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The Surprising Potential Humans Have

Douglas Farrago
Douglas Farrago Author Interview

Noki follows a boxer with Autism, he wants to use his skills to help his father but encounters people that do not have his best interest at heart. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The story of Noki was stuck in my head for over ten years. I couldn’t shake it. I just fell in love with the character and felt I needed to share him with the world. I believe the book does a great job showing the limitations we, as a society, place on people, knowingly or not. Even more importantly, it shows the surprising potential humans have. This is something I saw in my thirty-year experience as a doctor treating autistic patients. People with autism, like Noki, may have some social and communication difficulties, but it doesn’t mean they are without aspirations, goals, love, thoughts, or purpose. I hope this book shows the reader this.

What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

We all need to be aware that when you meet one person with autism you meet one person with autism. Everyone is different. Everyone deserves basic respect and nonjudgment from others, autism or not. That being said, autism is a spectrum and this has to be acknowledged. There is a pivotal point in Noki where there is a hearing to decide whether he understands the consequences and risks of boxing. Understanding the differences between each autistic person provides a learning opportunity for characters in the book and should do the same for those who read it.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I definitely wanted to explore the deep dark secrets of the boxing world. I know it all too well. No one really talks about it and it hasn’t changed much in a century. Putting someone like Noki in that environment was exciting to me. I wanted to also make a social worker a hero (heroine) because normally they are portrayed negatively. Lastly, the surprise ending in Noki is critical in realizing what you may have just read is something you have seen many times before.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am writing another business book now but will probably start on a book about Taddy Roosevelt (yes, that is spelled right).

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

When a highly skilled boxer with autism wants to take part in the corrupt world of professional fighting, whose decision is it to make?

A bankrupt boxing gym, a down-on-his luck drifter, and a desperate father grapple with an opportunity that could solve all their problems, but at a tragic cost. 
Noki has grown up in his father’s gym, around the seedy world of boxing his whole life, the fighters there calling him a “man-child.” A young Black man with autism with a penchant for wearing Disney t-shirts, Noki is gifted with incredible boxing skills, considered by his inner circle as unbeatable. But when the unscrupulous boxing bigwigs see dollar signs, his gym family is torn: Are they permitting Noki to pursue his passion or are they taking advantage of someone with a disability. Noki, a new young adult fiction novel by Douglas Farrago, is a masterfully written coming of age story of loyalty, grit, and self-discovery in the most heartbreaking of circumstances.  

Based on a True (Traumatic) Brain History

In the blunt and honest book, Mark Allen narrates his life story Based on A True (Traumatic) Brain History: A Short Memoir. Covering topics like his struggle of living with a brain injury, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and some deep reflections about his ways of coping with difficult circumstances, Allen gives readers a look into his world with the hope that his story will help others. 

The book is divided into multiple short chapters, but you can trace a clear pattern between the first and second half. The first part deals with his early life, college, experiences as a professional MMA fighter, while the second part deals with the challenges that come with TBI, feeling suicidal and mental health struggles. In the course of the memoir, you’ll learn that the author struggled with substance addictions, but he overcame them and went on to donate a kidney to his ailing mother. Likewise, the author felt heartbroken after the traumatic brain injury (TBI)  because it took away his passion, but he managed to sail on. 

The best part of this book is that the author never dwells on self-pity. It’s more about the journey and process, how an individual deals with unforeseen circumstances with a practical approach, and how to find a purpose in life. His positive outlook towards life gives the readers hope, rendering a universal appeal to the story. The book starts off candidly as if the author is sitting right in front of you in a coffee shop and having a casual chit-chat. He keeps this conversational tone alive throughout the book, occasionally tinged with his refreshing humor. 

The storytelling is honest and easy-flowing. The language is lucid. It gives the readers a glimpse into the author’s life so far, his battles, his practical approach to move ahead in dark times, and his realizations. There is no preaching, only heartfelt expressions and actual incidents recollected from the author’s memory.

Based on A True (Traumatic) Brain History: A Short Memoir is more than just the story of Mark Allen’s life. This through-provoking book is an excellent read for those struggling with addiction, medical injuries, TBI, or anyone that just needs a quick motivational read.

Pages: 242 | ASIN : B08TQNXDPF

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Noki lives an unassuming life with his father, Jip, as they struggle to make ends meet with a failing boxing gym. Noki doesn’t speak much with the other boxers or even with his father, but when Bug shows up one late rainy evening, Noki takes a shine to him and talks more than he ever has before.

At first, they are allowed to build their friendship and trust. However, everything changes for them after the gym’s main fighter and moneymaker leaves unexpectedly, causing Jip to have a stroke. Together, Noki and Bug discover ways of making money with Noki’s boxing talent, but their lies and dealings with the shady business of boxing soon threaten more than their abilities to save Jip and the gym. They must work together with those they trust, or they may lose everything they love and care about.

This exciting book written by Douglas Farrago has some fantastic commentary on the business of boxing. Readers can tell that the author knows what he’s talking about with boxing in how he describes each match, which makes those scenes especially interesting to read. It’s interesting to see a little more about what goes on behind those matches. This is a great way to expose some of the shady things boxers have to deal with and how easy it is for boxers to get sucked into financially abusive situations.

I thought the characters started out a little flat, with the focus on Noki and Bug because they were different, Noki with his autism and Bug with his small stature. For at least the first half of the book, it felt like everyone thought Noki couldn’t really understand things and only knew how to follow instructions. Bug and Jip, especially would make comments to this effect quite often. It wasn’t until Bug started getting threatened for using Noki that changed, and he started treating Noki more like a normal person. Eventually, Noki as a character-filled out as Bug began treating him as an average person.

Noki while being a work of fiction, is a great resource to learn more about the boxing system and how it makes it easy to take advantage of boxers. Young adults and teen readers will find this coming-of-age novel entertaining as it explores the life of an autistic person in the world of sports.

Pages: 172 | ASIN : B08YFDTQB5

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Necessities Book Trailer

Necessities tells the story of David Lewis, a double amputee Iraq War veteran who has taught himself to box and run half-marathons. David is bitter and angry but determined to succeed despite his injury. He has a promising career as a reporter for the Cleveland Post. His life is turned upside down when Cordelia Lehrer, with whom he had a brief fling in college seeks him out. Cory’s father is the publisher of a chain of an ultra right libertarian newspapers. Cory is looking for a newspaper man who can win her father’s approval and father an heir. David buys into the arrangement and finds himself in the middle of dysfunctional family wars and an increasingly difficult marriage, especially after young Tony, the heir, is born.

Coming in November 2017


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