Official Review: Finding Paris: A Memoir of Hope

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ButterscotchCherrie
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Latest Review: Finding Paris A Menior of Hope by Paris Broker
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Official Review: Finding Paris: A Memoir of Hope

Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 01 Oct 2018, 09:40

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Finding Paris A Menior of Hope" by Paris Broker.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Childhood can be a time of trauma, confusion and insecurity in the best of circumstances. The risks are greatly magnified for children subjected to the vicissitudes of the foster care system.

In Finding Paris: A Memoir of Hope, author Paris Broker recounts her life’s experiences after she was abandoned in a field at the age of two. After bouncing between an orphanage and abusive foster carers, one day she finds herself being sent to a new family. With their immaculate home headed by a Pastor, the Huxtons couldn’t be better respected in their town. But what lurks behind the pristine façade? Why does Paris’ dad make a point of singling her out for special attention and why does her mother always have an iced tea at her elbow?

Paris is summarily informed that her name is now Sally and is assigned more chores than her siblings. As well as identity, the book explores the shortcomings of the foster care system, exploitation, child abuse, survival and the strength of the human spirit. A key theme is the contrast between the front the Huxtons present to the public and the reality of the secrets they hide.

I liked the way Paris’ reflections on her experiences and personal development shaped the book. The courage she finds to stand up to the father who cultivates such a perfect image in society’s eyes is inspiring. She tracks her journey from the abuse endured by Little Sally to her attempts to find her birth mother to her discovery of Paris the woman. The narrative is smooth and coherent.

In addition to that, the style is transparent, so that this book is an easy read. If anything, it was a little too simplistic for my taste, especially when the author repeated information that had been stated a short time previously. She drove the point about appearances versus reality home a little hard at times – the reader can work it out.

She does credit the reader with intelligence when she recounts what Little Sally went through at the Pastor’s hands. She doesn’t describe anything graphically but shows delicacy in leaving the details to the imagination. Normally, I’d include a warning that those who don’t like to read about child abuse might want to avoid this book. That doesn’t necessarily apply here given Paris’ sensitive approach. Some readers might find the impunity enjoyed by the Pastor distressing, however, as well as various other things that are imposed on Paris.

Paris is clearly very forgiving, which is admirable. Indeed, while the Pastor’s hypocrisy reflected a sinister side of religion, she is a fine example of what a Christian can be. The book featured many well-chosen quotes from the Bible. I’m not religious and these were new to me; I appreciated that learning opportunity. Paris made the best of her religious background as well as everything else she went through.

Even if you don’t like memoirs or don’t normally read them, I’d recommend that you try this. It doesn’t descend into rambling as memoirs can - the focus on the author’s growing strength is sustained throughout. However, if you prefer fantasy or fiction over real life stories every time, then this is not for you.

Unfortunately, the editing left something to be desired. Words were omitted and in some cases spelled correctly but in the wrong context. In the most unfortunate example, what appeared on the page was presumably the opposite of what was intended: “Your mom didn’t something right with you.”

Weighing up the book’s strengths and weaknesses, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. It is an inspiring tale and as mentioned, could even appeal to those who don’t normally go in for memoirs. As I say, there is no need to worry about anything graphic, though many of Paris’ experiences and not least the sheer unfairness of it all can be alarming. Overall, however, this book’s message of hope is strong.

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Finding Paris: A Memoir of Hope
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Post by sonya01 » 02 Oct 2018, 04:04

This sounds like an appealing and inspirational book. Paris’s start in life could not be more traumatic, but she seems to make her way in spite of everything. What a great example to follow. I, for one, would be most interested in reading this and will be adding it to my bookshelves. Many thanks for your opinion.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 02 Oct 2018, 04:08

sonya01 wrote: ↑
02 Oct 2018, 04:04
This sounds like an appealing and inspirational book. Paris’s start in life could not be more traumatic, but she seems to make her way in spite of everything. What a great example to follow. I, for one, would be most interested in reading this and will be adding it to my bookshelves. Many thanks for your opinion.
It was interesting to read. Thanks for stopping by!

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Post by kdstrack » 02 Oct 2018, 06:34

It is always motivating to learn about a person who is able to forgive in spite of the treatment received. I really enjoyed how your review describes Paris and her experiences. This sounds like a story that can help others learn to deal with bitterness over the past. Great writing!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 02 Oct 2018, 07:53

kdstrack wrote: ↑
02 Oct 2018, 06:34
It is always motivating to learn about a person who is able to forgive in spite of the treatment received. I really enjoyed how your review describes Paris and her experiences. This sounds like a story that can help others learn to deal with bitterness over the past. Great writing!
It does sound a strong note of hope. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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Post by kandscreeley » 02 Oct 2018, 09:19

Wow! This one definitely sounds like it has some good themes throughout. I would be interested in learning more about the foster care system. It sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I'll look at it a bit more. Thanks for the review!
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 02 Oct 2018, 10:05

kandscreeley wrote: ↑
02 Oct 2018, 09:19
Wow! This one definitely sounds like it has some good themes throughout. I would be interested in learning more about the foster care system. It sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I'll look at it a bit more. Thanks for the review!
The author grew up in the 1960s so one hopes things might have changed. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by BookReader+6 » 02 Oct 2018, 10:09

The topics discussed in this book are a little too sensitive for me so I think I'll pass on this one. Good review though!
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 02 Oct 2018, 10:15

BookReader+6 wrote: ↑
02 Oct 2018, 10:09
The topics discussed in this book are a little too sensitive for me so I think I'll pass on this one. Good review though!
Yes, it is all quite heavy. Thanks for your comment!

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Post by Bianka Walter » 02 Oct 2018, 15:40

You're so right when you say memoirs can descend into rambling. But this one does seem unique. As a person who isn't religious, I think it's great that the various verses were still inspirational to you - that shows amazing strength in the author's writing ability!
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Post by Cotwani » 02 Oct 2018, 15:54

The title of the book confused me a bit cos I thought it was talking about Paris the city. Seem horrendous what Paris endured in the hands of a respected 'pastor.' I am happy she had the spunk to stand up to him. Great review!
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 03 Oct 2018, 02:32

Bianka Walter wrote: ↑
02 Oct 2018, 15:40
You're so right when you say memoirs can descend into rambling. But this one does seem unique. As a person who isn't religious, I think it's great that the various verses were still inspirational to you - that shows amazing strength in the author's writing ability!
She was exposed to the bible a lot but she got the best from it. She thought about how her father might be judged. As I say, I discovered some new quotes I'd never heard before. They were good ones!

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Post by inaramid » 03 Oct 2018, 03:57

ButterscotchCherrie wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 09:40
She does credit the reader with intelligence when she recounts what Little Sally went through at the Pastor’s hands. She doesn’t describe anything graphically but shows delicacy in leaving the details to the imagination.
I'm loving this approach. Memoirs do tend to glamorize events or exaggerate circumstances just for the entertainment/shock value of it all. Definitely checking this out.

PS: The book title in the link says "AMenior." It just threw me off for a second.

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Post by Shrabastee » 03 Oct 2018, 04:30

It is too bad about the editing, otherwise the book sounded like a very honest and intimate account of Paris's life. I would like to read this book. Thanks for the insightful review!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 03 Oct 2018, 04:50

inaramid wrote: ↑
03 Oct 2018, 03:57
ButterscotchCherrie wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 09:40
She does credit the reader with intelligence when she recounts what Little Sally went through at the Pastor’s hands. She doesn’t describe anything graphically but shows delicacy in leaving the details to the imagination.
I'm loving this approach. Memoirs do tend to glamorize events or exaggerate circumstances just for the entertainment/shock value of it all. Definitely checking this out.

PS: The book title in the link says "AMenior." It just threw me off for a second.
The author maintained a balanced tone given how shocking some of the subject matter is. Scott has been notified about the error in the title.

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