3 out of 4 stars
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No Dogs on the Beach: The Recollection of a Littlehampton Foreshore Inspector by John Madell is an enthralling memoir that is categorized under the non-fiction genre. It is intended to be enjoyed by both adult and children who will undoubtedly find it to be a good read, because of its valuable life lessons. It is a mixture of humor, clemency, family, teamwork, and courage. It is crammed with stories of the author’s life from his early years as an adopted child to his adult life when he enters the world of business.
The scenario is set in Littlehampton, a small seaside village that has a rich history of channel sports, but in recent years boasts the sports of sailing, kite-surfing, and diving. Author Madell is one of the three (3) Foreshore inspectors that are employed to ensure the safety and well-being of the public at large. His job involves cautioning shellfish eaters about its poisoning qualities at a particular time of the year as well as keeping the beach safe by chasing illegal Chinese businessmen off its shore.
Born in the year 1946 in Dublin, Italy, Author Madell is given away at birth by his biological parents to his new adoptive parents in a sideboard drawer. He receives proper care from his new parents but years later he is reconnected to his biological family, which includes a half brother and sister. Although he loves his adopted mother Nora, he is still attentive to Jenny, his birth mother and remains loyal to her, until her death at the age of seventy-seven. At the age of nine, he is taught ballet lessons and is the only boy among one dozen girls who are involved with the sport. He is one of the first students to attend the Arundale School, established in 1953 and which is managed by Mrs. Kelly a left-wing socialist. He also attends other learning institutions such as the Weild, and the Quay College where he finds himself in the bottom stream with two other boys. Author Madell preoccupies himself in the music industry by joining a band and attaining fame. Boxing and the game of cricket are his other interests. He refers to the famous cricketer Arthur Gilligan who lived in Pulborough, and who funded and donated much of his kit to the club. He also tells of his many intimate relationships that include that of his true love Jean whom he finally marries. He also goes into partnership with his friend Charles and becomes successful in business.
Each chapter starts with a Psalm that is relevant to the moral of the story. For example, in chapter 1, he quotes Psalm 27:10, “My father and mother may abandon me, but the Lord will take care of me.” This chapter covers the event of his mother giving him away at birth to his adoptive parents.
Cartoon representations of himself, his family members and other acquaintances are interspersed throughout the book depicting different stages of his life. At the ending of the book, a resume is given of his academic, business and social achievements which include the schools he attended and his different associates. Author Mandell speaks of the photograph of his dog Barney who is featured on the cover of the book. It is actually Barney’s behavior on the beach that convinces him that no dogs should be allowed on the beach; hence, the title, ‘No Dogs On The Beach.’ The book is written and dedicated to the memory of Albert and Nora Mandell, his mother, and father who adopted him from his biological mother Jenny, and gave him a life of security. This is supported by a picture of his adoptive parents, standing outside the Brighton Palace in 1947. The book is also written for all his other family members and friends to treasure and to pass on to their generations infinitum.
I must confess that I find most of the stories in this book to be interesting and candidly humorous. For example, he gives an account that when it was clear that his birth mother was pregnant with him, she was no longer able to hide her adulterous affair as the dates did not line up.
Author Mandell’s writings are even-paced, descriptive, and the mood that is felt throughout the passages is buoyancy. I have observed that there are too many run-on sentences and that detract from the clarity of its reading. He has, however, confessed that his grasp of the English Language is not too strong and thus his oldest friend has assisted him in vetting the writing. I must commend both of them for combining to present the book; however, the publishers should have been more alert in their checks for irregularities.
Without further hesitation, I will confer a 3 out of 4 stars rating on this book. I have taken away 1 star because of the many run-on sentences. Generally, persons who are seeking to have some fun and humor in their lives should choose this book as it would assist in uplifting their spirits. Also, I would highly recommend this book to persons who want to enter the business world and need to be motivated. Self-driven Author Madell will definitely give them a jolt in the right direction.
No Dogs on the Beach
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