Review by Kat Berg -- And Then I Met Margaret by Rob White

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Kat Berg
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Review by Kat Berg -- And Then I Met Margaret by Rob White

Post by Kat Berg » 02 Jul 2018, 11:30

[Following is a volunteer review of "And Then I Met Margaret" by Rob White.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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In my city, there is this guy who checks out the Music and a Movie night at our local park with his pet parrot tagging along. It is one of the things I love about my city, this meeting of quirky individuals. It is also one of the quirky things that we discover about Rob White in his book And Then I Met Margaret. He has a pet parrot, Shakespeare, which he takes on walks. And I think that is fantastic.

And Then I Met Margaret by Rob White is a series of short stories from the life of White. Each chapter begins with a myth that he believed. For example, White starts off his book with this myth: “Kindness is an act of self-interest.” (p. 7) In his short stories he shows how his belief in a particular myth impacts his life, and then he demonstrates how his beliefs were changed, and the reality that was then exposed. The discovered reality for the aforementioned myth found at the beginning of Chapter One: “Kind acts demonstrate the height of love.” (p. 14)

Throughout the book, we travel with White from his small town roots, through his days of teaching, his life of entrepreneurship, his victories and defeats, and even some very embarrassing moments. And through it all, he shares what he has learned along the way.

I expected that I would be able to enjoy this book. I did not expect to love it, and yet I did. If a book is well-written and edited, I can usually find at least some appreciation of it. But there was something about the small town roots that was so familiar to me. I haven’t lived in a small town since I was a teenager, and my life is completely different than his, yet so many times I felt myself thinking, “I recognize this.” And it was that familiarity that drew me into the book, but it was White’s storytelling, his willingness to tattle on himself, and even brag a little, and his unapologetic weirdness (going on a walk with a parrot, anyone?) that kept me engaged until the very end.

Beyond his great storytelling, those who are willing to see a little of themselves in his stories might also be able to learn something about how they live in the world, and maybe how they might live a little bit better. White is not some perfect example of what to do, or even how to live, but it is his awareness of that, and willing introspection that helps him to move toward being just a little bit better person.

Interestingly, I was not a huge fan of the myth/reality dynamic that he had at the beginning and end of each chapter. The main reason for this is that it takes pretty deep observations and makes them into something that sound a bit like a campaign slogan. I can see where others may find them useful, but they didn’t quite work for me.

Overall this book is beautifully edited, and I only noticed a couple of mistakes. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The very minor issues I had with it are very easily overlooked. People who like motivational books, great storytelling, and memoirs would enjoy this book. I can also see this being an unusual graduation gift for high school seniors who like to read, as it is a quick read about making life decisions and shows how even “successful” people do not have everything go perfectly without bumps in the road.

******
And Then I Met Margaret
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Espie
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Post by Espie » 05 Jul 2018, 01:46

I've read heaps of good reviews about this book but there's something in your review that made me more curious about it. I especially like the author's courage to admit his shortcomings and be himself, and I just hope he's able to succeed with whatever he has set out to do in his life. I also believe that a well-written motivational piece with such a perfect rating deserves a good chance from me, too.
"Life has many different chapters for us. One bad chapter doesn't mean it's the end of the book."-Unknown
"To err is human; to forgive, divine."-Alexander Pope
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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Jul 2018, 08:16

Espie wrote:
05 Jul 2018, 01:46
I've read heaps of good reviews about this book but there's something in your review that made me more curious about it. I especially like the author's courage to admit his shortcomings and be himself, and I just hope he's able to succeed with whatever he has set out to do in his life. I also believe that a well-written motivational piece with such a perfect rating deserves a good chance from me, too.
Thank you, Espie! I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I really did not expect a whole lot, but it was a nice read. I hope you enjoy it!

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Post by Bianka Walter » 07 Jul 2018, 08:27

A parrot named Shakespeare, how awesome! This book sounds great - thanks for the super review :)
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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 07 Jul 2018, 08:39

Bianka Walter wrote:
07 Jul 2018, 08:27
A parrot named Shakespeare, how awesome! This book sounds great - thanks for the super review :)
There are a lot of things I liked about the book, but I think that was my favorite! :) thanks for commenting!

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Post by jcoad » 18 Sep 2018, 18:40

This is a concept I have never seen for a book before. I can't decide if I would like it or not. Did all the stories have an overall theme, concept or story? Is it just a bunch of little nuggets of wisdom? Thanks for the great review.

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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 22 Sep 2018, 12:17

jcoad wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 18:40
This is a concept I have never seen for a book before. I can't decide if I would like it or not. Did all the stories have an overall theme, concept or story? Is it just a bunch of little nuggets of wisdom? Thanks for the great review.
They are connected conceptually, in a somewhat general way. Mostly it is the lessons he learned as he went through life, some things very simple, some things quite revealing. I think one of the values of this book is that the author thinks deeply about both his good and bad life experiences and learns from them, but they are not always big things. For example, one of the experiences was literally just a seemingly insignificant moment in time, yet it taught him more than some of the more life-altering things. But the overall story is his life (little snippets of it) so that makes for the internal cohesion.

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Post by Kajori50 » 22 Sep 2018, 12:33

I love the concept of starting each short story with a myth believed by the author. Also, the name of the parrot made me smile.

Thank you for the great review.

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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 24 Sep 2018, 19:29

Kajori50 wrote:
22 Sep 2018, 12:33
I love the concept of starting each short story with a myth believed by the author. Also, the name of the parrot made me smile.

Thank you for the great review.
Thanks, Kajori50 for stopping by and commenting. And the name of the parrot made me smile, too.

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