Review by Legendary Lisa -- The Sword Swallower and a Ch...

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Legendary Lisa
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Latest Review: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson

Review by Legendary Lisa -- The Sword Swallower and a Ch...

Post by Legendary Lisa » 26 Apr 2018, 00:33

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Let me preface my review by telling the reader that I am a methamphetamine addict and alcoholic in recovery now for 10 years. My past struggles, to deal with living life in a "sane" manner, color many of my thoughts and opinions. As I began reading The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson, I wondered how a sideshow sword swallower and a kid from Chico, California would have ever had a chance to meet. I also had a preconceived notion that sword swallowing was some sort of illusion or parlor trick and that was why it would be part of a sideshow. I took a few minutes to look at what was said about sword swallowing on Wikipedia and found that although there are different techniques performed by individual artists--they really do swallow swords!

In fact, that is how they met. Duke Reynolds was at the local bar in Chico doing an act for the patrons. He was no longer able to swallow swords at that point due to an earlier accident. The act was comedic and also offered some other feats that might have been seen in a circus sideshow. Gary Robinson, the Chico Kid was there at Duffy's that night and was fascinated by Duke's act.

When they formed their unlikely friendship, Duke was near the end of his life and Gary had only been out of college for a short time. Gary was at a low point in his life. He had lost his job and felt like his future was bleak. His negative life results were caused by overindulgence in alcohol. Duke had lived a long and somewhat lonely life. He considered all the circus folks he had been around for years to be like family. He seemed to regret that he had never married. Duke told Gary that if he wanted to marry and have a family, then he was going to have to stop drinking alcohol. Duke believed that if a man was an alcoholic that he would also be a single man. Duke had also spent 5 years in prison where he may have experienced some recovery groups or at least spent some time around other men in recovery. Duke was able to give up alcohol but continued to snort methamphetamine until his last days, a total of over 40 years.

The pair got to know each other well and became close. They talked about religion, family, morality, what became known as their medicine and what each wanted for his life. Unfortunately, the kid from Chico also developed a habit for methamphetamine.

The book is about their lives and the struggles each endured. It is a story of redemption and change for Gary. I enjoyed reading this book very much and give it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. It is well-written and edited. It is a work of fiction but it reads like a biography. I liked that I read about the sword swallower, then about the Chico Kid, then about their shared story. It made sense to me that the part about the sword swallower was written using third person perspective and the other parts were written in first person as the story is told by the Chico Kid, who is also the author. I feel like the story is appropriate for most adult readers but they must consider whether reading about drug use might cause a triggering effect.

******
The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid
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Obelix
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Post by Obelix » 03 May 2018, 07:36

I like this book when Duke told Gary that if he wanted to marry and have a family, then he was going to have to stop drinking alcohol. Duke believed that if a man was an alcoholic that he would also be a single man. Duke had also spent 5 years in prison where he may have experienced some recovery groups or at least spent some time around other men in recovery.

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Post by Bookmermaid » 09 May 2018, 04:05

I certainly enjoyed your review. Within it, you addressed what might be the typical suspicion of most readers and viewers of sword swallowing; that it is a type of trick. I haven't yet taken the time to research the skill of sword swallowing' but I was certainly convinced that it was a type of magic trick in which the sword probably contracts on entering the person's mouth. Your shared research has helped to peel away some of the suspicions. I agree with your review that it is well edited and virtually error-free.

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Post by Ever_Reading » 09 May 2018, 09:06

Thank you very much for not only reviewing the book but for sharing a little bit of yourself with us as well. I haven't yet read the book but your review has me sold. I am definitely adding the book to my "to read" list!

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Post by isa3030 » 13 May 2018, 07:59

a provoking tale of success,laughter,alcoholism and addiction,victim of drug abuse and substance misuse conffesses suffering,a fantastic work criticaly reviewed leaving readers with option of choices.thanks OnlineBookClub.org

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Post by kfwilson6 » 13 May 2018, 11:22

Bookmermaid wrote:
09 May 2018, 04:05
I certainly enjoyed your review. Within it, you addressed what might be the typical suspicion of most readers and viewers of sword swallowing; that it is a type of trick. I haven't yet taken the time to research the skill of sword swallowing' but I was certainly convinced that it was a type of magic trick in which the sword probably contracts on entering the person's mouth. Your shared research has helped to peel away some of the suspicions. I agree with your review that it is well edited and virtually error-free.
Prior to reading this book I was very skeptical that sword swallowing wasn't just a trick. Once I read the portions about Duke where he describes his initial training session and how he moves his heart forward, I started to believe it really is done. In the book of the month discussion a few people explain this further. The explanations are pretty good and convincing.

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Post by martins11 » 13 May 2018, 16:56

Nice book and well detailed

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Post by Bookmermaid » 13 May 2018, 20:03

According to Wikipedia: The performer must first lean the head back, hyper-extending the neck, and relax the upper esophageal sphincter (a generally involuntary muscle that contracts the top of the esophagus). Retching must be controlled while the sword, lubricated by saliva, is inserted through the mouth and past the pharynx.

Once past the pharynx and sphincter the sword passes swiftly, assisted by gravity, straightening the flexible esophagus. The stomach, at an angle to the esophagus, is brought into line as the sword enters through the cardiac opening.

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Post by 420waystoreachthesun » 13 May 2018, 20:24

This is a really scary thing, but thank you for your wonderful review.

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Post by sanjus » 22 May 2018, 10:54

sword sallowing sounds very shrilling indeed, thanks for your review to give some highlights about this book
life is only knowing the unknown, we can do this by reading books easily

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Post by khusnick » 23 May 2018, 04:21

I don't think I could stomach reading about sword swallowing, but your perspective in this review was great.

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Post by chidubem1 » 27 May 2018, 18:42

It really amazed me how one can swallow a sword, though the story was a finction, it highlight the need to abstain oneself from undue alcoholism. The book sounds wonderful

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Post by daiguerra » 01 Jun 2018, 08:00

Thank you for including a little bit about yourself and how that perspective informed your reading. I think it is always a different reading experience when the characters share some life aspects with the person who is reading the book.

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