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THE GOODBYE YEAR: A Novel ~Kaira Rouda

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Four families from a wealthy community in California are the focus of this story.  Each family has a senior in high school and they are starting that last year.  There are some funny scenes for sure in this book, but primarily it is about the frantic moments of thinking about the future and worrying about empty nest.

The voices are both from the children and the adults and some of the fears and concerns are just amazing to behold.  All of their lives are filled with extra meetings and college representatives and for some the cost of future training is so expensive – crisis.  One mother drives her son to be just like his older brother, as she worries about what she will do after her last child leaves home.  She begins drinking.  Dad becomes a voice of reason and opens the door for son number two to find his own passion.

The perfect mom realizes that she has made her daughter her best friend and made up for her husband’s huge travel schedule with this connection.  The daughter is feeling some pressure about being the “perfect” girl at school and working around her pre-acceptance to Harvard.   A strange boyfriend is part of the scene and of course Homecoming King to this Queen.

We have a family on a tight budget and they do not know how their child will afford college, and mom has the whole family on an incredibly rigid calendar schedule, which would knock anyone to the floor in protest and yet for half the book this family muddles forward.

The step mom well is just a selfish mess and yet daughter finds away to keep her caring for her father after she leaves for college!  Actually, all the support characters are fairly fun to read in this story and even the drug problems are an interesting encounter.

TLC Book Tours sent along this fun read and I enjoyed it very much.  THE GOODBYE YEAR has over 70 4-star reviews on Amazon.

“Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that sparkles with humor and heart including HERE, HOME, HOPE and IN THE MIRROR. Her latest novel, THE GOODBYE YEAR, will be released in May of 2016. Her modern romance novels are set on beaches, including the Laguna Beach series, the Indigo Island series and coming soon, the Malibu series.

She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.” (TLC Book Tours)

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Related:
Sing Them Home
The Reinvention of Albert Paugh
The Moon Sisters

Wanderers: Stories by Edward Belfar

Monday, January 7th, 2013

WANDERERS is a book of short stories that showcases a writer’s skill with words and the fine art of moving a story forward with little waste or compromise.  The words are clever and bright creating a clear image in the mind; I will always be able to conjure up the image of salt and pepper stubble and heads when I think of this particular read.   I also think this is a man’s book and full of manly stories because all of the male characters are caught in a quandary life changing moment or forced into some change to reckon with and there are few resolutions within each story.

The females in the stories were composite women or caricatures even when they were thought to be the main event.    This I found to be disconcerting until I figured out that they were just the boundaries to the theme and made it more cleverly and precisely defined.   It did not matter which continent the women were blamed for everything; stereotypically belittling and angry.  But then again, these were not stories about women, rather men in a transition stage.  It was almost a limbo stage because none of the characters with the exception of two were acting in a forward motion.   I have encountered women who were as mean spirited as some of these characters, and many more who just wander away in search of a different home.

I enjoyed Edward Belfar’s use of words; his good story telling.   I enjoyed that the stories took place in Africa, the USA, and Rome and found myself looking for how the folks were going to move through their environment.  The descriptions were marvelous even when they were about the tired and the old/neglected remnants.  The titles of the books the character’s published made me laugh out loud each and every time.  So many of the words spoke volumes and I enjoyed looking up a few along the way to explore their depth of meaning in that instance.

WANDERERS  took me by surprise as it was not what I was expecting.  It took me a few stories before I began to anticipate the abrupt curb jolt of the endings.   I was very glad when one story continued on later to bear witness to the fact that the fellow was in the same transition as in Rome and still unable to move, even when provided a loving child to guide the way.

My partner is in the middle of a big life change, and I could see how he was moving through this limbo stage, depressed stage, blame stage, and allowing his mind to wander  looking for acceptance of his reality and not finding any doors to open towards change.  I wanted to talk to my counselor friends about whether they had seen this kind of staging in other men in transition.  I found it comforting to understand Wanderers  as fifteen stories about a point of change . I did not find the hope that one moves through this and actually transitions. Stuck and avoidance are ideas that did come to mind.  I did not read this book before going to bed because I found they created a feeling of depression within me and I wanted time to work that energy off.

Belfar

Belfar

I would highly recommend the WANDERERS as a fine read.  I just put in a request for another of Edward Belfar’s books at the library because I found his skill in writing admirable, and discovered this to be his first book.

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I received a PDF copy of this book from TLC Books  and Stephen F. Austin University Press and I thank them for the opportunity to read and review this book.   The author is offering up a copy to one of my commenters.  I look forward to what you have to say.

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

Would you like to share your thoughts about a book you’re reading or help a fellow wanderer through a transition please contact us at WiseEars.

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Transitions II: Congratulations to All Graduates

Monday, June 11th, 2012

confederation_bridgeTransitions abound at this time of year, there are so many Graduates and marriages and passages to be celebrated and recognized for their achievement.   Recently in my newspaper the list of deaths have been exceedingly long as have the petitions to the court for divorce and this made me feel as though I should just share a word about transitions and the stages we pass through.

Transitions have three distinct parts and they have all the emotions you want to include in the process.

The stages are Endings, Neutral Zones and Beginnings.

ENDINGS are the stopping of one part of your living activities and beginning the steps of moving into the neutral zone.   We celebrate the endings of being single with weddings, the endings of marriage with divorce decrees and the endings of high school with graduation ceremonies and retirement with gold watches and speeches; death with memorials.

THE NEUTRAL ZONE this is the area of just moving forward – towards the beginning.  It might assist you to think that this is a rebound date, or counseling after a divorce to figure out who you are as a single again, the packing for college or a new job, finding an apartment and roommates, the honeymoon, the memorial service, the packing up of items and giving them to a charity, selling a house, and all those things that you do while waiting.  Institutions often call this a brainstorming period of time as they prepare and visualize the changes they need to make.  This period of time can take up to 2 or 3 years.  I just read WALTER’S MUSE which is a book about a teacher retiring and she gave herself a neutral zone summer play before she was going to think about her new life ahead and make plans.

The neutral zone usually ends with a dilemma or a problem resolved
One just recognizes the new beginning

BEGINNINGS This is the point where we step onto our new pathway.  We may step out of the Neutral Zone and still have to try on several distinct trails/trials before we get into full swing; there can be false starts here as one figures out how to work the plan and the reward is the passion one feels when they finally get on their own route to success.   Yes it does happen for some very rapidly and very slowly for others.

Transitions are often visualized as a bridge and that might make it clearer to understand.

College is often just a neutral zone, which might include several job attempts before the career path is revealed.   I have a friend who finished college in Economics and after a couple of years of working in that field was burned out (false starts). Surprise! She had an opportunity to decorate a new sailboat cabin.  She was so passionate about this project she went on to get a Master’s Degree in Design and now designs the living spaces on yachts.   With the economic downturn she was able to predict what was happening and get a part time clerking job to support her design work and not miss out on her life’s pleasure.

In TRANSITIONS one needs to be more open to possibilities, make thoughtful decisions, and Trust what you get.    JUMP decisions are problematic when making big transitions in life, but they can be just the thing if one has done all the work in the neutral zone to make it a cumulative positive transition.

Have you found your passion?  Can you look back and see the stages you went through when you made a life changing transition?

Related Reading:
Transitions
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Trust what you get
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

If you need someone to talk to about a transitions you are making visit us at WiseEars

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