Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The latest review of Sensitivity 101 for the Heterosexual Male

Here is the latest 5-star (yellow rose) review. This one from Fran Lewis.

Everyone wants to fit in with others their own age. Understanding the shortcomings and differences among people your own age and being accepted for who you are, even if you are not the most handsome or beautiful person on this planet, is difficult for any adolescent to handle.
As the author recounts and relates to the reader the story of his life and coming of age, we not only learn much about this interesting man but ourselves too. Entering the life and taking the journey along with Phil back in time everyone can learn the many lessons his grandmother taught him about people in general. Learning to handle simple situations, extending a hand of friendship and understanding and embracing the differences in people are just part of what our author wants to impart to the reader. Just being nice to someone new in your class or sharing a common interest or just saying hello, small gestures, kind words are often much more meaningful than you know. If everyone took heed of what is written in this thought provoking, mind stimulating and unique novel, we would have a definite recipe for world peace and understanding. Just think what would happen if everyone really heard and listen to the viewpoints of others and understood different points of view. What would happen if instead of poking fun at a new person in your class or someone that is different and does not dress the same as you, you went out of your way to compliment them on something they said or did, wouldn’t that be great?
Philip Nork saw life in a different way growing up. Close to his great-grandmother and losing her at a young age, he reverted back into himself and felt life and God had dealt him a bad hand. Teaching him to be sensitive and understanding of others and responding positively to their needs, desires and wishes would endear you to people and help you to develop lifelong friendships. Making it even more difficult was his parent’s divorce and becoming man of the house at eight years of age. This would make anyone grow up too fast.
The bond and connection he had with her truly helped to set the tone for the many relationships he would have with girls, women and people in the future. What I really love is the list that he developed over the years through each of his relationships that would help build his character, his strength and his ability to handle many situations as he grew to maturity. Respecting and understanding people and being sincere are the first things that his great-grandmother instilled in him.
The person that I was closest to growing up was my grandmother. She truly understood me and tried to make me feel special. Being overweight, not very pretty and shy, I stood in the background a lot at parties, family events and in school. I was smart and always got good grades but never felt comfortable answering questions and fostering friendships with people that I did not know. She taught me to accept myself for the kind and caring person that I was and hope I still am and that eventually everyone will learn to judge me not just for my outer appearance.
Every story that he tells about his early life and his encounters with girls endears you to him even more. The way each girl entered his life and taught him an important life lesson is heartwarming and enlightening. This book would make a great handbook or guide for every young person who feels out of place and not like everyone else. I could have used this book growing up.

Each girl offered him many life lessons in how to deal with his awkward appearance, being introverted and allowing his emotions to come forth. Phil learned a lot from so many and appreciated each and every friend that he made. While photographing the cheerleading team he enlisted the trust of these beautiful girls and was able to create pictures that told a story. How special!
Creating a list of all the things he learned from his Nana and these girls provides a valuable resource for anyone who wants to begin changing their outlook on life and learning to assimilate better with their peers. It’s the small things that people do and the kind words that definitely make a difference.

Phil developed more than one personality. He was shy and introverted in school and felt that he could disappear into his own skin and not be seen. At night or with friends such as Joyce, Cece and others, he first went to the skating rink with a group of lesbian girls and was treated in a unique and special way and his outer most personality came forth.
Always concerned about making girls and others feel special I began to feel that Phil was losing sight of himself and what would make him truly happy. Listening to others, caring for them and helping them to feel good is what these girls wanted from him in the long run, as there were no long lasting attachments. But, what did Phil need and what would Nana truly want for him? Would this life of experiencing intimacy with so many girls without any feelings for them be the right course or would she want something else. You would have to read the many chapters where you hear not only his words but also the inner most thoughts and desires of these girls to decide for yourself whether Phil was really himself or someone else all the time. Who was this mild mannered great guy who treated women special and made them feel whole? What about him?
One girl named Mary who set the train in motion. One girl named Kayla who accelerated it even more. One young man named Phil who spread himself quite thin to please so many girls because he thought they would feel special. A giant at the rink, at work and now becoming more known at school, but for what reasons other to please others and give them pleasure. Sometimes when we try to get noticed by others we lose sight of what our real purpose is in doing so.
As his story draws to a close the reader might wonder what would have happened if Nana did not die? What would have happened if so many of those he cared about remained in his life? What would have happened if his father were a constant in his life while growing up? What things would have happened differently or would he have remained an introvert and stay to himself young man with a soft heart, kind face and wonderful personality?
Roses make you feel special when given for the right reasons. Yellow means friendship and white means respect and much more. Never give a red rose unless you are sure you will only give it to the one person who rocks your world and will be with you forever.
Phil experiences many turning points in both his family and social lives. He comes full circle with many issues that young people are still facing today. Making a career of helping women to feel good and profiting from it did not turn him into the person he hoped to become. Many used him for their own self- gratification. Others pretended to befriend him for other reasons. Read this book and learn the lessons that Phil finally came to grasp at the end. Take the journey through life with him as he comes full circle from start to finish in his own search for his true identity.

As he drifts off to sleep and hears the voice of his Nana he is reminded of the joy, happiness and goodness he brought to others by being sensitive to their needs and wants, even if it was in an unorthodox manner. Keeping his faith in God, understanding and hearing his voice and remembering as he so aptly states: “ there is no such thing as an ending, only new beginnings.”

Author Phil Nork presents a straightforward, insightful, and heartwarming story of a young man who finally got it. Unselfish, caring and always putting the needs of others before his, Phil travels in a fast world of women seeking their own pleasures at the exclusion of his. As his Nana reminds him: Love, Respect and building a relationship with God has always been there for him.
This is a well written and informative novel will help adults, young teens and young adults learn the answers to many questions concerning these issues. Read the ending, hear his voice and read the last chapter as author Phil Nork lists his lessons in life that we can all learn and apply not just to relationships with the opposite sex, but in other real life situations too.

I never give stars when rating a book:
I give this book FIVE YELLOW ROSES SYMBOLIZING FRIENDSHIP and one more just from me. I would be honored to be your friend.

Fran Lewis Reviewer

Fran, thank you for taking the time read and review my book. I am glad you got so much out of it. It makes me feel justified in writing it. You have opened my eyes to another set of readers who may connect with it-those who feel left out for whatever reason.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Re-post from days gone by

I have been doing a lot of reviews lately for other authors, hoping to get some kind of reciprocation. So far, not too much has come my way. But I believe everything happens for a reason and most times good things happen to those who wait. Because I have been so busy reading, I haven't been writing. So this is a re-post from a few months ago. I hope you enjoy it.
In my book, "Sensitivity 101 for the Heterosexual Male...Lessons Learned from the Fairer Sex" I tell you about my "Happy Place" and how I found it after listening to my first girlfriend as we discussed some anxious moments that I encountered. She told me to close my eyes and picture the one place I always felt safe and comfortable at. It's been a long time since I visited that location...but had a chance last week to re-explore it.

I had just returned from a week long business trip and was dreading the work week coming up. My days are full of e-mails, phone calls, and social media (both work and personal). I sometimes long for the days before "technology"...the days when you could actually get lost and no one could find you. Long before answering machines, pagers, cell phones and e-mails life seemed so much simpler and much easier to live.
On Sunday morning I couldn't wake up...my throat was sore, my head was pounding, and I was way too congested. I knew I was sick and that it would only get worse with time. I used all the energy I could muster and went to my computer...I sent a quick e-mail to my work team saying that I was going to be out for a few days and that they would need to find other means of help if they needed it. Then I went to my facebook page and stated that I wasn't going to post for a few days. Finally, I did the impossible...I turned off my cell phone.
For the next few days, I couldn't get out of bed. I slept, I tossed and turned, and I found myself alternating between being way too hot and way too cold. I thought I was miserable.
On Thursday I felt better, but still not well enough to get out of bed. I lay on my bed looking for a sign that all would be better. That's when I fell asleep and ended up back at my "Happy Place." I "awoke" and felt the bright sunshine beating down on my face. The aromas from my past--hamburgers being grilled on an open campfire, the smell of freshly cut green grass, and the lingering scent coming from the seaweed that had washed upon the beach over night--all were present. I knew I was in Wisconsin at my great-grandparent's cottage which meant so much to me as I grew up. After what seemed to me like being there forever, just taking in the view of the lake from the hillside I was laying on, I suddenly awoke for real. I was in my own bed, but was feeling much better.
The next day I woke up bright and early feeling totally refreshed...but I wasn't done yet. I dreaded turning on my cell phone and listening to all the recorded voicemails. I could not believe that after 5 days there were no voicemails at all. I did have one text message from a phone number that I didn't recognize. It said, "Hope you feel better soon...we all need rest sometime." When I tried to call the number, it was disconnected.
Next, I turned on my computer to await the hundreds of e-mails that I assumed were awaiting my return from the dead. On my work system, which normally handled over 100 e-mails a day, I was surprised to say the least when there were only 12 e-mails. No one besides my team knew I was sick...and in fact all eight of my team members sent me the same message..."Relax, you have trained us well...we'll take care of everything."
I wondered what was happening...could this be a hidden sign for me to understand?
As I clicked onto my personal e-mail, again I was surprised when only 20 e-mails showed up (many days I get well over 20 spam e-mails a day alone.) I clicked on some of the "important" ones and found out that there were no important ones at all. I was dumbfounded, but not as confused as I was about to become. The last e-mail bore the name of a person I did not know, but I felt compelled to open it. When I did, I read "Hope you feel better soon...we all need rest sometime." I attempted to reply to this e-mail, but was a little disappointed when I got a quick return saying that the e-mail address did not exist and could not be delivered.
I went to my facebook page to see many of my friends leaving me notes of encouragement and the hopes that my sickness would disappear quickly.
I went back to my bed to ponder what all this meant. This is what I came up...tell me your opinions of it, please!
In this world that moves way too fast sometimes, one where people feel much more important than they really are, and the feeling of not having anytime alone to themselves anymore, I was able to find out that all this is false. The world DOES move fast, but you control just how fast. I am no more important than anyone else in this world, and there is always time to go to your "Happy Place" if you make the effort.
I say in my book that God works in miraculous ways...and I believe this was His way of saying to me "Slow down and relax..." I don't know if God knows how to text message, or how to send e-mails, or can control how much others need you from time to time, but I do know He cares for all of us...and sometimes interacts with you to allow you to make the best of it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: Waiting For Spring

Here is another review from an author who swapped PDF's with me.

The feeling I have after reading “Waiting for Spring” by RJ Keller is one of hopefulness.

Immediately after meeting the main character, Tess, I had a feeling of connection with her. She is an ordinary middle-aged woman who has some baggage she carries around (like the rest of us) and some deep-seeded fears just waiting to come out.
From her mother she gets nothing but hatred…about messing up her plans for life, about Tess’s ill attempt at marriage and the decision she made about not wanting kids which results in her divorce and about a secret the two share, but never discuss.
From her father, who she believes never loved her mother, she gets nothing but excuses and ignored. She feels like he has given up on life and wants nothing more than for him to be happy again.
When Tess’s husband wakes up at thirty-five and decides he wants a family--the one thing Tess never wanted--(Or does she?) she runs away into the arms of another man, but only for one night. Unfortunately a divorce is imminent.
Tess moves on to a new town, but all of her “problems” follow her. And as she tries to start over more and more “problems”, some hers and some from the people she meets, continue to follow her. But they all disappear when she is having sex with Brian.
Although Brian and Tess are in love, old responsibilities and life get in the way. Neither is strong enough to forget and just live in the moment. Fear is the underlying factor that both must conquer. Fear that they are not perfect.
The internal struggle to be the best you can be is scattered all through the book. Fear and past decisions weigh heavy on every character. So much so that they aren’t living their own lives, they are living how others think they should. Sometimes we as humans keep things inside, deep down, away from others, hoping these demons will go away on their own. Most times they don’t, they just get buried deeper, making it even harder to relate to day to day occurrences. The same happens here.
Through it all Tess just wants to be accepted and loved and happy once again.
And she holds on for Spring to arrive, because winter means death (like the barren trees and lack of colors), while Spring brings new life and the colors that she loves, just like the best present she ever received as a child--a 72 pack of crayons with names of colors that she never heard of before.
The story is typical--hardship, love, broken love and starting over. The writing of RJ Keller is not. It is a well written, heart wrenching portrayal of a woman who knows she deserves more than the hand she was dealt. The inner thoughts of Tess are put into sentences, letting you understand what she is thinking, even as she is saying something completely different. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. This is just another example of an author, not well-known, who should be. The characters, the plot and the ending all make this a book well worth reading.