Review by Tiny_Turtle -- The Sword Swallower and a Chico...

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Tiny_Turtle
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Review by Tiny_Turtle -- The Sword Swallower and a Chico...

Post by Tiny_Turtle » 05 Jun 2018, 11:22

[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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The Sword Swallower and a Chico Man by Gary Robinson is an entertaining and inspiring tale about two men from two different worlds who share a common outlook on life. Live in the moment. Don't look back. Don't worry about the future. That's the way to inner peace, right? The whole Zen "Be in the Now". For some it is. For others it is a slow and steady climb to a place where you are all alone. Where the next step leads to a scary fall.

No matter how many miles between them, Duke Reynolds always returned to the oddball "sideshow freaks" who originally took him under their wing. He had a few close friends scattered across the country, but the circus was family.

He first became entranced by the excitement and adrenaline of the circus train as it rolled into town. At age 15, he did what a lot of little boys of that era dreamed to do. He ran away and joined the circus. Never looking back.

But all that glitters is not gold. Duke loves his new life, but over the years something inside of him changes. He begins to struggle with his popularity, using drugs and alcohol to deal with it. How can he get back to the magic, the thrill of the performance? How can he get back to feeling alive?

Gary Robinson was an intelligent, popular high school student, who graduated valedictorian. Yet, he wrote a very dark speech where he quotes Charles Bukowski, "There will always be something to ruin our lives..." His was a dark and troubled soul. Fueled by the beginnings of alcoholism from the young age of 15. It was difficult for him to form lasting relationships. More than once he refers to "this" being the last time he would see someone.

The drinking and partying carried into college. On graduation day, he and his college buddies ditch graduation and head to Chico, California. Once there, they join right in to the festivities of Pioneer Days, partying for three solid days. When the party's over and it's time to leave, Gary decides to stay. As he wanders in and out of the streets, and in and out of jobs, it seems he just can't stay out of the limelight. Once again, Everybody Knows Gary. Once again, he's Popular for Dumb Stunts. He seems to just have a knack for being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, making bad judgement calls. Drifting thru life with no purpose. Letting the chips fall where they may.

When Duke and Gary first met, Gary thought he had reached the proverbial rock bottom. Duke looked him in the eye and told him he was right. There was no place to go but up. Thus begins a friendship filled with meaningful companionship, and deep philosophical conversations. What would Gary do with his new found wisdom? Would Duke's influence make a lasting impression? Or would he return to his same, old self-destructive ways?

There were very few editing errors, and not so many as to interrupt the enjoyment of the read. Honestly, I didn't know I would be doing a review the first time I read it. That time was purely for pleasure. The story was so enjoyable that my normal editing pet peeves didn't jump out at me. I barely noticed them. I had to do a special read focused on finding them just for the purpose of this review.

I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is highly entertaining, suspenseful, funny, a little sad at times, and there's some life lessons in there that sneak up on you. It was easy to read. I will read it again one day. I could not find anything that I did not like about it. I encourage you to read this if you are looking for something that will inspire you and fill you with hope, while occasionally causing you to glance around to see if anyone noticed the tear that just sneaked out your eye.

I recommend this for more mature readers due to some of the adult situations, extensive drug and alcohol use, graphic scenes and language. Nothing too harsh for adults, but not for children or teenagers.

******
The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid
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teacherjh
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Post by teacherjh » 09 Jun 2018, 17:06

You have a way with words. I love your first paragraph.

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Tiny_Turtle
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Post by Tiny_Turtle » 10 Jun 2018, 00:00

teacherjh wrote:
09 Jun 2018, 17:06
You have a way with words. I love your first paragraph.
Thank you teacherjh 😌

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Post by Helen_Combe » 17 Jun 2018, 14:48

Great review, I like books that take you on a personal journey through people’s lives.
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Post by Cotwani » 18 Jun 2018, 18:57

I love your review, very captivating! I guess it's true what they say - one man's meat is another man's poison. I did not enjoy the book!
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Tiny_Turtle
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Post by Tiny_Turtle » 21 Jun 2018, 22:16

Helen_Combe wrote:
17 Jun 2018, 14:48
Great review, I like books that take you on a personal journey through people’s lives.
What I like about these types of stories is how you can see that deep down we are all basically the same. Well, most of us anyway 😌. There are a few that are really waayyy out there. But, for the most part we all want the same thing. To love and be loved. To be accepted for who we really are.

Thank you for your comment.

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Tiny_Turtle
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Post by Tiny_Turtle » 21 Jun 2018, 22:42

Cotwani wrote:
18 Jun 2018, 18:57
I love your review, very captivating! I guess it's true what they say - one man's meat is another man's poison. I did not enjoy the book!
I think it's kinda nice that we don't all have the same likes and dislikes. My sister and I totally disagree on horror movies. She loves them. I freak out. I can barely look at the DVD covers :hand: lol

To be honest, when I decided to do the review, I thought it might be a so-so read. I took it on more as a challenge than anything.

Somewhere along the line, I started to care a little bit. I mean, even though he said he made up the exact storyline about Duke, he also said that he based the story on a friend he truly cared about. That just stuck with me. It's possible that if it would have been "straight" fiction, I might have had a different reaction. Hard to say 😌.

Thank you for taking the time to read, and comment on, my review. I appreciate your kind compliment 💕

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Post by kfwilson6 » 05 Jul 2018, 11:23

The first paragraph of a review will pretty much determine how I feel about the rest of the review. You really captured my interest with your intro and held it throughout. I like the way you described this book. Sometimes I'm glad when I choose NOT to review a book because the summary can be a struggle. You did a great job of it.

There is something that I have to pay very close attention to in my reviews, and I hope you don't mind my pointing it out as I forgot to mention it in my other post to you about a checklist. I am horrible about shifting between present and past tense when describing the events in the book. Make sure to stick to one or the other :)

I look forward to your next review. Side note: I love your profile picture.

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Post by Tiny_Turtle » 05 Jul 2018, 13:38

kfwilson6 wrote:
05 Jul 2018, 11:23
The first paragraph of a review will pretty much determine how I feel about the rest of the review. You really captured my interest with your intro and held it throughout. I like the way you described this book. Sometimes I'm glad when I choose NOT to review a book because the summary can be a struggle. You did a great job of it.

There is something that I have to pay very close attention to in my reviews, and I hope you don't mind my pointing it out as I forgot to mention it in my other post to you about a checklist. I am horrible about shifting between present and past tense when describing the events in the book. Make sure to stick to one or the other :)

I look forward to your next review. Side note: I love your profile picture.
Thank you for your compliments, but more especially for your advice. It's interesting that you pointed out the switching back and forth between tenses. I noticed was doing that in the review I am working on now. I'll have to keep an eye on that.

Isn't that little turtle just cute. I chose my name because my cousin is always calling me Turtle. I'm not really slow, I just take my time....lol
When I went to find an avatar, I Googled "tiny turtle reading books", and there it was. Looking all adorable. I just had to have it.

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. 💕

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Post by AmySmiles » 06 Jul 2018, 11:16

Very good first review! I hope you are enjoying the process so far. This is a book I was not very interested in, but I'm glad you were able to enjoy it. Looking forward to reading your future reviews!
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Tiny_Turtle
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Post by Tiny_Turtle » 14 Jul 2018, 14:56

AmySmiles wrote:
06 Jul 2018, 11:16
Very good first review! I hope you are enjoying the process so far. This is a book I was not very interested in, but I'm glad you were able to enjoy it. Looking forward to reading your future reviews!
Thank you for your comments. I am enjoying myself. Everyday, I'm finding new books to read that I may never been exposed to if it wasn't for being here. The Sword Swallower and the Chico Kid is one I probably would have never looked at, if it had not been BOTM.

I just finished my second review. Just waiting to hear back from the moderators. This reminds me of waiting for a term paper to get graded. lol 💕

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