3 out of 4 stars
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It is not that Jorge has a problem with authority, he just knows when he is capable of doing much, much more than expected. In this autobiography spanning from the mid-20th century to near present day, we explore the life of a first-generation American seeking to find his place in life and to better discover the “magic bullet” to success. Through the first jobs of a young summer student to the professional sports arena, we are taken on a journey around the United States as we explore the life of our author.
Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is a modern-day depiction of a collision between the American Dream and a creative, relentless work ethic. Author Jorge “Jorgie” Newberry speaks to a common lesson taught in athletics, and in life, in which we have to be patient with our failures, reflect on our losses, and recognize that moving forward doesn’t start from sitting at the top of the leaderboard. Seeing the world through his eyes enables readers to remember the childlike perspective of a faultless world and the power the individual has to overturn the odds, the expectations, and forge an otherwise unexpected path when the pressure is on. Don’t be fooled, as the title suggests, the author describes his exploration of life and the general world he lives in. He does not shy away from discussing injustice, travesty, and disadvantage faced by Americans throughout history and today.
Newberry takes us through his own life and memories by providing a unique twist on the development of success. His creative takes on childhood and adult business, all while defying the opinions of bosses and managers alike, will remind many of us of the dreams we may have had as children. Each of one of his stories relates to a cycling term known as a ‘burn zone” – a moment of action and response in a race, life, or business.
If you’re looking for a fluid memoir with humor, highs, and lows, this is a great any season read for you. I recommend this book for anyone 16 years or older looking to explore the possibilities and consequences of choices, relationships, and the overall quality of humanity. The clear and concise storytelling reveals the author’s dedication to authenticity and integrity in his work. Whether you’re a beginning of the day, or right before bed reader, this book can entertain the mind and the spirit. However, while we get a taste of the authors life and experiences, he leaves many a gap between how he navigated transitions in his life. Though he focuses on a specific set of challenges later in life, a reader could easily get lost and confused about long stretches that the author does not include.
Amidst the vivid memories presented by the author, I give Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands a 3 out of 4-star rating. It was an entertaining and insightful read, but the bigger picture left me seeking a better understanding of more common and relatable “bad hands” as mentioned in the title. While I recognize that this is NOT a self-help story or book, Newberry’s memories are clearly detailed towards illuminating responses to good and bad moments of life. But don’t let this keep you from enjoying exploring an error-free and well-written novel. It was a light and easy-going story that I could pick up again in the future.
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