Book Review: The Doorman’s Repose by Chris Raschka

Book Review: The Doorman’s Repose by Chris Raschka
4 Stars ****   (MG and YA)

It’s been ages since I’ve read a SATIRE and here is a new and modern example to serve as a model for students of writing. Not only is it entertaining, but the reader learns about the idiosyncracies of living in a doorman apartment building in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. What fun!

Satire:  the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Anyone who knows anything about a doorman building knows the doorman knows EVERYTHING that goes on. Packages, deliveries, visitors, daily habits are all under the nose of this very special person who presides over his realm and stands guard over those who enter. Relatives and friends of the residents become acquaintances of the doorman and in turn, all become interconnected. According to Mr. Bunchley the doorman, ” a connection is made when at least one party would feel the lack of the other.”

The funny thing, of course, is the privileged, quirky lives of the residents. Unusual demands must be addressed without upsetting anyone. The book is divided into ten stories about the doorman, crazy? or maybe not? Fred who presides over the pigeons, the requisite opera singer who loses her voice at an inopportune time, the walled up music room, the cultured, educated mice who spread their time among the different apartments and who travel to the country during the summer, the revered Number 2 elevator named Otis, the temperamental boiler, hot water for baths and tea, and the doorman’s repose—a state of rest, sleep, or tranquility—which comes after all is said and done.

The book is written with a tongue-in-cheek. So serious about nothing really. So accepting of the craziness that abounds. So true in its portrayal of this segment of New York City life.

I recommend this book to serve as a model for satire. It’s appropriate for middle grade and young adult readers. Cute. Different. Unique.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

 

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Book Review: The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

Book Review: The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore (MG) for reading level, (YA) for content 5 Stars *****

What a terrific book for sophisticated MG and YA readers! This book is totally modern with its Harlem slang, supportive lesbian mother, mostly absent caring father with a new girlfriend, an idolized older brother who was shot to death in a nightclub in the Bronx, gang bangers who terrorize the younger, unassociated kids, conflicted desire for a better life, friends who teeter on the edge between right and wrong, friendship with an autistic girl which started out as dislike, rivalry, then evolved into a healthy cooperation to achieve excellence and fame, and a helpful community center counselor. This book has it all.

Twelve -year-old Wallace (Lolly) Rachpaul, who  lives in Harlem in the upper east side of Manhattan, is obsessed with keeping his possessions from being “confiscated” by the thugs who frequent 125 St. Despondent over the death of his twenty-year-old brother, Jermaine, Lolly begins to give up on life and loses interest in his school work. His only interest is constructing buildings with his individual Lego kits. When Steve, a young man who serves as a positive role model for the neighborhood boys, gives Lolly a book for Christmas entitled A Pattern of Architecture, Lolly is inspired to innovate. He combines all the Lego pieces, integrating the blocks from all the kits, with his imagination on fire. His mom’s girlfriend brings bags full of Lego pieces from her job at a toy factory. Ali, the counselor at the community center, encourages Lolly to build with his Legos and gives him a private room to construct the imaginary alien world of Harmonee. From this activity, Lolly utilizes math and creative writing. The other kids become involved and Lolly’s mutually beneficial relationship with autistic Big Rose begins. Lolly and Big Rose find a common area in which to gain public recognition.

At the end, Lolly is able to come to terms with his brother’s death, his parents’ separate lives, his loyalty in friendships that don’t always run smoothly, and his desire to excel in life and avoid the trappings of the life around him. Lolly tells us how much he has changed from the beginning of the story, “Since then I had learned the most important thing: the decisions you make can become your life. Your choices are you.”

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Book Review: In The Hamptons by Dan Rattiner

Book Review: In The Hamptons by Dan Rattiner (2008) 4 Stars ****

Anyone who has spent the day in the Hamptons could not possibly avoid encountering Dan’s Papers, the free local newspaper published by the eponymous Dan Rattiner. I have spent a lot of time in the Hamptons recently, came across this book published in 2008, and became intrigued by the personal accounts of the artists, writers, and personalities who inhabited this region of eastern Long Island, once the milieu of those who wished an invisible life, now teeming with those who want to see and be seen.

Dan Rattiner was sixteen when his parents left Millburn, New Jersey headed for Montauk with its white sandy beaches and fish-filled Atlantic Ocean punctuated by the quaint eastern-most towns of Suffolk County. Dan’s father had enough of the grind associated with his job as a cosmetics salesman and, capitalizing on his degree in pharmacy, realized his dream of owning a small drug store by day, and fishing by night. Dan worked for his father and started his own free local newspaper geared to tourists during the busy summer months. He solicited ads to finance the cost of printing and distribution, and wrote all the stories himself—just as he does now.

Dan Rattiner tells us about his interactions with pretty girls, arrogant artists, hard-drinking writers and entertainers, kind forward thinking bankers, colorful local fisherman, generous wealthy benefactors, stingy unreliable moguls, and the close-knit community of the inhabitants of the east end or “The End” as Montauk is called.

Dan Rattiner spread his influence from Montauk west to the Hamptons until he conquered those towns one by one with an inspiring combination of determination and smarts.

If you love the idea of the old Hamptons—as you might feel about the old Hollywood with its now extinct rules of conduct and black and white films showcasing actors with clipped British accents—take a look at this book. You’ll learn so much about the celebrities who helped shape this once obscure part of the world into the wonder it has become.

This story should have been awe-inspiring and exciting. Instead, the tone of voice is almost a bedtime story that lulls the reader into complacency. With fifty years of experiences with so many movers and shakers and creators of American culture, a flat delivery defeats the purpose. The author seems bored by the whole thing. Could it be possible?

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Book Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Book Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah 4 Stars ****

Also appropriate for Young Adult Readers

Written by the author of The Nightingale, this book also has a magnetic pull on the reader with its sympathetic characters and wild, untamed setting in the Alaska of the 1970’s. A wonderful, but sometimes repetitious story, often undeveloped, melodramatic events, too many hints about what the future holds, confusing innuendo, and rather abrupt contrived ending made this 4 Stars for me instead of the 5 Stars it should have had. Please don’t misunderstand. This is a terrific book.

Thirteen year old Lenora (Leni) Allbright abruptly leaves city life behind as her parents inform her they will start a new life in the wilderness of Alaska. Leni’s father, Ernt, a POW and Vietnam veteran suffering from severe post traumatic stress, has inherited a small house in the Alaskan wilderness from an army buddy who was killed during his captivity as a POW. Ernt views this as a saving grace, Cora, Leni’s mom, goes along with whatever she feels will make her husband happy, while Leni expresses skepticism that a change of scenery will improve her father’s psyche. Leni is the only one of her family grounded in reality and her fears prove to be prophetical.

Leni’s family is totally unprepared for life in the wilderness. With the help of caring, experienced neighbors, they begin to learn basic survival techniques. They must carry a knife and/ or gun at all times for protection from bears and wolves. The family learn to hunt, trap, fish, grow and store their own vegetables, chop wood, pilot boats, ride snowblowers, read the sky for signs of storms, and try to keep their balance with the unusually long days and nights according to the season. They live without electricity, central heating, and indoor plumbing. Trips to the outhouse are dangerous at night because bears lurk in the woods. Walking and driving are treacherous. It’s possible to fall through the ice and into crevasses and never to be found. And yet, they come to love this land and its people.

Leni forms a deep friendship with Matthew who is the only child her own age in the town. This friendship leads to love and romance. Leni’s father becomes increasingly more violent, plotting, controlling, and reclusive while Leni’s mother continues to live in denial as she provokes her husband’s jealousy by her flirtations with Matthew’s divorced father. It would be impossible to summarize what happens without spoiling the story. The reader is subjected to great emotional upheaval as we fear for the safety and well-being of all the characters in the book. This is a heart-wrenching tale.

We have a sense of being there since the descriptive passages  give a clear sense of life in the wilderness—its loneliness and dangers. The last few chapters come and go quickly and abruptly. Is the ending realistic? In some ways the possibilities exist, but how probable is this “happy” ending?

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

 

What’s It All About? Sojourn Into The Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest by Elaine Donadio

What’s It All About?

You can preview and purchase  Sojourn Into The Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

Sojourn Into The Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

 

Travel to the rainforest of Peru as the original photos in this watercolor journey help tell the story in this unrhymed,  poetic narrative which captures the stillness of the night and my delight in seeing unique creatures secure in their own world.

Awestruck by the beauty of the Peruvian rainforest, I behold what is hidden in plain sight. Aided by the full moon, the stars and three flashlights, the jungle guide traces the almost imperceptible – camouflaged creatures, unseen but for the probing lens and heightened senses of this mentor who, among the cacophony of undefined sounds amid ambiguous paths with buttress roots spread wide, staunch soldiers in their mission as lianas reach up with wooden fingers in communion with arboreal giants, quietly courses ahead in this exalted forest with depths of knowledge and intuition surpassing my own.

A teacher by profession, I become the student in this unfamiliar great biome, learning facts but also becoming aware of my limitations as a sentient being, capable of looking but incapable of seeing but for the gentle guidance of one who communes with nature.

My books are primarily geared to middle grade readers, but this book may be best suited to 12-adult (Nothing is X rated!).  They’re loaded with well-researched science facts and are appropriate for classroom study and/ or  supplemental or independent reading assignments with tie-ins for science, literacy and social studies. The secret of their success is their ability  and purpose in allowing the reader to have fun while learning—experiencing the world through the eyes of the characters—journeying with a friend, in a sense. Content area reading is what it’s all about.

Please visit my website ElaineDonadio.com  for study guides for this book. You can use the book for some of your answers, but you will have to do outside research, also.

Questions or comments? Please email me at author@elainedonadio.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy reading!

All rights reserved 2018.

 

 

Borrow My Books From Queens and Suffolk , NY Libraries!

Welcome to my blog!

Printed copies of my books are now available for inter-library loan at Queens Library and Suffolk County Library in New York.

The digital copies are still available in many library systems throughout the country, but the printed editions are an added feature with limited access.

My Book Titles

Middle Grade…(8-12 year olds )

The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion

12 – Adult…

Sojourn Into The Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

In New York, this is where you can find my printed books:

The physical copies are available from the Queens Library system at Central Library, Jamaica; Bay Terrace Library in Bayside; Whitestone Library in Whitestone. Or, you can borrow through inter-library loan if you’re a Queens County library patron.

Also, the physical copies are located in the East Hampton Library, East Hampton. Suffolk and Nassau County library patrons can borrow through inter-library loan online.

Happy reading! If you do decide to borrow my books from the library, please remember to write a review on the library website.

Thanks,

Elaine

 

Sojourn Into the Night: A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

At eye level, buttress roots spread wide , staunch soldiers earnest in their mission.

At eye level, buttress roots spread wide , staunch soldiers earnest in their mission.

Here’s an excerpt from my unrhymed, poetic narrative “Sojourn Into the Night: A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest.”

 

A tattered cloak of ebony

backlit

by the stars

and the full March moon.

Unveiled, the tributary of the mighty Amazon,

river of the Napo people,

still,

but for the shatter

of the small boat

quietly coursing ahead,

never suggesting the abundance of life

concealed beneath its depths.

Exalted forest fashions shadows,

at this moment in time,

occasioned by flashlights.

 

At eye level,

buttress roots spread wide,

staunch soldiers

earnest in their mission.

Lianas reach up

with wooden fingers

in communion with arboreal giants.

© 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this content may be reprinted or used in any form without express permission of Elaine Donadio Writes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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