4 out of 4 stars
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In bicycling, burn zones are described as “relatively short periods of extraordinary effort that separated the winners and losers.” (pg. 4) Jorge Newbery accounts several burn zones of his lifetime in this memoir.
From a young age, Jorge yearned for success. At only seven years old, he took on a paper route despite the doubts of his peers. He delivered the papers every day after school and soon began a second route, delivering papers for a competitor. Jorge went on to deliver ice cream on a tricycle, work in a restaurant as a busboy and, inspired by The Clash, he started his own record company supporting punk bands, all before he was eighteen. From there, he went on to competitive bicycling and finally began work as a mortgage lender.
Living with his parents well into his twenties and having no bills to pay, Jorge was able to put a majority of his earnings in the bank and eventually invest it in real estate. All of his success eventually leads to failure, hardships, and the ultimate burn zone.
My favorite part of the story was in the beginning when Jorge held punk shows. He had a lot of bands from out of town who would save money by staying at his parents' house overnight. He referred to it as an unofficial punk hotel. In the morning, the punks would wake up asking where the best place for breakfast would be, and Jorge’s mom would happily oblige and make scrambled eggs and bacon for them. His mom commented about how the punks “look so tough, but they are so nice.” (pg. 28)
My least favorite part of the story was when Newbery began to describe processes of mortgages, real estate, and foreclosure. I found the terminology to be very technical and hard to follow. I understand why it was included, as it helped the reader fully understand what was happening; I just feel that it made a few parts of the story a bit dry.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an inspiring memoir. I was not only inspired by Newbery’s ability to take on (and overcome) challenges, but I was also inspired by his father. Jorge’s dad was diagnosed with cancer later in life. He surpassed his prognosis and traveled, walked and trained despite the doctor’s orders. I think this book was well edited, with only a few minor errors. Overall, this was an excellent read, and I rate Burn Zones 4 out of 4 stars.
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