Review by raluca_mihaila -- The Not So Great American Novel

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raluca_mihaila
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Review by raluca_mihaila -- The Not So Great American Novel

Post by raluca_mihaila »

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Not So Great American Novel" by James E. Doucette.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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James E. Doucette started to write the book at his wife’s advice, as a memory recovery method, while he was struggling with cancer treatment. The author recalls his childhood on his grandfather’s farm in Maine, at the beginning of World War II. Then, his family moved to New York, and he had to adapt to a new lifestyle. Poverty taught him important survival skills; he was working to stay in school, and he learned to fend for himself. His parents were separated, and his mother worked hard to support the children, while his father, a war hero, succumbed to alcoholism. Doucette joined the U.S. Navy and then finished college; he had many jobs and moved a lot together with his wife and children. He finally started his own business in Texas together with his wife; after retirement, he bought a ranch, opening a new chapter in his life.

First of all, I appreciated the presentation of the book. The editing was exceptional, and the real pictures of the family added authenticity to the story. Also, the memoir has a lot of lessons extracted after different experiences. The author warns that looks can be deceiving and addiction can be inherited. Also, it is essential to have a dream in life and be thankful for what you got. The writer believes in rehabilitation and talks about “the nobility of poverty”; you should respect people that work, no matter the job. I was very impressed when he remembered that he didn’t go to school because he couldn’t find his socks.

However, I must admit that I struggled to finish the book because it was not very engaging. The author felt the need to mention countless unnecessary names and mundane happenings. I appreciate the memory exercise, but that was not very interesting for the reader. The book started as a memoir, but then the author added self-development tips and focused a lot on the business. I felt like that melange didn’t bring any value; on the contrary, it diluted the main message.

The book is very educational about America after WWII, so people who lived at that time might find all the stories interesting. Of course, people who like memoirs will appreciate going on a trip down memory lane. But I don’t recommend the book people under 35 because there is a huge gap between generations. For instance, Doucette remembers that children entertained themselves by making up games using just a ball, and they were never bored. It is challenging to imagine that nowadays, with the internet and social media.

After careful consideration, I rate The Not So Great American Novel by James E. Doucette 2 out of 4 stars. I found it dull, and I couldn’t relate to his experiences, even if I appreciated the author’s struggles and accomplishments. It might be my fault, as I am from a different country, but I have also read some interesting educational books about America.

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The Not So Great American Novel
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Viczboy16
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Post by Viczboy16 »

a funny tittle but a nice review.
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raluca_mihaila
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Post by raluca_mihaila »

Viczboy16 wrote: ↑21 Jan 2021, 09:59 a funny tittle but a nice review.
I didn't quite understood the title myself :). Thank you for stopping by!
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Post by Chizioboli »

First glance got me thinking this book would discuss the current situation in America as regards politics and the pandemic. However, your review states otherwise. I am glad you could even finish if in as much as the content got boring and less engaging. Thank you for the wonderful review though
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raluca_mihaila
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Post by raluca_mihaila »

Chizioboli wrote: ↑21 Jan 2021, 13:06 First glance got me thinking this book would discuss the current situation in America as regards politics and the pandemic. However, your review states otherwise. I am glad you could even finish if in as much as the content got boring and less engaging. Thank you for the wonderful review though
The title is misleading, indeed. Thank you very much for your king feedback! I appreciate you stopping by.
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Post by Honest-reviewer »

It’s sad that the book is not engaging. But reading about the survival skills can be interesting. Thanks for your honest review!
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Post by Slater678 »

I appreciate James' memoir because of the reference to hard work and the promotion of the family. He seems to have been quite a dedicated man. Thanks for the wonderful review.
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raluca_mihaila
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Post by raluca_mihaila »

Honest-reviewer wrote: ↑22 Jan 2021, 01:40 It’s sad that the book is not engaging. But reading about the survival skills can be interesting. Thanks for your honest review!
Maybe other people would appreciate it more. Thank you for commenting!
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raluca_mihaila
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Post by raluca_mihaila »

Slater678 wrote: ↑22 Jan 2021, 02:16 I appreciate James' memoir because of the reference to hard work and the promotion of the family. He seems to have been quite a dedicated man. Thanks for the wonderful review.
He was hard working and dedicated, there is no doubt about that. Thank you for stopping by!
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Post by Tarilan »

The title makes the reader want to know what isn't great in the novel. Its a shame to know that it wasn't as great as I hoped. Thanks for the honest review.
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raluca_mihaila
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Post by raluca_mihaila »

Tarilan wrote: ↑22 Jan 2021, 08:21 The title makes the reader want to know what isn't great in the novel. Its a shame to know that it wasn't as great as I hoped. Thanks for the honest review.
I am sorry to disappoint, but I appreciate your feedback and visit!
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Post by Prisallen »

I don't mind reading memoirs if they are interesting and something I can relate to. I probably could relate more to this than you as I am older and from America. However, because it could have been more interesting, I think I will pass. Thanks for a well-written and informative review!
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raluca_mihaila
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Post by raluca_mihaila »

Prisallen wrote: ↑22 Jan 2021, 11:16 I don't mind reading memoirs if they are interesting and something I can relate to. I probably could relate more to this than you as I am older and from America. However, because it could have been more interesting, I think I will pass. Thanks for a well-written and informative review!
Thank you for commenting! In my opinion, an interesting book appeals to all kinds of people, noy only from a specific target group. Hence the low rating.
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Post by kandscreeley »

Memoirs aren't really my thing. That said, I do appreciate the pictures. It helps the reader to engage in the story. Thanks.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
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raluca_mihaila
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Post by raluca_mihaila »

kandscreeley wrote: ↑22 Jan 2021, 18:03 Memoirs aren't really my thing. That said, I do appreciate the pictures. It helps the reader to engage in the story. Thanks.
It seems that they are not my thing, either. Thank you for your comment!
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