This one took me off guard in the best way possible. What starts off as an enjoyable ramble about a Boston area father and son mountain bike trek through the hills of Tuscany to the town of their patriarchal homeland becomes so much more upon their arrival in San Donato. It is not just the reader's growing emotional stake in the lives of the two main protagonists (narrator and father), but the history of that small town and its role in protecting the lives of Jews during WWII is both remarkable and truly touching. And if that doesn't put the tear in your eye, Cocuzzo's artful, auto-biographical tale of family, heredity and father and son, multi-generational bonds will do it for sure. Highly recommended. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine
If it matters: this was my first foray into the "Horror" genre. (That's the dept we file it in.) And to be sure, there was, ultimately, quite some gruesome passages in here. Overall, though, I was impressed with the scientific reality brought to bear by Brooks on this unprecedented display of Big Foot aggression chronicled in 1st hand journal form. Very astutely, he brings existing knowledge and observations from the fields of zoology and, most specifically, primatology into sharp focus in analyzing this post-volcanic Big Foot ape attack on the ultra-eco conscious mountain community of Green Loop.
Did you think that big hairy ape was our friend? Think again. And if you do come across a Sasquatch in the woods and must take a video, do it while running for your life; please, I beg of you. The image will have a lot of blur and vibration to it, but we're all used to that. Just run. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine
In the midst of the pandemic, I've heard that people have been turning to “the classics” for solace. So it was for me that when this book came across my desk, it was obvious that a book about one of the all time classics was just what I needed . I have read several works on Hendrix but Jas Obrecht's approach is perhaps the most astute. Focusing on Jimi's nine month launch into superstardom in London from '66 to '67 shines a light on one of the most remarkable periods in rock history, when a 23 year old Hendrix went from unknown fledgling with a handful of supportive friends to writing the mind-numbing array of material- while in London- for his debut album that would turn the rock/guitar/social order on its head. These were Jimi's true “supernovic” moments and his unique soul and creative genius as well as the horrible racism encountered are all brought to life here vividly. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine
More than an ode to the culture, geography, botany and lore of the Hawiian people and islands (although it does very much achieve that, so eloquently and beautifully), Washburn's novel is a microcosmic look at what it is to be an economically deprived family in a steam-rollered minority culture. All three of the Flores children struggle to find their place in the world, in and beyond the islands; older brother Dean and younger sister Kaui are more specifically taxed with finding their own way to distinguish themselves from middle child, Nainoa, the chosen one, the healer, the gifted one, the cursed.
There is both magic and suffering here, just as there are on the islands of Hawaii. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine
It would be easy to be distracted by the bright flames of smoldering kids and miss the true brilliance of what Wilson accomplishes here. Through the creation and very existence of the fire children whose influence is felt nearly throughout, Wilson draws us through significant reflections on wealth and privilege, family and dysfunction, love and loyalty and abject disregard for familial ties. His narrator, Lillian, burns brightest of all, with nary a flame to her name. Slighted by parentage and cruel twists of fate, she nevertheless forges on with a reckless but burgeoning heart, simmering with love of all kinds that she ultimately cannot suppress. If I was even a tad more impressed with it all, I might very well burst into flames myself. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine