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Book Review of "Sheltered: When a Boy Becomes a Legend", by Jacob Paul Patchen


Sheltered: When a Boy Becomes a Legend by Jacob Paul Patchen is a narrative by the protagonist, a 13-year-old boy named James, who becomes the leader of a group of young partisans known as the Risers.  The United States has been attacked by forces that are being resisted by many citizens, including those from small towns, suburbs, and rural areas. People have fled to the hills and woods to conduct guerrilla operations against the invaders. James and his brothers-in-arms are one of the groups who are resisting and are using military tactics, including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, and hit-and-run tactics, to fight the invaders that have infiltrated their area.  It is truly a story about rising to the occasion. It is also a story that makes it very clear when you fight for your country, for your home, for your life, for your freedom – your age makes very little difference.  To survive, you need to kill those who are seeking to kill you.

James falls into the role of leader of his young partisans and feels the added pressure of not only being responsible for his own safety but also that of other teenagers much like himself.  He feels the fear and desperation of fighting an enemy that is much better trained and armed than he and his comrades. However, the Risers have the advantage of fighting for a true cause, their existence, and the knowledge of their surroundings.

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Book Review of "Kinky Roots ", by Ingrid Arlington


The title of Kinky Roots, by Ingrid Arlington, sets the tone of a fascinating memoir that contains philosophical gems. The author was reared in Zimbabwe and Johannesburg, South Africa, and is of African heritage and culture, thus her kinky hair and her kinky family heritage. “Growing up, your hair was your crown…The straighter and the longer it was, the better”…or “it was kinky, curly, frizzy or otherwise known as nappy.” 

This is a feisty and delightfully irreverent memoir.  It is a collage of memories, ruminations, vignettes, and character sketches, encompassing a lifetime of poignant observations by a first-rate writer.  Arlington shows herself as an unstoppable force tethered to an iron will.  She has an exceptional ability to clearly see the very inner workings of people and the things they might rather keep hidden. Arlington writes with a powerful and striking prose style.  Her memoir is very much a book about how to grow up, think, and ‘be’ (especially if you appreciate a complex, funny, intellectual narrator). It’s a book about love, discovery, anger, forgiveness, and integrating all kinds of contradictions into a workable self.

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