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Critiquing the master… End of Watch by Stephen King

I was a reader before I was a writer. One can’t read as much as I do without being at least slightly familiar with the great Stephen King. For the record, my favorite of his fifty-five novels is his auto-biography, On Writing; A memoir of the craft. That book isn’t like his others as it is about his life, his struggles and successes (not as horrifying as the stories he creates, but truly sometimes facts are stranger than fiction). The story of his life changed my life, literally, but that’s not this review…

Stephen King’s most recent read is End of Watch. The third and final book of a series featuring Detective Bill Hodges (Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers.) Without creating a spoiler alert, I’m a suicide survivor. Anyone who has lived through losing a loved one in that way knows the pain. It’s as if a grenade exploded in your family, really, like no other grief. Oddly this novel was a comfort to me. The idea of a diabolical mastermind, (Brady AKA the Mercedes Killer) controlling the victims, tricking them into taking their lives is a nicer idea than my loved ones doing it themselves. The way the master of suspense sets up his scenes leaves the reader believing (as always). This has been a problem of mine when I listen to Stephen King’s books on audio, (one morning-listening to Cell if I remember right-I missed my exit by about twenty-five miles before I snapped back into the real world as asked myself, “where the hell am I?”) I think we come to expect that with Mr. King’s terror tales. Full immersion.

End of Watch is a classic Stephen King suspenseful thriller. It leaves the reader on the edge of their seats and wanting more. (And at the same time screaming silently, ‘make it stop’). The characters are likable and believable as ever. It’s a picture-perfect ending for the Hodges trilogy. Another home run, damn impressive Mr. King! Thumbs up. Highly recommend.

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Why I’m voting for Hillary.

Only in Hollywood does the underdog come back and win the Presidential election. Tears streamed down my face the day after Senator Sanders lost the primaries. Literally, I cried into my morning coffee. As my sadness stopped, I realized what he accomplished by making it to the Presidential ‘final round’. America is waking up. Awareness is key.

Here’s why I’m now voting for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Let’s face it, the President is a figure head. We all saw how difficult the Republicans made President Obama’s job. They figuratively ‘tied his hands’ on many policies he tried to get through, voting down one good idea after another. The same will happen with Hillary. Throw in the misogyny attitudes towards the fact she’s female… My guess is she’ll have more challenges and road blocks than ever.

This is also why it makes sense for Hillary to choose Tim Kaine. If the Clinton campaign wins Kaine be replaced by a Democratic (due to a Democrat governor-other options had a Republican governor giving that state a potential Republican replacement.) This will keep their numbers strong. Leaving Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren where they are makes more sense in a bigger overall picture of law and policy creation. They are leaders in the Senate. The Democrats need to take control of the House of Representatives. Again, it’s a bigger picture than the title POTUS. There’s more to it than the figure-head. The Democratic party needs to play the long game too. Tim Kaine could also make a great candidate for the next presidency when Hillary’s run is over. Here’s why.

He’s young. From everything I can find, he seems ‘center-left’ which is where this country should be. He’s genuine. He’s not obnoxious. He’s for the Latino community. He’s not for the NRA. He believes in global warming and knows the urgency of it. He’s against No Child Left Behind and high-stakes testing. He’s sincere. He’s positive and upbeat. He’s not a hawk. He’s against war. He’s for cutting subsidies to big oil. He’s for cutting interest on student loans. He’s smart. He’s for allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. He’s not orange. He’s funny. And there doesn’t seem to be any ‘skeletons’ in his preverbal closet. (Refreshing. And he made President Obama’s short list for possible VP nominees.)

After doing little more research I’ve discovered the low-key senator of Virginia and I have the same stance on women’s rights. Although Catholic he’s pro-choice. I won’t hold his religion against him but my stance is the same. I wouldn’t have an abortion. That was my personal decision to make. I think each woman should have that choice, period, end of story. Senator Kaine has been quoted as saying the same thing, it’s the woman’s choice and he is certainly all for keeping government out of those personal decisions, upholding Roe v Wade.

Naturally, we don’t agree on everything but there isn’t a candidate that I agree with on every stance. He’s for the TPP, I’m not. But I agree with Clinton and Kaine on more than I don’t. I’m old enough to remember the George W Bush Jr. fiasco with the third party candidate Ralph Nader. We can’t let that happen again. United we stand. I think even Bernie would agree with me, the Democratic ticket is the only logical choice this election. (And that’s why I’m voting for Hillary.)

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Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Handwriting Analysis.

As requested, I’m going Neil Degrasse Tyson’s writing this week. I looked at many signatures and found his is relatively consistent letting us know his public image is just that, consistent. His writing matches to a degree as far as the pressure and size goes, that lets us know that what you see is what you get with this man. (it was a challenge to find examples of his writing that wasn’t his signature.) He is in public the same as he is in private. The first thing I noticed about his signature was the heavy pressure, which is also seen in his writing. This shows a person of passion and whether he’s discussing science, relationships or the weather, he’s going to exhibit enthusiasm about his topics. There is also a definite ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me’ indications in his writing. You won’t want to piss him off as he takes his time getting over injustices.

Obviously, he’s intelligent, this is shown in his writing as well as his signature. It’s not faked. He’s a peace keeper and has the tendency to have long, meaningful relationships. There is a desire for attention and a desire for more responsibility shown in his writing, both correlate with being a middle child and probably came naturally as he grew-up. There are indications he finishes what he starts. He is a deep thinker and enjoys the art of dissecting theories and analyzing. The N is the letter of friendship and Mr. Tyson’s shows when he makes emotional connections they are strong and lifelong. The middle initial, D is interesting how he writes it. It’s the letter of sensitivity and he has a tendency to be private and may have emotional walls built around him. The T in his last name shows good old fashion work values. And he has generosity in his public image. Also, on most of his signatures, there is an underscore showing his ego and self-importance.

It was great getting to know this intelligent man through his signature. Before I started I didn’t know much about him other than his passion for science.

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My all-American rant – Happy Independence Day

A very unpatriotic rant.

I suppose most of you are out barbecuing hot dogs and setting off bottle rockets and are entirely too busy to be reading random rants on internet blogs. It gives me a bit of a thrill to know I can say whatever comes to mind without worry of a very big audience.

As most of us out there, I grew up with parents born during the end of the WWII era that became adults during the Vietnam conflict. My folks were as apple pie patriotic as they come, red, white and blue through and through. Tears would spring to our eyes when we heard the Star Spangled Banner. Specifically, after learning what the men and women of that particular battle went through to create this amazing country. Francis Scott Key’s beautiful take on the morning after that battle and what that flag still flying truly meant gave me shivers; I’m that proud of this country.

While I was pregnant with my daughter, the Oklahoma City bombing happened. It was the first time I hesitated a bit as far as being safe in America. A white, homegrown terrorist? Here, in this country? Safety of that sort isn’t something most of us think about until tragedy strikes. Anyway… When the fourth of July, 1995, rolled around Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA was recently on the top of the country-western charts, and that night, watching the fireworks show, I thought how fortunate my child was being born into this great country. Tears streamed down my face at how proud I was to be an American. At that time, I thought of my country like a reliable relative. My grandparents’ oldest brother, Uncle Sam, here to protect and take care of me and ensure I was privileged enough to raise my child in the best country in the world, free. Free to choose our religion, free to raise my daughter as I saw fit, free to work hard, play hard, make money, save, retire.

As I aged, it seemed my favorite uncle wasn’t exactly the way he was portrayed.

When my first grader refused to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance, (written by a socialist, did you know that?), I had to stop and take note. She had valid points. “Mom,” she said, “have you really listened to the words of the pledge? It’s a promise and I can’t do it.” She saw my puzzled look and continued, “What does the Republic stand for anyway? I can’t pledge anything if I don’t know what it stands for? What if I don’t agree with it? Then I made a promise of allegiance to something I don’t agree with! And one nation under which god?”

Later that year, 9-11 happened. The fake patriotism made me want to barf. Support Our Troops… Because they got a really bad deal? Because they are being forced into a war about… what? The more I read, researched and learned, it became apparent my good old Uncle Sam was nothing what I thought. He became that weird family member that does shady deals behind closed doors, a drug dealer, a gambler, a hypocrite, a pervert, a gluttonous misogynist pig.

When my daughter was in junior high she came home and threw her backpack across the living room? When she saw my look of concern she screamed, “Did you know, in this country white women only make seventy-three cents for every dollar a man earns?” She could see by the look on my face I did know that. “This is America for crying out loud!” She stormed into her room and slammed the door. (I’ve wondered if it was that moment that pushed her into International Policy for her college major.) Foreign exchange students came and went in our lives, it was interesting to see how they viewed the good old U.S.A. Interesting even more to compare their governments and laws, what works where they are from and what doesn’t. I started seeing that we weren’t as free as I had been told all my life.

As non-Christians, we were out-casts; as women, we made less money. I have black nieces and have to put up with dirty looks and whispers when we go out with them. People who grow pot spend more time in our ridiculous money making private prisons than rapists and child molesters and none of the above will get any type of rehabilitation from our system. Cops can kill because of the shade of a person’s skin. The Brock Turners of the world get pampered and are allowed to do whatever they want while the Trayvon Martins die for doing nothing. Free?

And our civic rights? The United States voting system… I realized a few presidential elections ago how our votes don’t really count. They give us the ‘license to bitch’, but because of the broken two party/super delegate system, (not to mention voter suppression), the people’s votes don’t really count (Right, Hillary?). Oh, and then there’s the gun-owning Americans that are too selfish to allow smart restrictions on lethal weapons screaming about their second amendment rights when its really all about money. A gun is a retail product. All. About. Money.
(By the way, did you know, recently your fourth amendment rights were taken away, modified. No one is talking about that ratification of that amendment because it isn’t big money. Seriously, just this year, look it up.)

The 2016 Presidential election gave me a glimmer of what could be but it was extinguished by corporate American greed. In my opinion that is the problem, greed. It dawned on me the debates from when I was a child were the same ones still going on. The war on women and their reproductive rights, the war on drugs and making millions doing it, gun rights and oil. Decade after decade and we can’t move on from those topics? Things can’t change? What is wrong with this country? My country has started letting me down over and over again. Now-days, it’s more surprising when the government gets something right. Even as much as I love President Obama, I don’t agree with all of his policies specifically the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). (Although, I must admit, it was easier to stomach when he slow-jammed the news with Jimmy Fallon about it.) There are things this country does that are just down-right embarrassing, redefining what it is to be American.

Okay, I can hear some of you saying ‘Well, if you don’t like it here, just leave.’ And I ask you, is that how you settle conflicts with your uncles? You don’t like the way a family member behaves and so you divorce them because of their bad choices?  To be fair, I have never gone anywhere out of this country that I haven’t met a person that is dissatisfied with something regarding where they live; the government, the weather, the people, etc… This country IS great, it’s amazing! But perhaps we can learn from our mistakes, change and get better; it’s called life in the real world. There is no perfect place on this earth or we would all be migrating there, and I know how good we have it. (And know how good it could be.)

Lets face it folks, this rant… I’m only exercising my freedom of speech. Happy birthday, America. Cheers to the next two-hundred and forty years.

PS-if you’re wondering about the picture… I Googled ‘Creepy Uncle Sam cartoons’ and this one was by far the best. It bothers me when I hear people my age(or older) say they just have never really been into politics until this year and I believe they are part of the problem, but really… can we handle the truth? And if we know it, will we be strong enough to make any changes?
(Aahhh… deep thoughts by Dacia.)

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Gillian Flynn – Three of four novels, review

Was I the only person that read Gone Girl and hoped the movie would be better than the book? Honestly, I wondered how that particular novel was chosen for a movie. Usually, the books are way better than the movie, but… I didn’t like the film any better than the book when it comes to Gone Girl. The premise of the book was entertaining but it seemed to me the book dragged on and on and there weren’t any surprises at the end. (I pretty much had figured out the way it was all going to come down only a third way in.) That being said, I applaud anyone who can successfully write a novel and thought I shouldn’t give up on the author. Gone Girl just wasn’t my cup of tea. If you haven’t read it or seen the movie, basically, a wife disappears and it looks like the husband was behind the whole thing but the woman was really just trying to get revenge on the husband and make herself famous and put her husband behind bars. The husband figures it out as he knows his innocence and his wife. Okay, no more spoiler-alerts if you haven’t read it. I had heard many people rave about the story, book and movie but it just didn’t grab me.

Impressed with Ms. Flynn’s website, if not her writing, I thought I’d give her another try and picked up The Grownup. It was a short book and I thought that would solve the on-and-on problem of Gone Girl. To be truthful, I couldn’t put it down and was disappointed it was so short. In Grown-ups, I thought I had the ending all figured out and BAM, Gillian Flynn right hooks and the end takes a little twist that left my mouth agape. This read was about a young woman trying to make it as a physic and one specific client. The client has a creepy step-son that gives the plot many twists. After finishing this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and went back to see what else Ms. Flynn had published.

So it’s sounding like I’m just a picky reader, right? The first one too long, the second one too short… Goldie-locks of book reading, good grief. The third book I picked up from this author was Dark Places. Like with the blonde kid and the three bears, this one was just right. Each chapter I changed my mind on how I thought the author would conclude the story and I was still wrong. This book left me on the edge of my seat and kept moving throughout so I didn’t get bored. It’s about a family that a horrific murder happened in their house where the mom and two of the sisters were killed. The youngest, seven at the time, testifies it was the older brother and he is convicted and goes to prison. Decades later, a group of inquiring minds called The Kill Club introduces the protagonist to alternate theories of her family’s deaths. She starts piecing the murders together and discovers the truth about what happened that night- (that’s all I’m saying, again, no spoilers.)
One of the great things about Gillian Flynn’s writings is the characters are believable and likable, even the ones you’re not supposed to like. I’m also impressed with the way she flips things when you are least expecting it, keeping the reader hooked. In my eyes, two of Gillian’s three books I’ve read entertained me and kept me wanting more so I’ll have to give her a huge thumb’s up and look forward to the next one of her novels. Sharp Objects anyone?

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Man-Crush Monday Handwriting Analysis; President Obama

Man Crush Monday Handwriting Analysis! Over the last seven and a half years, I’ve had a few recurring dreams where I’m having an affair with President Obama. Usually the dream involves me being sly, creeping along a hallway, not wanting to get caught, tip-toeing around the white house, reading a note he’s left me, or trying to sneak onto the Air Force One. On the rare occasion he makes a cameo appearance in these dreams, I think, ‘Wow, he’s so tall.’ or ‘Dang, I wish he could do a third term.’

I’m going to miss him and his lovely wife in the White House and know they will continue to do amazing things. Here’s my take on his handwriting. (I was able to look at quite a few samples as there is a site designated to his handwriting.) Oh, and I should mention, there are only a few things you CAN’T tell about a person by their writing, which hand they are using is one of those. For the record, President Obama is left-handed. (This is not completely unusual with Presidents; Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr. and Harry Truman were also lefties.)

President Obama’s slant is almost straight up and down, indicating a head-over-heart thinker. He demonstrates caution in his approach to dealings, weighs out his options, tends to ‘sleep on it’ before rushing into decisions. He was independent and forward thinking from a young age. There is determination, compassion, intelligence and great conversation skills shown in his writing. He also print-writes, a combination of cursive and printing. His shows he can be flexible, empathetic and friendly. He’s about service to others, he craves more responsibility and he has a great balance between work and play.

Signatures are the way we want to believe people view us, our writing is the real us. President Obama’s signature is slightly different than his writing. He may be a bit aloof in his home life, more goal-driven and focused in his professional world. His signature shows privacy yet a desire to stand out in public. His initials are proportionately larger than his writing. This is also something that is seen in many politicians, actors and musicians. (It’s related to their ego.) There is also that classic, ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me’ attitude shown in his signature specifically. And a lot of generosity is shown in his public image/signature.

The dishonesty that is revealed in his writing is ‘dishonesty by omission’, which is to say, he doesn’t lie, he just may leave out details or be clever in changing the subject and not answering at all. There are high moral standards, like being faithful and loyal (no love-affairs, dang it…) He also displays charm, charisma and poise. Thank you, President Obama, for a fabulous two-terms. (I had a hard time deciding which writing sample to steal from the web, there were many to choose from. I used this one in memory of the horrific massacre that happened yesterday in Orlando. ‘We remember, we rebuild, we comeback stronger’ let’s hope smarter too #endgunviolence )

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Here’s Hillary’s… Handwriting Analysis

This analysis, coming to you by popular demand.

I’ve got to give Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton one thing, she’s tenacious. Over the years, I’ve done many reviews of her handwriting and have noted some of the subtle changes throughout time. Specifically I’ve seen these changes in the center of her letter H. While she was the first lady, the shape in the center of the H was more of a triangle, it’s evolved into more of an oval now. This tells me Hillary has a softer side to her that may have come with nothing more glamorous than age.

Looking at anyone’s handwriting one must keep in mind, there is a good side and bad side to every letter and no one initial or letter is better than the other. A lot of other handwriting analysts believe Hillary uses Rodham to define her independence, but I think it’s more than that. I have a high belief in peoples’ initials and the energy that brings to a personality. There are five ‘power letters’ in the alphabet, they are the heads of groups of letters. (D,H,K,R,T) For example, the R is the leader of the creative letters. It’s a power letter, the C is not. The C is the letter of the feminine, it’s nice and soft and doesn’t really like the limelight. (Think of Hillary and Bill’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, a double dose of the soft C. Do we see her in the spotlight? Is she anything but pleasant and nice? No… Chelsea imbues the letter C.) Back to Hillary, of course she wanted to claim Bill when she married him but to give up a powerful, more masculine letter for the soft, simple letter C? I don’t see it. That is my opinion of why she still uses Rodham, it’s more her. Her R indicates she has great ideas, thinks, is intelligent.

Her letters have very little slant, she’s a weigh-out-your-options kind of gal. In fact, she may play the ‘what if’ game in her head, ‘if’ I did that, ‘what’ would happen. She’s also a worrier and may even make pros/cons lists as a visual aid for things. She’s adaptable, flexible and strong-willed. My guess is, she’s a hard person to get to know, a bit of a loner, but once you have her loyalty, she’s fiercely devoted. She has classic politician’s dishonesty that associates with pandering and dishonesty by omission, in other words, she can skate around the truth without actually telling lies. (All of this paragraph has been consistent in her writing in the last twenty years.)

Mrs. Clinton’s writing has been featured in many handwriting analysis’ books and articles and over time, has changed with her age, but her core values have remained. She’s open-minded, practical, has critical thinking skills as well as creativity. There is a suggestion she is goal-driven and has an appetite for more responsibility. The rest of this election is going to be mighty interesting. Thanks for reading.

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Senator Bernard Sander’s handwriting analysis

It was a true honor to have seen Senator Bernie Sanders speak in Albuquerque a few weeks ago. I can’t say I’m not disappointed, I am, but he was a long shot out of the gate, the underdog. And, life isn’t always full of Hollywood endings where the underdog comes from behind and kicks the wicked witches tail. I hope his message has been heard, that things begin to move in a different direction. I’m glad he’s in politics, I’m glad he’ll still stand as Senator of VT.  I wish him all the best, sincerely. So, let’s talk about his handwriting.

This writing is easy to analyze because its simple and consistent. Bernie Sander’s signature is as clear and straight forward as he is. My first impressions of his writing is that his slant is Palmer perfect, in other words, it’s exactly the slant that is taught in elementary school. This particular slant has been referred to as the ‘teacher’s slant’ as people whose writing leans forward slightly (about 2 o’clock on a clock) have the ability to get along with almost anyone. They can touch the very shy or connect with the very gregarious. Bernie Sander’s writing shows that plainly. He has high levels of empathy, and compassion. He is generous and kind.

He had good old fashion values, is no nonsense and not afraid to speak his mind. Optimistic and ideal driven, Bernie Sander’s writing shows he rules with his heart. There are high morals and honesty shown throughout. Average money/power drive. High intelligence is shown laced with a little stubbornness. That is, when he digs his heels in, be ready for a struggle.

His writing is a little boring which tells us he’s an average guy. He likes his privacy and can handle the spotlight. The signature and writing matches which lets us know with Bernie Sanders, what you see is what you get. I looked at everything online I could find that was his writing. It’s pretty consistent stuff. He’s an important player in the Senate and although it looks like the presidential nomination is going to slip by, I’m glad his message has gotten out there to this country. Thanks for reading.

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Handwriting analysis of my least favorite candidate

There are a thousand and one reasons I didn’t vote for Donald Trump today, many of them can be seen in his signature alone.

My knee jerk reaction… He’s motivated by sex, power and money. He’s intense and egotistical and completely lacks empathy. Oh wait, did I get that from his television campaign? Nope, his signature. As we know, cursive writing is a combination of curves and angles but sometimes, one favors the other, like with Trump’s. His favors the angular completely. A person without curves and softness is linear, analytical, driven and focused, and that’s his public face.

Harsh angles imply critical thinking and sharpness, Donald Trump’s penmanship shows someone determined, competitive, challenged, angry and fearful as well as someone that craves power, prestige and admiration. (Not to change the subject, but have you seen Hitler’s writing. Turn it sideways and compare it to The Donald’s. Odd, huh?) Donald Trump does have some of the qualities for leadership, let’s face it; he consistently lands on his feet. He’s been bankrupt more than once, in the limelight, and on the front pages of the tabloids and still has the money, power and enough narcissism to want to run for President of the United States. Yes, that can all be seen in his writing. He’s created his own world, one in which, he is the bully and proud of it. The low maturity level is also shown in his writing, his rash and snap decision making process and argumentative nature.

Let’s also look at the moral compass. Most politicians have some kind of dishonesty in their signatures. Usually they show the dishonesty sign that relates to pandering, in other words, they will tell one audience one thing and another audience the exact opposite. Donald Trump has that trait. He isn’t above deception to get his way either. Being secretive and exaggeration is also shown in the dishonesty categories of Donald’s writing. (He shares those last few traits with GeorgeW.) It should also be noted his writing is completely different than his signature, that’s an indication of a person who acts/speaks differently in public than in private. His private writing (not signature) also shows low IQ and a person that needs the approval of others.

Being a professional handwriting analyst, I analyzed his writing and reported just the facts as I see them. I’m basing my analysis on just one signature and one piece of writing, they were both pictures from the internet, not originals. I have my own personal reasons why I do not support this presidential candidate. One has to ask themselves does he have any political experience to be president? Our country isn’t a business built for profit of a chosen few. There’s no reality show, no bankruptcy or con-college, it’s our country. What Donald Trump’s signature lacks is class, poise, self-control, as well as, charm and grace. He would not make a very good leader for this country.

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My first book review

The Magic Strings of Frankie Pesto by Mitch Albom

Magical indeed. This has been my favorite book of 2016 (although it came out the end of ’15). If you’ve never read Mitch Albom, this is the perfect book to start with. If you have read Mr. Albom’s work than you know the captivating tale in which to expect, every time. (Side note, Mitch Albom is one of my all time favorite authors due to the dependability of his work. Although sometimes he gets a little too into the religious realm for my tastes, his writing is consistently moving me to an emotional state. That’s entertainment. And who knew? He’s also a musician.)

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, the audio was enchanting. The guest narrators, superb. The scenes are set up like a media interview at our hero’s funeral, clever. Throughout it, I thought, did this guy really exist? This Frankie Presto guy, how did I miss him? How did my dad not discover him? And then I chided myself, it’s fiction geez! As a compliment to the author, I was so caught up in this story I believed it. Frankie’s life repaints musical history that actually happened during my lifetime. It was educational and evoking.

The book is about a musician, a great musician, who like so many others out there, don’t realize just how great they are. This man’s life has harsh beginnings, challenges at each age, but molds and shapes him into the legend he becomes. It’s told from the point of view of Music (as in the talent, music) as well as many other musicians, promoters and trade professionals. In my opinion, Music is akin to a god, (he explains how all the talents are represented, babies grab the ones they grab). I love the way Albom brings this entity to life, the narrator does an excellent job at bringing the pompousness to the talent Music without overdoing it. As an author, I can appreciate the POV and the tone one must have to write from multiple perspectives, specifically one that isn’t really a person. This book pulls it off perfectly and adds to the realism of this fictional saga. The musical guests on the audio also lent a factual feel and had me completely caught up in Frankie Presto’s life (By the way, Paul Stanley, you nailed it!)

Bottom line, this book is a love story. A love of music, a love between a man and a woman and a discovery of a love for life. Highly recommend.