Tag Archives: Literature

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “Eleven Miles,” BY AUTHOR @LANCEGMITCHELL

eleven-miles

  • Title:  Eleven Miles
  • Author: Lance Greenfield Mitchell
  • Print Length: 254 Pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  • Publisher: lulu.com
  • Publication Date: September 25, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00QH0EDGE
  • ISBN-10: 1326108034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1326108038
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Literature and Fiction, Contemporary


“How far would you have walked to gain your high school education?

From an early age, the greatest passion in Boitumelo Tumelo’s life is learning. Boi, as she is known to her friends and family, just loves going to school. Her primary school is in the local village, but when she graduates to secondary school, two obstacles stand in the path to her further education. Firstly, there are fees to be paid. Secondly, it is eleven miles to the nearest secondary school. She would have to get up very early, and walk that long distance to school every day, and walk home after school. There are many potential dangers along the remote African track between her village and her school.

This is the inspiring story of how Boi overcomes the obstacles and dangers to gain the education that she so desires. Not only does she achieve her ambitions, but she manages to make life better for the children of her village who wish to follow in her footsteps.

Eleven Miles is a fictional story based upon a true-life situation in Botswana. Until the target of Princess Boikanyo’s School Bus Project is achieved, 50% of all profits from the sales of this book will go into the project funds.”


Open the pages of this book and slip inside the existence of Boitumelo Tumelo, a young girl from Botswana, who leads the reader on an incredible journey from her childhood into adulthood in a world fraught with difficulty and strife. Boi’s life humbled me with her compelling story and the bravery and determination she exhibited to achieve her dreams.

Boi is a gifted child who lives in abject poverty. She faces cruelty and stares down social injustices. Food is scarce, and many mornings she begins the laborious eleven-mile walk to school on a breakfast fueled by a crust of bread. Life is not comfortable in her village, and it is a struggle just to survive.

Her parents, grandparents, and her older brothers contribute their hard-earned cash to send her and her brother to school. Not only is this considered an honor, but it is also a calling. Boi realizes early, that if she is to succeed in life, she must get an education.

Like the proverbial sponge, Boi soaks up one academic challenge after another, and her hard work and determination finally pay off. But it is her commitment to change that grabs the reader. Boi realizes that if she runs the miles to school and back, she will have more time to dedicate to her studies. Her ingenuity is stunning.

Boi turns the daily obstacle of the eleven-mile walk to school into an active endeavor. After running twenty-two miles a day, Boi discovers her real gift, that of becoming a long distance runner.

I had this book in my “To be read,” pile for quite some time and couldn’t wait to read it. The story did not disappoint. I loved Boi’s story from start to finish, and I enjoyed the cultural elements the story provided. Lance Greenfield Mitchell takes you on a journey to a place far away from our western philosophy. I wish Boi’s story became mandatory reading for young people everywhere so they could appreciate their advantages. I know it made me appreciate the many opportunities I have enjoyed.


Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Author, Lance Greenfield Mitchell

My name is Lance Greenfield Mitchell.

Before you ask, my natural father’s name is Greenfield. My Step-dad’s name was Mitchell. So, I changed my name by deed poll when I left school, from Lance Greenfield to Lance Mitchell, to avoid confusion. My Step-dad, whom I loved, died. I eventually got back in touch with my real Dad, who, unbeknownst to me, had been banned by the courts from contacting me. I didn’t know that till I tracked him down. To avoid confusion, I added the Greenfield back in as a middle name.

Confused? So am I!!!

I live in Andover, Hampshire, Southern England, but I sometimes wonder where I am or where I come from! I have visited about eighty countries in my life. I just love traveling and immersing myself in different languages, cuisines, and cultures.

Because of family complexity, I attended ten schools, the last of which was HMS Conway, a Naval school in North Wales.

I was in the military for 22 years, Royal Navy AND Army (Royal Engineers) before going into technology as a second career in civvie street. I am now a VP of an international software company, and I fly around the planet a lot. What time is it?!

I started writing reviews as part of the BBC RAW (Read and Write) campaign a few years ago. There was huge enthusiasm for my reviews, so I resolved to publish a review for every book that I read. I publish my reviews on amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, goodreads.com and waterstones.com.

In my spare time, I started writing a couple of novels about eight years ago. They are still not finished!

Two years ago, I was part of a group read for a book from the erotica genre, which I wouldn’t normally have read. Not only did I enjoy it, but I thought that I could maybe do better.

I like erotica for the double-A. That is AROUSAL and AMUSEMENT. There are very good authors in this genre. One of my favourites is Chloe Thurlow. She’s great!

I got so into it that I wrote a couple of short stories and shared them with a select few friends who loved them. They encouraged me to write an anthology, which I have now completed.

Two publishers rejected my stories, so I have now self-published on Amazon. I don’t know if my work is any good. I like to think so, but that is for others to judge.

The title is “When Pleasure Blooms.”

If you do take the time to read it, please leave a review. Receiving criticism, good or bad, is the only way that I can hope to improve.

My all-time favorite book of any genre has to be “Skallagrigg” by William Horwood.

I have three grown up children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Hence my comment about being too busy in the opening paragraph.

My eldest son is a tattoo artist, and he recently persuaded me to have some artwork on my skin. It only took him ten years to get me into his studio! I now have two tattoos and will have two more very soon. Take a look at the photos on my GR profile if you want to see them.

Eleven Miles is a fictional story based upon a true-life situation in Botswana. Until the target of Princess Boikanyo’s School Bus Project is achieved, 50% of all profits from the sales of this book will go into the project funds. In the meantime, please feel free to make additional contributions to this worthy cause by clicking on the project link.

You can find Lance Greenfield Mitchell on Twitter @lancegmitchell and Facebook Lance Greenfield Mitchell. You can also find Lance on his blog at lancegreenfield.wordpress.com

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of colleenchesebro.com

Colleen 5.3.16

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#Bookreview When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. A singular and professional look at death

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

REVIEWS FOR LITERARY WORLD REVIEWS

Title:   When Breath Becomes Air
Author:   Paul Kalanithi
ISBN13:  978-0812988406
ASIN:  B0165X8WN2
Published:  Vintage Digital
Pages:  258
Genre:  Non-fiction, Medical Books: neurosurgery, Ailments and diseases: cancer

Description:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

Praise for When Breath Becomes Air

“I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well. None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: ‘It’s just tragic enough and just imaginable enough.’ And just important enough to be unmissable.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“An emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”The Washington Post

“Possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead.”The Boston Globe

“Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where it’s all heading.”USA Today

“It’s [Kalanithi’s] unsentimental approach that makes When Breath Becomes Air so original—and so devastating. . . . Its only fault is that the book, like his life, ends much too early.”Entertainment Weekly

“[When Breath Becomes Air] split my head open with its beauty.”—Cheryl Strayed

Body of review: As this is a non-fiction book the usual format does not work well but I thought it was well-worth sharing.

Here it is:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi A singular and professional look at death

Thanks to Net Galley and to Vintage Digital for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

I read this book with conflicting emotions. When it came to my attention and saw some of the comments I wondered if I was ready to read it. (My father died 14 months ago of cancer, in his case prostate, with bone metastases, stage IV at the time of diagnosis, after a year of fighting the illness.) In some ways I guess I was challenging myself to see if I’d manage and perhaps hoping that it would give me some answers, although I’m not sure what to. I will try to make this review as objective as possible, but by the nature of the book and its subject this is more difficult than usual (no two people read the same book and that’s the beauty of it, of course).

In my effort to try and make my mind up as to what to say I’ve read a few of the reviews. Some of the negative ones state that the book is little more than a couple of essays, a foreword and an epilogue. That’s a fair comment. We know that Paul Kalanithi died before he finished the book, and we don’t know how much editing went into it, or what else he might have written if his life hadn’t been cut short. The foreword works as an introduction of the book and a sum up of the author’s career and perhaps helps tie up the unfinished nature of it. It is nicely written, although the fact that Abraham Verghese had only met the writer once hints at how professionally packaged the book is. Yes, this is not just another account by a totally anonymous individual fighting cancer.

Other reviewers note that Kalanithi’s circumstances are so unique (well-educated, professional family, bright and driven, studying at the best universities, training in neurosurgery at one of the best hospitals, and also treated in one of the best units with access to all the treatments, surrounded and supported by his family) that perhaps his reflections and his experiences are not applicable to most of the population. I can’t argue with that. I’m not sure we can claim to a universality of experience and say that death or impending death affects everybody the same. There’s no doubt that the end result is the same but the process and the way it is felt is quite different.  All lives start and end the same but that does not mean they are the same.

Some reviewers take issue with the decisions the author and his family made, for instance his insistence on going back to work as a neurosurgeon after the diagnosis and whilst he was being treated, wondering how safe that was, and accusing him of selfishness. Sometimes in harrowing circumstances we do what we have to do to keep going and to see another day, although that is no justification to put others at risk. In his case it is clear from the write up that there was a strong plan in place to ensure safety and that he was no operating by himself (we’re talking about neurosurgery, a highly complex field and a team endeavour). Perhaps the way the author focuses on his own efforts and how he managed to overcome the symptoms of the illness to keep working leaves too much of what was going on around him in the shadows, but then, he was writing about his experience and how he saw it at the time. Other readers appear upset at the family’s decision to have a child knowing he wouldn’t be alive to see her grow. That’s a matter of personal opinion and I can’t see how that has any bearing on our thoughts about the quality of the book.

After this long preamble (my review is becoming an essay in its own right), what did I think? I am a doctor (a psychiatrist, and although I remember with fondness my placement in general surgery and I attended in some operations for other specialties, like paediatrics, breast or chest, I can’t claim to any hands-on experience in neuro-surgery) and I identified with early parts of the book when Kalanithi describes medical school, and also his love of literature. I haven’t worked in the US although I’ve read (and we’ve all watched movies and TV series) about the gruelling schedules and training process medical students and trainees face there. There is a great deal of emphasis on his career and not much on his other experiences. Although there are more details about his relationship with his wife later on, we don’t know much about how they met or what they shared, other than their interest in Medicine and plans for their professional future. Some reviewers noted that we don’t get to know the man. I can imagine that to get to the professional peak he had achieved one needs to be focused on one’s career to the detriment of other things, and there are some reflections about that in the book: about delayed gratification, about working hard and putting other parts of our life on hold, for whenever we’ve reached that next goal, that next step. Often that moment never arrives, because we find other goals or other objectives. Living the now and for it is a lesson that not many people learn. I also felt I did not get to know Kalanithi well. He writes compellingly about his work, his efforts to find meaning and to offer meaning to others through his vocation, he mentions religion and how he turned to literature too to try and understand death. There are glimpses of him, mostly towards the end of the book, and truly heart-wrenching moments, like the birth of his daughter. I agree with everybody that his wife’s epilogue is more touching and heart-felt, less analytical and rationalised than the parts he wrote and I felt more connection to her than to her husband. I wish her and her daughter well and I have the feeling she is more than equal to the task of bringing up her girl and carrying on with her career.

This is an interesting book, a book that will make the reader think about his or her own mortality, and it will touch many. It does have a fair amount of medical terminology (I’m a doctor so it’s not easy for me to judge how complex it might be for somebody with no medical knowledge, although I saw some comments about it) and it’s not a touchy-feely open-my-heart type of confession about the final days of somebody. It’s a fairly intellectualised look at matters of life and death, but it ultimately provides no answers. Why that should be a surprise to anybody, I’m not sure. It is not a book on spirituality (although there are some reflections about it) or a moral guide to live your death. If bearing all that in mind you’re still interested, I found it well-worth a read.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Buy it at:  
Format & Pricing:
Hardcover:  $14.88 (http://www.amazon.com/When-Breath-Becomes-Paul-Kalanithi/dp/081298840X/)
Kindle: $14.14 (http://www.amazon.com/When-Breath-Becomes-Paul-Kalanithi-ebook/dp/B0165X8WN2/)

Audiobook: $23.88 (http://www.amazon.com/When-Breath-Becomes-Air/dp/B01CQ0CFQS/)

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

 

Creatures of A Day by Irvin Yalom #BookReview by @FTThum

It is such sweet anticipation knowing a book by Irvin Yalom awaits me.

yalom

Title:                    Creatures of A Day and Other Tales of Psychotherapy
Author:                Irvin D Yalom
Publishers:        Piatkus (5 March 2015)
Format:                Paperback
ISBN-10:             0349407428
ISBN-13:             9780349407425
Website:             http://www.yalom.com/index.html
Pages:                   224
Genre:                 Literary Non-Fiction; Psychology
 

What’s it about?

Once again, Irvin D Yalom does not disappoint. On the contrary he proves (not that he needed to J) yet again his mastery in conveying the complexity of the human psyche into short stories designed to engage the imagination and to teach. For those who do not know, Yalom is an eminent existential psychotherapist and author. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Standford University who is cautious of the perils of diagnosis and pathology, rather preferring to delve into human psyche. At the age of 82 (when the book was written), Yalom’s curiosity and ‘work’ on himself lies with the reality of impending death.

In ‘Creatures of a Day’, Yalom explores through ten tales (of real cases) the existential theme of ‘death’ or ‘existential death’, and how we, no matter our age, experience and respond when confronted with our own mortality. There is no formula, no correct answer – just a deep appreciation for the complexities that is the human psyche. Yalom’s humility and candour shine in the short stories. Though a master therapist, Yalom does not shy away from owning his missteps in therapy sessions, nor his judgment, non-engagement and not-knowing. What is important, as he highlights in ‘Creatures of a Day’, is the therapeutic relationship between him and his clients, one that is authentic, honest and transparent. He demonstrates the transformative power of this healing relationship.

If there is one ‘flaw’ it is that ‘Creatures of a Day’ through Yalom’s exquisite storytelling makes the psychotherapeutic process seemed a ‘natural’ process and can be attempted with ease. Here is the paradox – the therapeutic process is hard work and difficult for the client and the therapist; it is never simple.

As Yalom states,

The patients in these stories deal with anxiety about death, about the loss of loved ones and the ultimate loss of oneself, about how to live a meaningful life, about coping with aging and diminished possibilities, about choice, about fundamental isolation.

Yet this book provides such an uplifting, hopeful perspective to our humanness and our capacity for growth.

Would I recommend it?

So would I recommend this book? A resounding ‘yes’.

And the book’s audience?

I will quote Yalom. “I write for those of you who have a keen interest in the human psyche and personal growth, for the many readers who will identify with the ageless existential crises … and for the individuals who contemplate entering therapy or are already in the midst of it.”

Savour the book not just its entertaining tales but take time to explore the nuanced interactions between Yalom and his patients.

 

Ratings:

Realistic Characterization: 4.5/5
Made Me Think:               4.5/5
Overall enjoyment:           5/5
Readability:                       5/5
Recommended:                 5/5
Overall Rating:                   5/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD $8.27
  Paperback USD $15.99
Booktopia Paperback AUD $23.80
Bookdepository Paperback £9.38

– FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

florence-2

© 2016 LitWorldInterviews

 

BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “PRAIRIE MOTHS-MEMORIES OF A FARMER’S DAUGHTER,” BY AUTHOR JUDYDYKSTRABROWN.COM

Prairie Moths Memories of a Farmer's Daughter

  • Title:  Prairie Moths – Memories of a Farmer’s Daughter
  • Author: Judy Dykstra-Brown
  • File Size: 2447 KB
  • Print Length: 50 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Judy Dykstra-Brown
  • Publication Date: June 13, 2014
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KZBJUGY
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Genres: Biographies, Memoirs, Literature, Poetry

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, which follows*

Join me…

Step back into time and travel on the dusty-white gossamer wings of prairie moths into the childhood memories of Judy Dykstra-Brown where she grew up on the South Dakota plains. Her dramatic prose and photos will sweep you into her sometimes stark rural life as she lived it in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

This was a kinder and gentler time when parents told stories to their children of gray wolves and the perils of being lost in a snowstorm, all the while sparking their young imaginations with their storytelling. Like any child, Judy longed to be free of her home place and to strike out on her own not realizing at the time how amazing her young life truly was.

My Recommendation:

As a child, I spent many summers visiting my grandparents in Central Kansas. I was immediately transported back to that time and could literally hear the sounds of the prairie grasses rustling beneath my feet as I read the hauntingly beautiful words of Judy Dykstra-Brown.

Her writing style is pure poetry, with verses that flow from her memories rich with tales of her home life. Much of her words center on her hardworking father, acquainting the reader with a man who was as strong as the mightiest  cottonwood trees that hugged the girth of their property.

I love this passage Judy shares about her father:

“He was a man who planted—

a man with a hard life

who tried to shield us from this life.”

My favorite of her writings was called, “The Summer House.” This is the story of a shanty her father called the summer house which enchanted Judy with all the possibilities of what this humble cottage was and what it could become. She spent countless summers cleaning that old abandoned shack waiting patiently for her family to move there each summer. At home in her winter house in town, the child named Judy would dream of her summer house, remembering her favorite tale of the three bears and thinking her summer house was just right.

I enjoyed and appreciated Judy’s poetic style. Her words are truly enchanting and I was often moved by the vivid descriptions of her home life.

Young and old alike will enjoy “Prairie Moths,” as it is an evocative and lovely collection of verses that will transport the reader back in time to their own childhood filled with abundant memories of when the vast world stretched before us ripe with all the promises of our own lives ahead of us.

Judy dykstra-Brown

Author, Judy Dykstra-Brown

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

About Judy Dykstra-Brown

Judy Dykstra-Brown grew up in South Dakota and lived in Australia, Ethiopia, Wyoming, and California before finally coming to rest in San Juan Cosala, Mexico––a small pueblo on the shores of Lake Chapala near Guadalajara, Mexico––where she has lived for the past 14 years.

Her work may be found in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, including New Poets in Los Angeles, the Sculpture Garden ReviewAgave Marias ( an anthology of ten women writers who have broken boundaries and crossed borders); Veils, Halos, and Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women (an anthology that will be coming out in April of 2016.) and an upcoming anthology of stories and poetry by Alzheimer’s caregivers edited by Kenneth Salzmann.

She was a semifinalist in the Atlantic Journal international poetry competition and first place winner of the Tennessee Writer’s Alliance National Poetry Prize in 2002. She has published over 75 poems, articles and stories in various publications and online magazines including “Living at Lake Chapala,” “Ojo Del Lago” and MexConnect.

Her book of poetry, Prairie Moths: Memories of a Farmer’s Daughter; a nonfiction/memoir book entitled Lessons from a Grief Diary: Reinventing Your Life after the Death of a Loved One, and her children’s picture book Sock Talk are available on Amazon and Kindle. Two more children’s books are completed and will soon be available as well.

She posts daily on her blog at judydykstrabrown.com

Please connect with Judy on Facebook at Judy Dykstra-Brown.

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 10.2015

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “BEYOND THE COLORED LINE, STELLA – BOOK 2,” BY AUTHOR @HOUSEOFPOETRY

Stella: Beyond the Colored Line by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

  • Title:  Beyond the Colored Line – Stella, Book 2
  • Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
  • File Size: 443 KB
  • Print Length: 64 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Lulu.com
  • Publication Date: July 27, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B013PQCKK8
  • Formats: Kindle, Stella – book 1: Kindle
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Literature, Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

Introducing – Stella May

In 1916, Stella May is born as the great-granddaughter of a former slave, also named Stella May. The original Stella May changed her family’s surname to May upon gaining her freedom. Stella is born of mixed ancestry which for all appearances gives her light skin, blond hair, and hazel eyes.

An amazing beauty, Stella is teased by her black classmates because they don’t believe she is black enough. She looks white and even sounds white. In comparison, her white classmates ridicule her since she is too poor to fit in with proper white society. Stella May is caught in the proverbial catch 22. She is too light to be black and too poor to be white.

Stella May’s mother, Judith was born of mixed ancestry also, which gave her the same light skin, hair, and eyes. Judith always thought of herself as a black woman when she married Stella’s father who was also black. By 1928, Stella’s father ran off in fear of being lynched for being married to a white woman. In those days, society made it clear that the races should not co-mingle.

Who is Sidney McNair?

However, even without her father around, Stella was raised with a family of aunts (from her mother’s side) who took an active part in her life. Eventually, because of the difficulties with Stella fitting in at school, her mother sent her to a private school. Stella’s uncles on her father’s side said, “…They were breaking the law – that a Negro had no business in a white school.” Aunt Sara felt different, because, after all, she said, “Stella is half white.”

By the time the Great Depression eases, Stella and her family move to segregated Chicago, where life is not much better. Aunt Sara, a school teacher, struggles to wait for the school district to pay her. Sara has made the step into white society by dating an affluent doctor and encourages Stella to do the same.  After a discussion with Aunt Sara, Stella decides to pass for white. Sidney McNair is born and enters a white society where she had the freedom to go where she chooses and to buy whatever she likes. Stella has crossed the colored line.

Many years later, Sidney is forced to come to grips with the decisions she made long ago. How those decisions affect her life, and the lives of her children and grandchildren, take the reader on a roller-coaster ride into the world of race and ethnicity in America today.

Recommendation:

Since I had not read the first book in the Stella series, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to pick up the threads of Stella’s story. Although the characters are fictional, I was drawn to them (especially Stella) because I have granddaughters of mixed ancestry and I wanted to understand the challenges they face as young women each day.

Maybe, because I felt such a personal connection, Stella’s story touched me even more deeply than I thought it would. I had no idea how difficult life was for Stella and her family, all because of the color of their skin. This was an emotional read for me.

Even more revealing, is how relevant Stella’s story is in America today. I wonder how many people, faced with the same dilemma’s that Stella dealt with, would be able to reconcile their feelings about their own ethnicity.

So, I asked my granddaughters who have black, white, and Thai ancestry. Both girls are beautiful and exotic. They have dark hair, and skin, while one granddaughter has brown eyes, the other has hazel eyes. You know what they told me? They said they were American! Somehow, I knew Stella would have approved.

Beyond the Colored Line is a story about an American family dealing with the issues of race and color in a time when those issues were considered to be conditions characterized with hardship and suffering. Stella’s story helped me to discover connections with my own family I never had before. You see, even in my own family, nothing is ever just black and white.

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5
Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Author, Yecheilyah Ysrayl:

Born in 1987 on the south side of Chicago, Yecheilyah Ysrayl (“EC”) is an author and Spoken Word Artist.

Yecheilyah started writing short stories and poetry at the age of twelve. She attended Harper High School (International Language Career Academy) Robert Morris College (Computer Basics / Administration), Chicago State University (Professional and Technical Writing), and Everest College (Medical Assistance / Phlebotomy).

As an artist, Yecheilyah Ysrayl is an incorporation of spiritual critique, honesty and an authentic analysis of African American identity. She seeks to create work that promotes healthy research and investigation into the cultural identity, laws, customs and traditions of the African American for self-revolution and advancement. Furthermore, “EC” seeks to advance the promotion of truth and identity by way of Spoken Word.

“EC” currently lives in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time.

To watch a trailer for the book click the link below.

Make certain to connect with Yecheilyah through her Twitter @ahouseofpoetry

And Facebook at Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Book Review by: @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 10.2015