4 out of 4 stars
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Jorge P. Newbery started working as a newspaper boy when he was just seven years old. By the time he was sixteen, he had left school to pursue a business in records. Gradually, he built his way up in the world, taking jobs at every opportunity. He was an ice-cream seller, a busboy, and a mortgage seller, just to say a few. By the early 2000s, he was earning millions. However, by 2004 his luck took a turn for the worse. At the time, he was managing a large building that housed a multitude of people. One night a natural disaster struck. An ice storm damaged the property severely. The consequence of this was a debt of 26 million dollars. Thus he entered his worst burn zone.
This book is best suited for adult readers who enjoy non-fiction and autobiographies. It is a very inspirational read. I most enjoyed the accounts of the author's childhood as it aids the reader in understanding the author's personality and traits.
The writing style throughout the book is engaging and informative. The language is varied and, the grammar and punctuation are to a high standard. It seems the book is professionally edited and formatted. Each chapter has a purpose, which is generally to highlight important moments and turning points in the author's life. These chapters contain lots of fascinating stories from the author's childhood and, the pace of the writing is continually flowing, so there is rarely a dull moment in reading. However, the beginning of the book is more gripping than the latter. The beginning is more interesting because of the childhood stories and the number of them. The reader is hopping from one memory to the next. The latter part of the book is more towards the present day and, because the author seems to be haunted by the disaster in 2004, he spends a lot of time writing about it.
The author is half Hispanic, and his parents are a mixed-race marriage. Because of the author's heritage, he has been, all his life, more aware of the racism that still exists to this day. Growing up, he saw many African-American friends in and out of jail for very little reasons. The author repeatedly saw police using extreme force on African-Americans and, according to him, as many as two are killed a week by police. This theme of racism through the book is alarming because people believe that it isn't such a problem anymore. It is the twenty-first century, after all. The author does a commendable job of getting the reader to think and question the world around them. Similarly, the issue of being bullied, even in the adult world, could be an issue not previously considered. When Jorge P. Newbery fell into financial trouble, the police, newspapers and, prominent city officials slandered his name and outcast him. Not only is this behavior unprofessional but cruel. The author uses his experiences to emphasize that the people in power often, not always, control and belittle those below them.
Burn Zones is an inspirational read. It focuses heavily on getting through the tough moments in life and coming out victorious. These constant reminders through the book stay with the reader after finishing that last page. By using his own experience, the author helps the reader to understand that even at your lowest point, you can still get back up.
I rate this book a 4 out of 4 because it is very well written and is incredibly interesting. It is thought-provoking and helps raise awareness of issues that could be surrounding us. The story of Jorge P. Newbery demonstrates how determination and endurance can get you through even the hardest of times.
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