Official Review: Corners

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inaramid
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Official Review: Corners

Post by inaramid » 06 Jul 2018, 23:00

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Corners" by Amy Lou Jenkins (Editor and Contributor).]
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3 out of 4 stars
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If you’re feeling stuck, stagnant, or burned out, Corners: Voices on Change edited by Amy Lou Jenkins might just be the book for you. With the common thread of change and transformation running through this collection of 25 stories, essays, and other musings on paper, Corners strikes a happy balance between the advice-giving nature of the self-help genre and the storytelling feature of autobiographies and memoirs. It’s like attending a group therapy session or a retreat where you get to listen to the wisdom of a diverse array of people—mothers, grandmothers, writers, poets, teachers, travelers, students, singers, combat veterans—who each have a noteworthy story to share.

Doctoral student Julia Anne Miller starts things off in “Intersection of Then and Now,” where she recounts the traumatic brain injury that abruptly altered her life. Somehow, she retains the ability to write, and this saves her from despair as she comes to grips with her “new self.” Selfhood is also a theme in Cate Dicharry’s “I Became a Mother But I Lost Myself,” a candid revelation of the hidden perils of “motherlove.” Like Julia’s and Cate’s, several of the other narratives are poignant, inspiring, and speaks to common life transitions and experiences. Moving out of a childhood home, getting fired from a job, and dealing with deaths, births, or disabilities were some of the backdrops that gave rise to the insights shared by the writers.

Other stories took a broader view of the theme of change. Elena Harap’s short essay on the perpetuation of stereotypes through nursery rhymes was an eye-opener. Ken Williams’ account as a “cherry,” a fresh recruit during the Vietnam War where “boys killed boys,” was a short, gut-wrenching read. The parallel Patricia Byrne drew between falling down the stairs and substance abuse was a simple, enlightening commentary on addiction and dependence. Dawn Cogger wrote about loving someone “without understanding,” a perspective that takes a tremendous amount of maturity to appreciate and act upon.

The diversity of voices, of ideas, perceptions, and writing styles offered in this collection made for a very enriching reading experience. Some stories I loved; some I liked; some I was ambivalent about. Some voices were forthright; others were meandering. It seemed that some writers just wanted to be heard while others aimed to be understood. Some messages came across with the clarity and precision of a photograph; others struck me with that same ambiguity and weirdness I often associate with abstract art. And yet the stories invite reflection on a broad range of human experiences: relationships, politics, religion, society, heritage, love, rejection, and (to paraphrase a line in Amy Lou Jenkins’ introduction) how the world is always in motion even when you’re standing still.

All of us have dealt with the uncertainties of change. We all know how terrifying it can be. Corners reassures us that it’s part of life. Every person has gone through it in some form or another, and while not everyone thrives after the experience, all have found ways to survive. There are stories that you will relate to even while some will probably just go over your head, but there’s no denying the book’s potential to inspire and move people to reflect and act on their past, present, and future circumstances.

If I could, I would rate Corners 4 stars. However, the presence of several editing problems, mostly in the form of missing or misplaced punctuation marks, led to a final rating of 3 out of 4 stars. Regardless, readers facing a personal crisis may find solace in a story or two from this remarkable collection. For anyone who wants to move on and onward, Corners is a highly recommended read.

******
Corners
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Post by cristinaro » 08 Jul 2018, 04:22

Thanks for such a wonderful review! The book seems to be a kaleidoscope of voices, ideas and writing styles. I'd love to read it and understand how different people react to change and survive even under the most difficult circumstances.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

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Post by Lunastella » 08 Jul 2018, 07:02

Thank you for an honest and insightful review.
It´s not the kind of book I usually read, but I struggle so much with embracing change. I know it´s an intrinsic part of life and anyhow, I fight it.
I´ll give this book a read because it also touches on some interesting social topics.

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Post by osayuwamen6 » 08 Jul 2018, 10:12

Nice review! It's a non-fictional book with series of stories that gave an insight about real life experience, I would like learn more about the book.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 08 Jul 2018, 15:00

As someone who has always struggled with change even when I know it's necessary, I found your review to be quite engaging. I think I would really like the collection. The fact that the contributors are such a diverse group also appeals to me. Thanks for the wonderful review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 08 Jul 2018, 18:30

I'm just not into biographical essays as such, but some of what you describe should interesting. Traumatic brain injuries are no joke. Still, I'm just not sure I would enjoy this. Thanks so much for introducing this to us though.
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Post by teacherjh » 08 Jul 2018, 23:10

Group therapy in a book sounds interesting.

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Post by inaramid » 09 Jul 2018, 04:00

cristinaro wrote:
08 Jul 2018, 04:22
The book seems to be a kaleidoscope of voices, ideas and writing styles. I'd love to read it and understand how different people react to change and survive even under the most difficult circumstances.
It is. A reader and a writer will find something worthwhile in this collection.

Lunastella wrote:
08 Jul 2018, 07:02
It´s not the kind of book I usually read, but I struggle so much with embracing change. I know it´s an intrinsic part of life and anyhow, I fight it.
It is a universal struggle. I hope you enjoy the book!

osayuwamen6 wrote:
08 Jul 2018, 10:12
Nice review! It's a non-fictional book with series of stories that gave an insight about real life experience, I would like learn more about the book.
Thank you for dropping by. Yes, the experiences the writers undergo are varied, and their perspectives are different as well.

Cecilia_L wrote:
08 Jul 2018, 15:00
As someone who has always struggled with change even when I know it's necessary, I found your review to be quite engaging. I think I would really like the collection. The fact that the contributors are such a diverse group also appeals to me. Thanks for the wonderful review!
Thank you, Cecilia_L. I find that this is the book's advantage over other types of memoirs. Sometimes, the "voice" of a single author can be tiresome. With several authors, you are guaranteed to find someone that you'll respond to. I like how the book provides a list of the authors' profiles at the end. Several have blogs and books that they've written, and the links are provided if one is interested.

kandscreeley wrote:
08 Jul 2018, 18:30
I'm just not into biographical essays as such, but some of what you describe should interesting. Traumatic brain injuries are no joke. Still, I'm just not sure I would enjoy this. Thanks so much for introducing this to us though.
I understand :). The stories and writing styles are just so varied that it might not appeal to all types of readers.

teacherjh wrote:
08 Jul 2018, 23:10
Group therapy in a book sounds interesting.
:) :)

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Post by Dabuddhababe » 09 Jul 2018, 05:52

This sounded like a good read for me, up until there was more than one speaker. I dont like to feel like I'm reading essays. The review is written beautifully, I cant wait to read more of your reviews.

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Post by gen_g » 09 Jul 2018, 09:31

Thank you for such a detailed review! This definitely seems like an inspiring read, with much to learn.

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Post by crediblereading2 » 09 Jul 2018, 22:09

This book reminds me of a book that I reviewed lately, where the victim was able to overcome extreme trauma and help others in the process. Thank you for your amazing review.

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Post by inaramid » 10 Jul 2018, 03:46

Dabuddhababe wrote:
09 Jul 2018, 05:52
This sounded like a good read for me, up until there was more than one speaker. I dont like to feel like I'm reading essays. The review is written beautifully, I cant wait to read more of your reviews.
There are several that I'd consider essays, but there are also those that are written in a conversational manner. The best thing about reading the collection, for me, was the introduction to the works of so many different writers.

gen_g wrote:
09 Jul 2018, 09:31
Thank you for such a detailed review! This definitely seems like an inspiring read, with much to learn.
Thanks for dropping by!

crediblereading2 wrote:
09 Jul 2018, 22:09
This book reminds me of a book that I reviewed lately, where the victim was able to overcome extreme trauma and help others in the process. Thank you for your amazing review.
That sounds interesting as well. Thank you for dropping by!

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Post by Al Chakauya » 10 Jul 2018, 12:40

I am a huge fan of diverse perceptions and from your detailing in the review I already love this book. Thanks for the splendid review.

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Post by Dabuddhababe » 10 Jul 2018, 16:53

inaramid wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 03:46
Dabuddhababe wrote:
09 Jul 2018, 05:52
This sounded like a good read for me, up until there was more than one speaker. I dont like to feel like I'm reading essays. The review is written beautifully, I cant wait to read more of your reviews.
There are several that I'd consider essays, but there are also those that are written in a conversational manner. The best thing about reading the collection, for me, was the introduction to the works of so many different writers.

inaramid wrote:
10 Jul 2018, 03:46
Dabuddhababe wrote:
09 Jul 2018, 05:52
I never thought about it like that. When I read something I really like to sink my teeth into it. Being able to read a collection of different writers work could be really interesting.

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Post by Lu_rire » 12 Jul 2018, 12:23

Thanks for the review. The book seems like a great book to read when tackling the fear of change or resistance to change.

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