Blog Archives

Masks

Masks by [Restokian, Nataly]

Anna has always known she would be famous. She has always done everything in her power to get to her desired position professionally and on the societal hierarchy. She reflects back to her journey from atop her throne. It is colored with struggled and dark moments she would rather not let anyone know about. However, despite all her success and power. Despite her fame and beauty. Despite her acclaim and recognition. Something is missing in her life. Until she meets Joe. A rash decision will change the course of her entire life.

Nataly Restokian has written a book that is inspired by her life. She writes so vividly that you can feel the fear in Anna’s parents as they sell bread on war torn streets. You can feel the disapproval radiating from many around her as she makes decisions. You will also enjoy the love, support and admiration she gets for these same decisions. It is a tumultuous life Anna has led. You will every bit of her turmoil and urgent need to find that missing part. The author has done a good job of pulling the reader in to see Anna for who she truly is. To see into her heart and mind. To look past the fancy veneer and see the woman stripped of her façade.

Anna is a strong woman who defies all odds. She creates her own fate. Like she says- people are fans of public figures they see themselves in. In Anna you will see a part of your true self. It could be her grit or her bravery. It could be her commitment to be authentic. It could be her strength to face her demons. She is everyone we all wish to be. She is unscripted and unforgivingly frank. So much could be said about this one character almost as there is no one else in the story with her. The writer has done a truly marvelous job of sculpting the perfect heroine who also has flaws but will not shy away from them. The same dexterity has been applied to Joe with his charm and genuine personality.

This is a very intense story that touches heavily on feminism and crime against women. These are issues that plague the world right now. This book tells the story of a woman’s life from a society many might not understand but whose struggles are relatable by all women though perhaps not on the same level. The writer lends the story the seriousness and sobriety it requires for the message to be passed. The book is written in beautifully simple yet elegant language with a mild flair.

Pages: 256 | ASIN: B07BB6RMDS

Buy Now From B&N.com

The Ghetto Blues

The Ghetto Blues by [Brooks, Tammy Campbell ]

The Ghetto Blues by Tammy Campbell Brooks unexpectedly won my heart. The book’s full title is The Ghetto Blues – An Autobiography of Tammy Campbell Brooks’ Trepidation, Tragedy, and Triumph, and it follows the life of Tammy from childhood through adulthood. In the opening pages of the prologue, Tammy’s daughter writes, “In this book, you will go through different stages of emotions from tears, laughter, happiness, and joy of growing up in poverty and impoverished environments, but not letting the circumstances define you.” As I began the book, I was skeptical that I would experience all these emotions, but as I concluded the final chapter, “Bells Will Be Ringing,” I found that Tammy’s daughter had been entirely right all along.

Typically, authors are referred to by their last names in reviews, but after reading Tammy’s story, I feel it only right to call her by her first name. Tammy’s story was incredibly challenging for me to read at the beginning because it is so disparate from my own experience in suburban America. Growing up in the projects of San Antonio, Tammy had an upbringing that is almost unbelievable for most readers – gunshots, emotional and physical abuse, poverty, extreme hunger – but she avoids writing about her experiences in such a way as to say, oh woe is me! Completely the opposite, Tammy describes herself as driven and dedicated. Even though she experiences setbacks and succumbs to vices that will have readers wanting to call her up and say, what were you thinking?!, she does not let her weaknesses or mistakes define her, and she is always striving for the best out of herself.

Tammy’s autobiography is written in an almost spoken format, and not at all how Strunk & White might have preferred. While the typos and grammatical errors irritated me at the beginning on the book, I came to realize that if it had been written like Faulkner, for example, it would not have truly been Tammy’s autobiography. Her story is edgy and uncomfortable, and sometimes painful to read. It is the opposite of polished, but it is honest and eye-opening. That said, the book would have benefitted from some additional editing to correct some of the simple spelling errors and word usage errors. Those glaring errors are the only reason I would give the story four stars instead of five, because Tammy’s story is undeniably a full five stars.

Describing Tammy to someone who hasn’t read her autobiography feels almost as if she must be fictional: how could one woman overcome all those challenges thrown at her? Not only is Tammy an inspiration, but she was also eye-opening to me. I knew nothing of the ghetto lifestyle in the projects that she describes, and her story reiterates the age-old adage of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” At the conclusion of her autobiography, my overwhelming emotion was one of thinking that Tammy’s story would be amazing to share through radio or podcast. The courage and strength that it took Tammy to share her and her family’s story with readers should not be underestimated, and I hope that many readers have the opportunity to learn from her experiences.

Pages: 257 | ASIN: B07BFKCQZ9

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: