3 out of 4 stars
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Ernest “Skipper” Colin grew up on a farm in New Hampshire. Life at the farm, the author recalls, was filled with enthralling adventures. However, there was a lot of work to be done. He enjoyed some chores but disliked others. In addition to a profound sense of duty, his parents instilled in him a strong work ethic, which he has always appreciated. In 1949, they moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico. They would later move on to Eunice, New Mexico. The author vividly describes life in this US state from the moment they arrived.
Work Hard - Play Hard, authored by Ernest “Skipper” Colin, is a memoir of a brilliant engineer and leader who wore several other hats perfectly. The memoir starts with the description of Ernest’s grandparents and parents before proceeding to his own life. His life was filled with both pleasant and unpleasant moments. His teacher embarrassed him in front of the whole class when he failed to spell his name correctly. He would later be informed he was over-qualified for a position at the local bank after sitting for an all-day test. Fortunately, his engineering prowess started early. He was able to disassemble and reassemble the engine of his new motorcycle out of curiosity at Eunice. It worked absolutely well afterward. In the fullness of time, his diligence would pay off.
His immense transformation from a timid boy who found it hard to make new friends to an outstanding engineer making history was enthralling. Above all, the book proved to be more than just an account of the author’s life. It was inspirational. Ernest demonstrates how one can lead an intentional and fulfilling life by enjoying every moment. From traveling and collecting art to connecting with longtime friends, the author reveals happiness can be pursued without neglecting work.
There is nothing I disliked about the book. What I liked most was the author’s unshakable faith and love for his family. In a world where many who try to balance family and work fail, Ernest demonstrates it is possible. He not only performs excellently at work but also creates quality time for his wife and children. As a result, he continued receiving many awards while his family flourished as well. The employment of humor was also likable. It caused me to laugh countless times, making the reading experience enjoyable.
Many of the author’s accounts during his youthful years were very funny as well. I found it hilarious that dancing within the city limits of Eunice was banned owing to the beliefs of the leaders. Besides, the trips to obtain drip, illegally acquired gas, were quite risky. The author narrates how one’s source of this gas was top-secret. They could only recount stories about their narrow escape from law enforcement officers. The funniest account was how his sister acted as a spy to ensure a girl he was going to ask out would not decline the offer. This wingmate never failed.
I appreciate the fact that the author shared his high and low moments. It made his life relatable, and I am certain many readers will find the book resourceful as well. His journey towards overcoming fear during childhood was equally remarkable. Additionally, he shows one can still stand strong during moments of adversity with the support of family and friends. I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars as I discovered a few grammatical errors in it. Another round of editing will guarantee a higher rating. I recommend it to all ardent readers of memoirs. I came across only one profane word.
Work Hard - Play Hard
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