4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
I would be the first to say that memoirs are not something I typically read. However, after reading Burn Zones by Jorge P. Newbery, that might not be true anymore. I decided to read this one to expand my horizons, and I was most impressed. It started with Newbery’s childhood. At age seven, he began to deliver newspapers on his bike. Soon, he progressed to selling ice cream, his first business adventure. Newbery also dropped out of school at sixteen. He found formal education stifling and would rather spend his time working and learning through his work.
Later in life, after a brief stint as a bicycle racer, Newbery launched himself into the world of real estate. He specialized in buying run-down housing complexes and turning them into a welcoming place. He worked with the residents of the building and placed part of the responsibility for change into their hands.
My favorite part of this book was the writing style. Newbery maintained a conversational tone throughout the entire book. He also explained everything in detailed, but simple terms. As someone who has no idea how real estate works, I was never confused. He also focused on the human aspect of the building restoration rather than the physical, which made the narrative more impactful. The writing also moved along at a good pace. Since the book spanned most of Newbery’s life, a lot was covered, but I thought the pace, though brisk, was reasonable. It kept me interested and wasn’t overwhelmingly quick. It also appeared to be professionally edited.
The only thing I disliked about this book was the repetition of the idea of a burn zone. I understand that is the title of the book, and was a significant parallel to Newbery’s racing career, however it felt a bit overdone. Every time Newbery mentioned any trouble in his life, he would state it was a new burn zone. I feel like it was unnecessary. I think mentioning that idea a few times would have been sufficient.
Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I think it was a well-crafted memoir with a well-developed voice. Newbery has an interesting story, and he did an amazing job of conveying that to the reader. Readers of memoir would enjoy this book. I also think anyone interested in real estate or entrepreneurship would find the main ideas of it quite interesting.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon