4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Burn Zones by Jorge P. Newbery is a biography in which the author talks about the struggles he has faced throughout his career and in his personal life. We first meet the author’s family and we get a glimpse into his childhood, while he recollects his early days into the business world, as a paperboy. We enter, through this lecture, a very warm and relaxed family, that supports their children in all the ways possible and shows inclusivity to anyone that comes their way. Because of his Hispanic descent, Jorge P. Newbery felt marginalized and found comfort, in his teenage years, in the all-inclusive punk world. He also felt close to his African-American neighbors and uses their story to open up a conversation about segregation and white America. The story gets a dark turn towards the end of the first chapter when we read about his friends starting to die and we bear witness, yet again, to the police brutality that the author has faced throughout his teens.
I loved reading about the bike racing world, about the struggles and the mentality of being inexperienced in something and continuing to get better through hard work and dedication. I could feel the excitement in the eventful bike competitions, the lecture inducing a veritable adrenaline rush while describing the struggles of getting closer to the finish line. Mr. Newbery has taken lessons from his bike racing days and he has applied them in all the aspects of his life. We can see his determination to succeed in the projects he decides to take on: from delivering the newspapers to selling ice creams, hosting concerts, racing bikes or becoming the best loan officer in the company he is working for, his goals have always been clear and he never shied away from work and struggle.
The reader gets to see how a career is built step by step. We can leave this book with knowledge about working with clients, what hard work entitles and how to sacrifice the little distractions in life for a bigger goal. We are all witnessing the American dream. The author has true clarity regarding his weaknesses and issues, being incredibly forward when talking about the mistakes he has made along the way. He also considers himself to be an underdog, and no matter how high he rose in his career, he always kept his eyes open for the less fortunate. While talking about the many great, yet underappreciated people he has met through his work, the author takes again the opportunity to deliver a complex analysis of the deep-rooted beliefs that drive racism.
A big turning point in Jorge P. Newbery’s story is represented by his sudden financial decline. He built the American dream and when he felt like nothing could go wrong, he received a harsh wake-up call and he was brought back to the raw, unfiltered reality. After learning about the author’s financial losses, the readers receive valuable advice from someone that understands the reality of dealing with debt, both on social and personal levels.
I did not expect, during the first pages of Burn Zones, to enjoy the book as much as I did. I could not connect to the author’s younger self, mainly because he came across as fairly arrogant. The sole nature of biographic books seems to come from a superior perspective: one must feel special in some way to decide to write a book about oneself. Another criticism I might have in regards to this particular lecture might be the idea it perpetuates during the first chapters: that anyone can reach immense success by simply working hard enough. I find this theory to have the opposite effect than intended, creating feelings of frustration and sadness for the people that do not have the same opportunities or circumstances as the author. Fortunately, Jorge P. Newbery later corrects all of the previous ideas with his recollection of how it felt to lose everything without any fault of his own. The book becomes a great moral ally for anyone struggling with financial issues.
Reading about the author’s wedding brought up many emotions and even some tears. He is describing in detail what seems to be the most important day in his life and we can all acknowledge that he has reached, through his relationship with his beautiful wife, a rare achievement: being happily married. Who would have thought a book about financial freedom could turn out to be such a beautiful love story?
Even though I did not think much of the book at the beginning, I lost track of time towards the end. The lecture captivated me completely and I became attached to all of the people depicted in it. The author’s family showed kindness and warmth from his childhood years well into the present day and their views on life are deeply rooted in who he has become. More than a businessman, Jorge P. Newbery is a real social justice warrior, highlighting in his book both racial and financial issues that are a sad reality in today’s world. My heart broke reading about the laws outlawing interracial marriage in America’s history. I can honestly say that I share the author’s utopian hopes for a better world.
I rate this well-edited book 4 out of 4 stars and I would recommend it to anyone interested in reading about a very interesting life story, but most of all, to those in debt, for I think it can provide great comfort and a veritable feeling of camaraderie. In the end, what I take with me from this book is that we all have our big struggles in life, our own Woodland Meadows, as the author would put it, but we all end up where we are supposed to be and more often than not, we become better people through these horrific experiences.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon