Official Review: Agony and Ecstasy of Finding my Voice: a...

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.
Forum rules
You must limit each topic thread in this section to only one book or only one series. Make the title of the topic the name of the book, and if possible also include the author's name. If you want to allow spoilers, you must include the word spoilers in the title of the topic, otherwise spoilers are prohibited.
User avatar
NL Hartje
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1232
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 12:58
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 136
Favorite Book: Kushiel's Dart
Currently Reading: Neverwhere
Bookshelf Size: 383
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nl-hartje.html
Latest Review: The Candle Room by Daniel K. Gentile
Location: Woodland Park, CO

Official Review: Agony and Ecstasy of Finding my Voice: a...

Post by NL Hartje » 27 Feb 2018, 22:01

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Agony and Ecstasy of Finding my Voice: a Memoir" by Dr. Branton Holmberg.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Isn’t it true that we always see the worst versions of ourselves and have a harder time acknowledging our strengths than we do numerating our flaws? It seems that author, Dr. Branton Holmberg, fit snugly into that self-depreciating box and despite his extensive accomplishments, riddled himself with doubt throughout his long life. His book, Agony and Ecstasy of Finding My Voice: A Memoir, showcases how he was set apart because of his cleft lip, cleft palate, and accompanying altered speech.

This self-told account begins in his youth when he was teased and shamed by other children for his facial asymmetry and atypical speech. He recounts his embarrassment and humiliations and how those perceptions affected his lifelong self-image. Over the years Dr. Holmberg underwent surgeries and eventually received a dental appliance to improve his speech.

Although he is an accomplished Air Force medic, college professor, sensitivity training specialist, small business owner and doctor of psychology, the author admitted he did not always feel the confidence that should have come with his accolades. He particularly remembers being too scared to move forward with his first teaching job because of his certainty in students’ private ridicule. Surprising revelations after pushing past his fears, and after receiving his oral device, led him to realize he was never the outsider he imagined.

His youthful excursions were the most impressive part of the book for me. I enjoyed chuckling at the mindset of a young man and the schemes he hatched with friends. Sadly, though Dr. Holmberg’s life must have been interesting, that was the beginning and end of my interest in this book. He spent the first forty percent of the story robotically detailing his life, but after that, he alarmingly chose to spend over half of the book copy-pasting excerpts from his other publications.

After losing his voice to a laryngectomy, he turned to writing fantasy as a way to connect with his grandchildren. Modeling his characters mainly after himself and his grandson, Dr. Holmberg chose to use his memoir as a shameless advert for these books. He included a replica of one entire book, along with 4-6 chapters from two other books. That was the total content of more than half of this autobiography.

Not only was I appalled by the second-half, I was mostly disappointed with the rest. Of the chapters that were based on his life, the two last were simple restatements of the others with added commentary reflecting his feelings. The writing contained countless errors throughout, many of which were the contents of run-on sentences. It seemed items that would normally be asides or parenthetical remarks were otherwise added to sentences with no implementation of transitional or conjunctive phrases.

Readers who’ve experienced cleft palate or lip deformities or members of the psychology community particularly interested in the early years of sensitivity training may find areas of enjoyment in this book. Beyond that, I would not recommend this read. Losing one star for the shocking inclusion of complete books within this one, and losing a second for the lack of editing altogether, I am rating this book 2 out of 4 stars. Dr. Holmberg repeatedly marked how his life trials fostered his self-determination, and I hope the challenges of this book are met with the same life’s vigor he utilized in the past.

******
Agony and Ecstasy of Finding my Voice: a Memoir
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like NL Hartje's review? Post a comment saying so!
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 5066
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 53
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: End of the Last Great Kingdom
Bookshelf Size: 190
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: Hand of Silver, Hand of Gold by Christopher Grey

Post by kandscreeley » 28 Feb 2018, 08:27

That's odd to me. So this is a memoir of his, but he includes an entire book and chapters from his other book? That's just confusing. I think I'll stay away from this one. Thanks, though!
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

User avatar
NL Hartje
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1232
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 12:58
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 136
Favorite Book: Kushiel's Dart
Currently Reading: Neverwhere
Bookshelf Size: 383
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nl-hartje.html
Latest Review: The Candle Room by Daniel K. Gentile
Location: Woodland Park, CO

Post by NL Hartje » 28 Feb 2018, 09:55

kandscreeley wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 08:27
That's odd to me. So this is a memoir of his, but he includes an entire book and chapters from his other book?
Truly. This book has 17 chapters. At the end of chapter 13, the book was at 44% completion on my kindle. Chapter 14 is a copy of an entire book. Chapter 15 is four chapters of a book. Chapter 16 is six chapters of a third book. Chapter 17 is two pages of recap. 56% of this book was OTHER books. :snooty:
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

User avatar
Samy Lax
Posts: 450
Joined: 30 Jan 2018, 01:40
2018 Reading Goal: 38
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 89
Currently Reading: Blue Mountain Trouble
Bookshelf Size: 75
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-samy-lax.html
Latest Review: In the Twilight by Bernard Kuckuck

Post by Samy Lax » 28 Feb 2018, 10:08

That is really something I haven't seen in other books. A combination of bad editing and inclusion of other (entire) books within this book. Sounds kind of crazy.

Lovely review, though!
“For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

User avatar
NL Hartje
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1232
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 12:58
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 136
Favorite Book: Kushiel's Dart
Currently Reading: Neverwhere
Bookshelf Size: 383
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nl-hartje.html
Latest Review: The Candle Room by Daniel K. Gentile
Location: Woodland Park, CO

Post by NL Hartje » 28 Feb 2018, 10:34

Samy Lax wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 10:08
A combination of bad editing and inclusion of other (entire) books within this book.
What's interesting concerning the editing is that he admits at the end of the book that he did not have the book edited and makes a plea for readers to forgive him. By no means do I want to kick this guy when he's down (I mean, he seems lovely) but just because you acknowledge it, doesn't mean you should have done it! :doh:
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

User avatar
JJNP
Posts: 71
Joined: 17 Feb 2018, 04:53
2018 Reading Goal: 250
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 8
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 61
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jjnp.html
Latest Review: The Seduction of Religion by Paul Singh
Reading Device: B00BWYQ9YE
Location: Shh.

Post by JJNP » 28 Feb 2018, 13:18

There view makes the book sound rather strange. This man sounds as if he has the experiences and resources to produce a whole and very good book, and yet he hasn't bothered. I was intrigued by the name and initial description of the book. I find stories where people overcome challenges and do well very inspiring, but I think I will give this one a miss.

User avatar
Sahani Nimandra
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 956
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 22:49
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 93
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 180
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... >Emotional Intelligence</a>
Currently Reading: A Brief History of The Third Reich
Bookshelf Size: 367
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sahani-nimandra.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base
Location: Sri Lanka

Post by Sahani Nimandra » 28 Feb 2018, 19:30

Ouch! Why would he do that? Copy paste from other books even it is his own. Is it because of what he had to go through? But he had the strength to write the 2nd half better, as you mentioned. Ok! Weird! Thanks for the heads-up!
Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book!

User avatar
Kat Berg
Posts: 691
Joined: 05 Oct 2017, 22:29
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 19
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 8
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 5">Raven's Peak</a>
Currently Reading: The Girl Who Knew da Vinci
Bookshelf Size: 221
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kat-berg.html
Latest Review: And Then I Met Margaret by Rob White
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Kat Berg » 28 Feb 2018, 21:08

I am constantly flummoxed trying to understand what is going through the minds of an author at times. What a disappointing book. Thanks for the lovely review.

User avatar
NL Hartje
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1232
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 12:58
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 136
Favorite Book: Kushiel's Dart
Currently Reading: Neverwhere
Bookshelf Size: 383
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nl-hartje.html
Latest Review: The Candle Room by Daniel K. Gentile
Location: Woodland Park, CO

Post by NL Hartje » 28 Feb 2018, 21:53

JJNP wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 13:18
I find stories where people overcome challenges and do well very inspiring, but I think I will give this one a miss.
Well I never want to dissuade someone from something they think they might like, you may enjoy the first 45% of the book :P

Thank you for reading my review!
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

User avatar
Samy Lax
Posts: 450
Joined: 30 Jan 2018, 01:40
2018 Reading Goal: 38
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 89
Currently Reading: Blue Mountain Trouble
Bookshelf Size: 75
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-samy-lax.html
Latest Review: In the Twilight by Bernard Kuckuck

Post by Samy Lax » 28 Feb 2018, 23:02

NL Hartje wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 10:34
Samy Lax wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 10:08
A combination of bad editing and inclusion of other (entire) books within this book.
What's interesting concerning the editing is that he admits at the end of the book that he did not have the book edited and makes a plea for readers to forgive him. By no means do I want to kick this guy when he's down (I mean, he seems lovely) but just because you acknowledge it, doesn't mean you should have done it! :doh:
I agree. He's admitted to what he's done, but then why'd he do it in the first place? It almost makes me want to see this for myself in the book. Maybe I'll read it some time when I am done with my current book :)
“For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

User avatar
NL Hartje
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1232
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 12:58
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 136
Favorite Book: Kushiel's Dart
Currently Reading: Neverwhere
Bookshelf Size: 383
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nl-hartje.html
Latest Review: The Candle Room by Daniel K. Gentile
Location: Woodland Park, CO

Post by NL Hartje » 01 Mar 2018, 10:58

Samy Lax wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 23:02
Maybe I'll read it some time when I am done with my current book :)
Please do, I would love to hear another's opinion!
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

User avatar
prettysmart
Posts: 198
Joined: 03 Feb 2018, 15:12
2018 Reading Goal: 560
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 1
Currently Reading: Big Doc Bitteroot
Bookshelf Size: 19
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-prettysmart.html
Latest Review: Serendipity Mystery by R.F. Kristi
Location: The Caribbean

Post by prettysmart » 01 Mar 2018, 13:50

Thats just ridiculous to include an entire book in a supposedly new or different novel, but seems pretty intriguing , given the information about human deformities such as cleft palate etc. Satisfying review!

User avatar
emmaxs
Posts: 1
Joined: 01 Mar 2018, 21:39
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by emmaxs » 01 Mar 2018, 21:47

Beautifully written, but savage review.

User avatar
NL Hartje
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1232
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 12:58
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 136
Favorite Book: Kushiel's Dart
Currently Reading: Neverwhere
Bookshelf Size: 383
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nl-hartje.html
Latest Review: The Candle Room by Daniel K. Gentile
Location: Woodland Park, CO

Post by NL Hartje » 02 Mar 2018, 00:34

emmaxs wrote:
01 Mar 2018, 21:47
Beautifully written, but savage review.
Thank you! I'm working on being more honest with my reviews :geek2:
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

Ida123
Posts: 20
Joined: 09 Feb 2018, 13:05
Currently Reading: WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE NAKED?
Bookshelf Size: 18
Reading Device: B074WHDFCD

Post by Ida123 » 03 Mar 2018, 14:18

Is there any message he wants to deliver from his experiences? Maybe there's something more than just his odd experiences?

Post Reply

Return to “Non-Fiction Books”