4 out of 4 stars
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How does one go from being a newspaper delivery boy to becoming a savvy real estate negotiatior? The answer is simple but albeit complicated: you become the most unrelenting person you could be. Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is an inspirational piece that narrates his life through all his job positions and achievements. Always emphasizing on the fact that whatever his job or mission was at the time, he would put all his eggs in his basket. The book mostly focuses on the moments of his life filled with difficult situations and challenges and how he always managed to overcome them. It is a story that cannot be considered only a memoir, because it is also an inspirational tale. Showcasing its main character always rising above hardships almost unscathed.
The main character, Jorge, has become a part of my personal hall of fame in terms of book characters. His reflective behaviour and his overachiever personality make him a very complex character. Sometimes you may find yourself not understanding why he acts a certain way, or wondering if he has an ulterior motive. But these thoughts do not arise from any flaws of the author during the writing process but rather the way Jorge is as a human. Undeterred, that is the first word that comes to mind when describing this character. The behavior he possesses and reading about how he has conducted himself in life during the years makes one want to bloom. He gives this valuable lesson throughout the book: we are given responsibility for our own destination, we need to step up and take it.
What I can consider to be my favorite part of the story is the crafting and care that is behind it. Every detail seems very well thought through and not randomly written. The secondary characters are never the center of attention yet their descriptions are so accurate that you feel you get to know them. And the way the author wrote the book makes one feel like you are reading a friend’s or relative’s story. It has a sense of familiarity, humor, and poise that breaks the barrier between author and reader, making you feel part of the entire trope.
Another element that adds a touch of color to the story is how the book has different elements that create contrasting textures. Pictures, song lyrics, newspaper articles and a plethora of historical references make the reading more interactive, establishing a connection with the author. Although it is not such a courageous thing to do in literature, adding pictures, poems, lyrics or other elements reflect the care that the writer put in the story. These elements enrich the book and make it noticeable while conducting our thoughts whilst reading. The author craves us to imagine him the way that he wants. The story is written to see the main character through his experiences, his photographs and overall, his eyes.
And all the cultural and historical references are one of the most interesting parts of the narration. These add a touch of originality making this piece stand out.
Overall, it is hard to find any negative points of this book. In fact, it took me quite some time to see this story with a new set of eyes instead of my fangirl ones. I would like to say that for me, this is a literary piece that everyone ought to read. It is as raw and challenging as inspirational, laying bare all the experiences that humans face in life. And always giving a valuable lesson: We are our own magic bullet, in the end we are the only ones who do actions for ourselves. I give this book, with the all the fascination that I can muster, 4 stars out of 4.
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