Official Review: My Most Wondermous Crepen

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Kat Berg
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Official Review: My Most Wondermous Crepen

Post by Kat Berg » 18 Feb 2018, 10:14

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "My Most Wondermous Crepen" by Judi Piscitello.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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What does a blind carpenter, a musician who toured with greats like the Eagles, and a Pastor for the Worldwide Church all have in common? They are all the same person: Charlie Starr, also known as Charlie Piscitello. In the book My Most Wondermous Crepen by Judi Piscitello we get to meet the quirky, engaging, and often amazing, Charlie. Charlie’s story is told by his wife and covers his life, from birth to death. It is the story of a man deeply loved, and sorely missed, by his wife. The book is titled after a term of endearment that she used for him.

We first meet Charlie and Judi when he was performing as the opening act for Blood, Sweat, & Tears and she was just one stranger in the crowd. Charlie is greeted with boos and jeers but manages to woo the crowd into submission with his “gravelly voice”, sense of humor, and rockabilly music. The crowd is, upon the completion of his performance, shocked to realize that he is blind when he is led off stage.

At the age of three it was discovered that Charlie was legally blind from a combination of cataracts and the early stages of glaucoma, but at the age of four, a traumatic eye injury led to the loss of one of his eyes, and to him being sent to a school for the blind. Although experiencing a deep sense of abandonment because he was forced to be separated from his family, it was in the school for the blind that he first developed his lifelong love for music when he found an abandoned guitar.

The author takes us through the ups and downs of Charlie’s life. His music career, his divorce from his first wife, more traumatic eye injuries and life-changing accidents, leaving the music industry, meeting his second wife, and finally becoming a Pastor for the Worldwide Church. It includes various pictures from Charlie’s life, which makes it easier to connect with the story.

There are many things that are quite delightful about this book. Most of the stories are told in a cozy, anecdotal-remember-when style. Imagine sitting around a table, coffee in hand, reminiscing about a departed dear friend and you will get the idea. Like me, I am sure you will be amazed as you read about Charlie’s handyman skills. Just try and imagine a completely blind person hammering, sawing, and building all by himself! Fully sighted people have difficulty with this!

This book is a quick read, and I did not notice any grammatical mistakes. Overall, it was an enjoyable read; however, that does not mean it was not without its problems. The writing style is meandering. Although it usually follows a rough semblance of order, it does not always. The sitting around the coffee table reminiscing style leads to sudden interjections of information that are, at times, jarring and disruptive to the narrative flow.

The author includes things like love letters, poems, writings from school, and newspaper write-ups recognizing Charlie’s achievements. While some of these add to the story and give you a deeper understanding of the relationship between Charlie and his wife Judi, there are times when it seems like too much information. I would have liked to see some judicious editing of how much of these things were included. For instance, we are given two newspaper articles, in their entirety, within a couple pages of each other. There is a lot of repeated information and it would have been better to just mention the second article, noting any additional information, rather than including the whole thing. The author was clearly deeply in love with, and proud of, her husband, and it is sweet that she would want to include so much, but she, unfortunately, loses the reader at times because of it.

The book also has a writing style that will be off-putting to some people. It is littered with phrases like: “dear reader”, “our dear brother in Christ”, and “sweet saints”. While it is expected that the biography of a pastor will include a great deal of their religious life, these phrases can come off as overly saccharine. And, as is often the case in this type of book, the writing moves from biography to teach-y/preachy on a dime. A little editing of tone would do this book wonders.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. In spite of its issues, in the end, I enjoyed the book and think that others will too. Those who dislike a deeply religious tone will probably not appreciate this book, but if you are able to overlook the flaws you will find a love story that is whimsical, and endearing.

******
My Most Wondermous Crepen
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Post by Aphroditelaughs » 04 Mar 2018, 03:34

That sounds really interesting. I think I’ll enjoy it more without the preachiness coming as a surprise!

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Post by hsimone » 04 Mar 2018, 05:47

I think it's sweet that Charlie's wife wrote about his life and was open about Charlie's ups and downs in life. Also, what an inspiring book to show how much Charlie accomplished even with what life handed to him (being blind) - a carpenter and a musician? I love it! Too bad that the author does lose the reader, at times, and I'm not a fan of when books become a bit too much on the preachy side. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy the book regardless! Thank you for the insightful review!
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Post by Kat Berg » 04 Mar 2018, 09:18

hsimone wrote:
04 Mar 2018, 05:47
I think it's sweet that Charlie's wife wrote about his life and was open about Charlie's ups and downs in life. Also, what an inspiring book to show how much Charlie accomplished even with what life handed to him (being blind) - a carpenter and a musician? I love it! Too bad that the author does lose the reader, at times, and I'm not a fan of when books become a bit too much on the preachy side. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy the book regardless! Thank you for the insightful review!
One of my favorite stories in the book was when the neighbors called the author freaking out because Charlie was running the table saw in the garage in the dark. (How they didn't know he was blind and so they had more things to be concerned about than the lights off is beyond me!) It is not especially long, and those who are not reading it for a review can simply race past the preachy or somewhat repetitive stuff. It is worth the time to read if you like memoir-type writing.

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Post by Kat Berg » 04 Mar 2018, 09:26

Aphroditelaughs wrote:
04 Mar 2018, 03:34
That sounds really interesting. I think I’ll enjoy it more without the preachiness coming as a surprise!
Knowing what you are getting into often helps. This doesn't read like a novel, so knowing that is probably also helpful. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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Post by kandscreeley » 05 Mar 2018, 08:49

Sounds like the author has done quite a bit in spite of so many difficulties. I appreciate that. Thanks for your review. Hopefully the errors can be taken care of in another round of editing!
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Post by Samy Lax » 05 Mar 2018, 08:54

Wow. This does sound like something I'd enjoy. Thank you for that lovely review!
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Post by kislany » 05 Mar 2018, 11:10

Your review made me almost...almost...almost want to read it. But, as I am not much into religion and preaching, I'll have to give it a miss. Great review, btw.

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Post by prettysmart » 05 Mar 2018, 14:16

Sounds superb! wanna know more about charlie after reading this splendid review!

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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Mar 2018, 16:44

kandscreeley wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 08:49
Sounds like the author has done quite a bit in spite of so many difficulties. I appreciate that. Thanks for your review. Hopefully the errors can be taken care of in another round of editing!
Thanks for commenting, Kandscreely. I am always hopeful that the author will take reviewers commentary in mind and do another round of editing. I don't know how often it happens, but I do know it does sometimes. :)

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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Mar 2018, 16:45

Samy Lax wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 08:54
Wow. This does sound like something I'd enjoy. Thank you for that lovely review!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting Samy. You will have to let me know what you think if you do decide to read it.

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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Mar 2018, 16:46

kislany wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 11:10
Your review made me almost...almost...almost want to read it. But, as I am not much into religion and preaching, I'll have to give it a miss. Great review, btw.
Thanks, Kislany, that means a lot!

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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Mar 2018, 16:47

prettysmart wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 14:16
Sounds superb! wanna know more about charlie after reading this splendid review!
Hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to read it. Thanks for stopping by Prettysmart!

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Post by Jkhorner » 07 Mar 2018, 10:51

Charlie sounds like a fascinating man, but the memoir style just isn't for me as, like you mentioned, it lends itself to repetition. I can't stand repetition in daily life, let alone in a book where you can simply turn back a few pages and see exactly what was already said. Thank you for your honesty! This sounds like a fair review.

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Post by NL Hartje » 07 Mar 2018, 21:52

Oooh, how sad to think of writing about my husband after his passing. That alone makes me think I would tear up reading this book (because I'm an uncontrollable sap). Your review is so lovely though, maybe it would uplift instead!
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