Like no other Boy

Like no other Boy a novel assumed published, copyright and written by Larry Eisman Center,

This book indeed is like its title. It is a story unlike any other. It is the story of parental love for a deeply troubled autistic child who is completely dependent upon both parents, a situation that has become hugely problematic. Chris, 8-year old Tommy’s father, is an extremely empathetic individual devoted to his elderly, ailing father, and still enamored of his wife who divorced him as the marriage dissolved under the continued pressure of the situation. Cheryl was from a wealthy family whose treatment apparently was such as to not allow her to cope with adversity, and had found another wealthy man with whom to bond. Chris had not been quite as fortunate, His parents were a devoted couple until his mother passed away, actually contributing greatly to his father’s physical degeneration and his vocation was as a prominent ‘voice over’ actor whose employment depended upon a spotty flow as is all ‘show business’. Thus, Tommy was awarded to Cheryl, but because of the child’s need for both parents, she consented to allow week-end visitation rights to the husband. There was a constant disagreement with respect to modes of treatment for the child and reached a pinnacle when Chris, on a trip to the Zoo, had discovered Tommy had been absorbed with the chimpanzees. He seemed to equate and even speak with them, at the same time demonstrating an advancement in speaking with his father. Additional trips strengthened the attachment and advancements in his speech and sentence formation with his father. Prominent scientists became involved and were willing to commit a huge amount of money to further study the interaction. Cheryl, would not even consider the relationship, preferring removal of the boy to another city where she, now pregnant, and her soon to be new husband both could also benefit from new vocational opportunities. The drama continues to escalate as it unfolds through the ensuing pages to a thoroughly fascinating conclusion.

Discussion: the author has done a remarkable job in depicting the activities of an autistic child and the excruciatingly painful situations repeatedly faced by parents who deeply love their child and constantly strive with little other than hope for some miracle to happen. The author also has learned and shared interesting facts about one branch of primates. A number of involved characters are well and believably described and the book’s flow is acceptable, although occasionally slightly irritating perhaps with Chris’s unwavering extension of empathy upon occasion.

5* Totally absorbing story about autism.

The Apricot Outlook

The Apricot OUTLOOK of Katherine Koon Hung Wong ISBN: 9781734824018 Clever Clock Press copyright and written by Dennis W. C. Wong.

This is an unusual genealogical investigative book that opens with several illustrations, acknowledgements, and an introduction that leads to The Apricot Outlook which is a short recital of Katherine’s life in her own words. In turn, Beyond the Apricot Outlook recites the almost monumental task of attempting to discover the background of her and the author’s roots. An endeavor almost impossible to accomplish for Chinese natives who had immigrated to Hawaii at or around the turn of the 19th – 20th century. A huge part of the problem is that many came from small enclaves of several small villages within an overall larger collection within areas of this huge country and especially when one considers how children were named and the fact that Chinese men routinely could have as many as 7 different names.

The story is simplistically told and, although somewhat difficult to follow, must be a treasure trove of material for a sizeable number of people. It is most difficult to rate the reading interest/enjoyment for general readership.

5* for specific individuals and research accomplished; – ? * for other readers.

A Coin for a Dream

Coin for a Dream published, copyright and written by Mae Adams.

This volume presents a series of short stories, the first fifteen of them told to the author in her early childhood growing up in Korea. They are simple tales, the significance of some perhaps even a little unusual for the uninitiated to absorb. Included are tales of egg ghosts, water ghosts, angels of death, servants of the underworld, a 9-tailed dragon shape-shifter and its nemesis, a 3-legged dog, also of the monstrous part lion, sheep and unicorn haechi with scales, feathers and horns who actually seek justice by punishing the wicked. Other tales, some provided a little later, detail the legends and folktales along with historical explanations of Korean beginnings, religions and practices. Included are tales of how shamans, these mediums between this and the spirit world are created, fascinating explanations of the differences among the Chinese, Japanese and Korean Dragons, discussions of their zodiac, and more. All of these later features gradually and ultimately fade into and join material of a bio- and autobiographical nature.

Discussion: This is the second book by the author of “Precious Silver Chopsticks” which I had reviewed approximately a year ago and stated “This autobiography/memoir is written by an eighty-four-year-old Korean woman of considerable intelligence, fortitude and an amazing ability to survive and prosper” and concluded: “Certainly a relieving catharsis for the author and a book of considerable interest for a diverse reading public.” Because I had witnessed the conditions and people of  Korea during the U.S. involvement, my conclusion with respect to this second book retains my admiration for the author and personally find considerable material she has provided to be quite interesting. But regrettably and in all honesty, I must narrow the scope of those for whom I believe this book will have appeal. There is much redundancy in her presentation and repetition within the body of the work as well as a considerable amount from her first book. Thus, I strongly recommend this book to readers who are interested in learning more about other people, their history, cultures, religions, activities, habits, individual beliefs, and their personal abilities to adapt and especially as depicted here, to survive. For readers with these interests, the subject matter most assuredly requires a 5*. The rating unfortunately must be reduced by 2 because of matters that judicious editing would have removed, plus the most regrettable fact its level of interest for others than those mentioned; i.e. general readership, probably would not be extensive.

3* 5* story regrettably reduced by 2 as explained in the discussion.

How to Live to be 100

How to Live to be 100 ISBN: 9781943386543 Leaders Press copyright written by Elizabeth Lopez.

The book consists of a Forward, Preface and The Magic of Nicoya culture and personality as they are intertwined in a discussion as to how their life activities contribute to their longevity. This is followed by portraits and discussions with seven of these individuals about their lives and with a 95-year-old whose father just passed away at 110. Comments by a school teacher who has had a long and lasting acquaintance with these people follows and then comments by the author’s primary associate in the project. A number of local recipes are provided in detail along with a personal questioner with respect to the reader’s possibilities of reaching this advanced age, and thirty references are added.

Discussion: The book contains considerable redundancy. However, it is the most interesting result of the author’s request to be included as part of the group provided by Blue Zones LLC, Inc. to investigate whether this remote peninsula of Costa Rica qualified as a Blue Zone containing a larger than ‘normal’ number of centenarians (Presently listed are Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, CA; Ikaria, Greece; areas of Japan.) As a native of the peninsula and an American University EdD in psychology, the author’s stimulation to make the request is obvious and her findings indeed interesting. They appear to be much in accord with findings in the other Blue Zones listed with respect to living a healthy life style that includes an obvious genetic factor, physical, biological and personal traits and a life style consisting of low neuroticism, high extroversion, openness, agreeableness, competence, self-discipline, ability to ‘take care of one’s self’ and pride in being able to do so. Some qualities perhaps somewhat more specific to this population that she describes as the “World’s Happiest Centenarians” is their love of nature, music and dancing and strong belief in God.

Conclusion: An interesting, but perhaps somewhat surprisingly unsophisticated approach by a native who has obtained advanced psychological training and resides in the United States, to this subject of growing interest to a larger number of people. Of probably particular appeal is the inclusion of a personal quiz for the reader to take and evaluate his/her own chances of reaching that level – one that seems increasingly today to be elevated to ‘holy grail’ status.

3* 4* results & quiz to discern the reader’s possible attainment; -1 as described.

Breaking Free

Breaking Free, ISBN: 9789493056145 Amsterdam Publishers. Good to Go, Part 1 copyright and written by Jeffrey Vonk.

The author has provided a quite unusual travelogue that begins in Switzerland and ends in an Afterword that brings this native of Holland to Chicago, IL on an impulsive decision. Between these points of ‘advanced civilization’, his journey takes him through parts of Russia, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, African Gambia, Jordan, Syria and Kurdistan. Perhaps even more intriguingly most of his journey was conducted singly on a Chinese built motorcycle, on foot and even horseback with occasional local bus and invited rides on trucks, vans and unusual personal transportation. His sleeping accommodations were at the least expensive hotels and/or hostels, personal homes and frequently ‘hopefully acceptable’ shelters in abandoned buildings or even the open air where he could pitch a shelter, or perhaps not. Conditions encountered for the most part were extensively primitive. Quantities of food and water frequently were low and even dangerously missing for periods of time. Quantities available were purchased if possible, or provided for one reason or another by many kind people he encountered.

Discussion: This is a fascinating tale of travel largely in some of the most poorly developed areas of the world undertaken by a young man who is intrigued by different cultures and thrives on living a totally different way of life. His story is descriptively presented and a reader can only marvel at the fact that his survival itself is quite remarkable.

5* Travel tale for those interested in other, often primitive cultures.