Review by freakkshowx -- And Then I Met Margaret

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freakkshowx
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Review by freakkshowx -- And Then I Met Margaret

Post by freakkshowx » 16 Feb 2018, 22:24

[Following is a volunteer review of "And Then I Met Margaret" by Rob White.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Rob White seems like the kind of person who’s been told far too many times, “You should write a book!”, and for good reason. Judging from the anthology that is And Then I Met Margaret, his life has not been lacking in laughter and lessons, and the clear way that White imparts the wisdom from snapshots of his life upon the reader makes it easy to become an eager pupil. In this witty and insightful collection, the author shares stories from his youth that center around breaking the mold in a small town where tradition is treated as essential, success as a savvy businessman, and family life as a human being who feels the need to protect their pride. Each story centers around someone or something that seems ordinary, but had a profound effect on the author’s life philosophy, and in opening up, White seems to ask readers also to challenge their world view vicariously.

And Then I Met Margaret came to me at a time in my life when I wasn’t expecting to need it, but after making a complete fool of myself during an impeccably-researched but not impeccably-received speech, I happened across chapter 16: It’s Just Me. Like me, the author proceeded to suffer a real wave of embarrassment onstage, and the way he handled it gave me a special and much-needed new perspective on my own mistakes.The way Rob White writes is like listening to an old friend, someone who really cares about what they’re saying and why they’re saying it, and I think that’s why the book had such a profound effect on me. Even though I’ve always regarded nonfiction anthologies as cheesy at best, I feel like I was able to absorb true value from the volume.

Structure-wise, I appreciated the fact that it was chronologically-oriented. As a reader, that helped me line up all of the stories in my mind in a way that made sense, as well as giving me a better grasp on who the author is as a person, which can be taken as a kind of characterization. The way he followed his physical growth lined up with the progression of his emotional growth, which was harmonious with the purpose of the book itself and turned out to be another big plus for me. Also speaking of structure, the way White begins each chapter with a myth he believed and ends with a truth to replace it kept me focussed on the individual meaning of each story, and I found it brilliant for this work especially.

Overall, I found certain stories to be more profoundly inspirational than others, and I didn’t entirely love every one of them, but I got some form of value from each, even when it felt like the author was stretching to attribute meaning to them. In addition, it didn’t feel like a typical “inspirational” book, because the focus was on making the best of life’s curveballs, instead of how to avoid them with a shaky solution, like positive thought. It was indeed catered to the mentally stable members of the upper-middle class, but I didn’t have a problem with that, because that’s who the author is as a person. It was nice to see a portrayal of life as not all roses, but not all despair, either.

This is the first out of three books I’ve reviewed that I believe deserves a 4 out of 4 stars. If it had not been published yet, I would certainly deem it ready for release. And Then I Met Margaret expanded my genre repertoire, and it deserves a recommendation to nonfiction lovers and fiction lovers alike, if not as a favorite, than at least a palate cleanser that freshens the mind rather than bogging it down. After reading, I find myself looking forward to Rob White’s future work as a break from my typical terrifying fare.

******
And Then I Met Margaret
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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 17 Feb 2018, 20:07

Hey, this is a wonderful review! I can feel the sincerity in your comments. I wonder what happened with your impeccable speech. If this review is a preview, it must have been articulate and passionate. But yeah, sometimes we need lessons to hit us hard.

I gave this book 4 stars, too.

freakkshowx
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Post by freakkshowx » 18 Feb 2018, 00:14

Miriam Molina wrote: ↑
17 Feb 2018, 20:07
Hey, this is a wonderful review! I can feel the sincerity in your comments. I wonder what happened with your impeccable speech. If this review is a preview, it must have been articulate and passionate. But yeah, sometimes we need lessons to hit us hard.

I gave this book 4 stars, too.
Thank you so much, that's so sweet of you. I had to speak on ritual circumcisions, and unfortunately, a classroom full of college freshmen just weren't able to handle the content maturely, and I ended up floundering. I have to speak on it again, taking a stance this time, and I'm just crossing my fingers that I don't choke again.

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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Feb 2018, 06:55

Hmmm, what subject requires a talk on ritual circumcision? I missed that one.

Go, girl! I'm sure next time, you'll wow them!

freakkshowx
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Post by freakkshowx » 18 Feb 2018, 18:35

Miriam Molina wrote: ↑
18 Feb 2018, 06:55
Hmmm, what subject requires a talk on ritual circumcision? I missed that one.

Go, girl! I'm sure next time, you'll wow them!
Thank you :) It's actually just a communications class, but we were required to choose a controversial topic from the last six months, and I decided to be ambitious :|

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Post by ericahs » 26 Feb 2018, 18:00

Your review makes me want to revisit anthologies! I kind of share your view of them as corny, but it seems this one breaks the mold! Thank you for the suggestion

freakkshowx
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Post by freakkshowx » 28 Feb 2018, 23:42

ericahs wrote: ↑
26 Feb 2018, 18:00
Your review makes me want to revisit anthologies! I kind of share your view of them as corny, but it seems this one breaks the mold! Thank you for the suggestion
Aww, thank you so much :) I really appreciate it. This one had some issues too, such as feeling like the author was trying to turn certain insignificant events into profound instances of spiritual enlightenment, but compared to some of the others I've reviewed on here, I felt like it would appeal to the intended audience and was well-structured. The one anthology that really blew me away, however, was Monster Boys and Slasher Girls by April Genevieve Tucholke. It's a collection of horror stories, but I feel like each one was loaded with real passion and flavor. Maybe it helped to have a different author write only one story out of them all. Anyway, if you're comfortable with horror, that would be the anthology I would most highly recommend.

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Post by ericahs » 07 Mar 2018, 10:42

freakkshowx wrote: ↑
28 Feb 2018, 23:42
ericahs wrote: ↑
26 Feb 2018, 18:00
Your review makes me want to revisit anthologies! I kind of share your view of them as corny, but it seems this one breaks the mold! Thank you for the suggestion
Aww, thank you so much :) I really appreciate it. This one had some issues too, such as feeling like the author was trying to turn certain insignificant events into profound instances of spiritual enlightenment, but compared to some of the others I've reviewed on here, I felt like it would appeal to the intended audience and was well-structured. The one anthology that really blew me away, however, was Monster Boys and Slasher Girls by April Genevieve Tucholke. It's a collection of horror stories, but I feel like each one was loaded with real passion and flavor. Maybe it helped to have a different author write only one story out of them all. Anyway, if you're comfortable with horror, that would be the anthology I would most highly recommend.
Thank you for the recommendation. I've never really given horror a fair shot, so maybe I'll have to try it again. Also, I'm curious about the insignificant moments you mentioned, I wonder if that was something thematic and intentional or just making a mountain out of an ant hill. Maybe I'll take a peek myself. Thanks again!
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.- Douglas Adams

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Post by Eva Darrington » 08 Mar 2018, 14:14

freakkshowx wrote: ↑
16 Feb 2018, 22:24
Overall, I found certain stories to be more profoundly inspirational than others, and I didn’t entirely love every one of them, but I got some form of value from each, even when it felt like the author was stretching to attribute meaning to them. In addition, it didn’t feel like a typical “inspirational” book, because the focus was on making the best of life’s curveballs, instead of how to avoid them with a shaky solution, like positive thought. It was indeed catered to the mentally stable members of the upper-middle class, but I didn’t have a problem with that, because that’s who the author is as a person. It was nice to see a portrayal of life as not all roses, but not all despair, either.
I really enjoyed reading your review. You are very thoughtful in your insights. I agree that the structure of the book, with the myth and the transformed belief, was a great tool for organization. And the author's storytelling was skillful. I think I was a little more thrown off than you were by the stretching of the stories to meet a certain theme. And I criticized the author in my review for including stories that were inaccessible to many people. But, I take your point. Maybe he intended his audience to be higher income groups. Thanks for the great review. (And, good luck with your next speech.)
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

freakkshowx
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Post by freakkshowx » 10 Mar 2018, 12:26

ericahs wrote: ↑
07 Mar 2018, 10:42
freakkshowx wrote: ↑
28 Feb 2018, 23:42
ericahs wrote: ↑
26 Feb 2018, 18:00
Your review makes me want to revisit anthologies! I kind of share your view of them as corny, but it seems this one breaks the mold! Thank you for the suggestion
Aww, thank you so much :) I really appreciate it. This one had some issues too, such as feeling like the author was trying to turn certain insignificant events into profound instances of spiritual enlightenment, but compared to some of the others I've reviewed on here, I felt like it would appeal to the intended audience and was well-structured. The one anthology that really blew me away, however, was Monster Boys and Slasher Girls by April Genevieve Tucholke. It's a collection of horror stories, but I feel like each one was loaded with real passion and flavor. Maybe it helped to have a different author write only one story out of them all. Anyway, if you're comfortable with horror, that would be the anthology I would most highly recommend.
Thank you for the recommendation. I've never really given horror a fair shot, so maybe I'll have to try it again. Also, I'm curious about the insignificant moments you mentioned, I wonder if that was something thematic and intentional or just making a mountain out of an ant hill. Maybe I'll take a peek myself. Thanks again!
Sure thing, horror is a big interest of mine :tiphat: A handfull of them, unfortunately, are rather wimpy attempts at life lessons, almost like the author was trying to bulk out the book a little while pulling from scant true experience. In one of them, a little girl asks a question on a tour of the author's restaurant, and he tries to act like it catalyzed a major perspective shift, even though it was rather transparently not. More disappointing was the fact that this was the story the book was named for! Aspects like that are the reason I wouldn't call it on par with the best I've read, but from an editing perspective, I gave it four stars because of the acessible writing style and clear purpose.

freakkshowx
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Post by freakkshowx » 10 Mar 2018, 12:36

Eva Darrington wrote: ↑
08 Mar 2018, 14:14
freakkshowx wrote: ↑
16 Feb 2018, 22:24
Overall, I found certain stories to be more profoundly inspirational than others, and I didn’t entirely love every one of them, but I got some form of value from each, even when it felt like the author was stretching to attribute meaning to them. In addition, it didn’t feel like a typical “inspirational” book, because the focus was on making the best of life’s curveballs, instead of how to avoid them with a shaky solution, like positive thought. It was indeed catered to the mentally stable members of the upper-middle class, but I didn’t have a problem with that, because that’s who the author is as a person. It was nice to see a portrayal of life as not all roses, but not all despair, either.
I really enjoyed reading your review. You are very thoughtful in your insights. I agree that the structure of the book, with the myth and the transformed belief, was a great tool for organization. And the author's storytelling was skillful. I think I was a little more thrown off than you were by the stretching of the stories to meet a certain theme. And I criticized the author in my review for including stories that were inaccessible to many people. But, I take your point. Maybe he intended his audience to be higher income groups. Thanks for the great review. (And, good luck with your next speech.)
Thank you so much :D Honestly, when I originally wrote the review, I was just happy to find a coherent book amongst some of the subpar pieces I had been drowning in at the time. As a multimarginalized person, I guess I don't expect any book to be truly accessible to me, so a lot of those issues blended in with other work until I saw the reactions in the forums. I wish I had paid more attention to it when I wrote the original review.

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Post by Eva Darrington » 10 Mar 2018, 12:56

freakkshowx wrote: ↑
10 Mar 2018, 12:36
Eva Darrington wrote: ↑
08 Mar 2018, 14:14
freakkshowx wrote: ↑
16 Feb 2018, 22:24
Overall, I found certain stories to be more profoundly inspirational than others, and I didn’t entirely love every one of them, but I got some form of value from each, even when it felt like the author was stretching to attribute meaning to them. In addition, it didn’t feel like a typical “inspirational” book, because the focus was on making the best of life’s curveballs, instead of how to avoid them with a shaky solution, like positive thought. It was indeed catered to the mentally stable members of the upper-middle class, but I didn’t have a problem with that, because that’s who the author is as a person. It was nice to see a portrayal of life as not all roses, but not all despair, either.
I really enjoyed reading your review. You are very thoughtful in your insights. I agree that the structure of the book, with the myth and the transformed belief, was a great tool for organization. And the author's storytelling was skillful. I think I was a little more thrown off than you were by the stretching of the stories to meet a certain theme. And I criticized the author in my review for including stories that were inaccessible to many people. But, I take your point. Maybe he intended his audience to be higher income groups. Thanks for the great review. (And, good luck with your next speech.)
Thank you so much :D Honestly, when I originally wrote the review, I was just happy to find a coherent book amongst some of the subpar pieces I had been drowning in at the time. As a multimarginalized person, I guess I don't expect any book to be truly accessible to me, so a lot of those issues blended in with other work until I saw the reactions in the forums. I wish I had paid more attention to it when I wrote the original review.
I certainly understand lowering expectations. Marginalization requires a degree of it for sure. I guess I wanted Rob White to have cleared that hurdle in his strivings for growth, and leave out the stories that only resonated with the ultra-privileged. Clearly my expectations were off. :) Thanks for the dialogue.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

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Post by vinodsai » 10 Mar 2018, 14:03

A collection of short stories which consists of spiritual guidance or inspirational lessons. Every day a new opportunity lets you learn something that you can apply and improve yourself as a person. I read a lot of good things about this book. Thanks for your amazing review.

freakkshowx
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Post by freakkshowx » 20 Mar 2018, 14:46

Eva Darrington wrote: ↑
10 Mar 2018, 12:56
freakkshowx wrote: ↑
10 Mar 2018, 12:36
Eva Darrington wrote: ↑
08 Mar 2018, 14:14

I really enjoyed reading your review. You are very thoughtful in your insights. I agree that the structure of the book, with the myth and the transformed belief, was a great tool for organization. And the author's storytelling was skillful. I think I was a little more thrown off than you were by the stretching of the stories to meet a certain theme. And I criticized the author in my review for including stories that were inaccessible to many people. But, I take your point. Maybe he intended his audience to be higher income groups. Thanks for the great review. (And, good luck with your next speech.)
Thank you so much :D Honestly, when I originally wrote the review, I was just happy to find a coherent book amongst some of the subpar pieces I had been drowning in at the time. As a multimarginalized person, I guess I don't expect any book to be truly accessible to me, so a lot of those issues blended in with other work until I saw the reactions in the forums. I wish I had paid more attention to it when I wrote the original review.
I certainly understand lowering expectations. Marginalization requires a degree of it for sure. I guess I wanted Rob White to have cleared that hurdle in his strivings for growth, and leave out the stories that only resonated with the ultra-privileged. Clearly my expectations were off. :) Thanks for the dialogue.
Those expectations are more than reasonable. Looking at certain stories, it seems as if the average person would have been able to figure out the lessons on their own. I'm becoming more and more disappointed in the book with every critique I read, which is disappointing in and of itself. And sure thing, happy reading! :techie-reference:

freakkshowx
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Post by freakkshowx » 20 Mar 2018, 14:49

vinodsai wrote: ↑
10 Mar 2018, 14:03
A collection of short stories which consists of spiritual guidance or inspirational lessons. Every day a new opportunity lets you learn something that you can apply and improve yourself as a person. I read a lot of good things about this book. Thanks for your amazing review.
Thank you so much, I appreciate it :D

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