes.   PLAYING ST.BARBARA is quite the read and is a wonderful story about the importance of the mine workers then and now.

Marion Szczepanski received her MFA from Warren Wilson College in the Appalachian Mountains. I went to school there also, that was a nice discovery.     She is the granddaughter of Coal Miners and this is her first novel.

Marian Szczepanski on the Web
Marian Szczepanski on Facebook
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It was a privilege to read this novel for review and I am very happy that the author and TLC online book tours sent me a copy.  I am quite sure you will enjoy reading – PLAYING ST BARBARA.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Sharing is a good thing!  Thank you

Recommended Reading:
Hannah Coulter
In The Garden of Stone
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Who Is Going To Buy Your House?

Monday, January 30th, 2012


One of the interesting parts of the storm was by experiencing a power outage, I had to get out the crank up radio and listen to the local station.  The media was quite busy working together and sharing the stories.

The local State College was expecting a big name Demographer, Dowell Myers, to arrive and give a lecture when the storm hit.   This Social Scientist could not get to the campus so a station in Seattle hosted his lecture, sent it to those of us who were stranded and who had a radio.

Myers wanted to share with people about how the Census and population trends affect Democracy and specifically some interesting questions to consider when voting this year.  It was a fascinating half hour of information sharing.

One question Myers asked,” Who is going to buy your house?”

This is a significant question because the vast majority of homeowners aged 50 and upwards are including their homes in part of their retirement planning and funding.

For 56% of us in the 50 and older age bracket, our homes are going to be purchased by the children of Immigrants living right now.  These children will not be able to purchase our homes unless they have the equivalent educational background that we have when we purchased.

Will there be enough young adults with enough income to purchase our homes, even with diminished property values?  How many are actually getting a college diploma?  How many are dropping out of school at a young age?

If we want to keep our economy strong we need to send lots of funds to our schools, to employ the best teachers, and to figure out how we can be the most helpful and encouraging to the Immigrant population in our state.  We need to educate like we give a DAM (that much volume and power) …. and as though our future depends on it, because it does.

Demography is the study of populations and cultures and they share lots of pertinent information with us.   Many, many local communities are suffering already with a huge dropout rate.   Schools are disenfranchising the immigrant community and also some of our brightest and best.  If we do not keep our public schools in peak shape we are going to be in a very difficult situation.

It was a lot of information to take in, but important information to know and understand.  There are a large number of candidates running this year, who would like to shut down public education and go to a “pay to play” system – or private schools.  Some candidates wish to get rid of teachers unions and the government funding.

Most politicians right now are avoiding all the questions about immigration and who can vote and which groups to support and promote.

The Demographer’s final words were:  “(This) State cannot afford a single high school dropout without it producing serious economic ramifications and devastating financial circumstances for those 50 and above.”

Just thought you might like to know.

So who is going to buy your house?  Will most people not want to get into a house at all?  How will we keep public schools going and make them competitive with private schools?  What do we need to do for immigrants now?

Looking forward to hearing what you think:

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Related Reading:
Eye of the Storm
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How To Be Rich and Happy