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yipslsquirrel has commented on (10) products.

The Rescuer's Path by Paula Friedman
The Rescuer's Path

yipslsquirrel, May 21, 2013

"The Rescuer's Path" is a thought-provoking journey back and forth over a span of four decades across the United States. It's a tale about survival. A teenaged girl from an upper middle class Jewish family has an unexpected encounter with a wounded young Arab-American man who, rightly or wrongly,is a leading federal suspect in a recent politically-motivated bombing. Malca walks away from her sheltered life as a college-prep stuident and lives by his side in the hills, foraging for emals and elarning of the conflicts he has faced, until the day the FBI arrives and shoots him to death in front of Malca.

Malca is living the life of a reasonably well-adjsuted, married social worker with two young sons in Berkeley and reclaiming what memory and legacy she can of those long-ago events when we meet her again as a middle aged woman. Her story is told in dream-like segments that move back and forth through time as Malca seeks to reconcile the woman she has become, and the denoument of her liberal middle class existence, with the drama and the perils of her former life. The daughter given up for adoption who was conceived in the ill-fated weeks of fugitive living , and the aging, embittered fatehr of her long-deceased lover Gavin have their own parallel searches. As readers, we are ironically distant and yet engaged with each of these characters, but, like figures in a recalled dream, they are hard to place or to categorize, as are Malca's European-born Holocaust-surviving parents who honor Gavin after his death as Malca's husband and the rightful father of their grandchild. As a reader. I feel genuine concern and liking for all these complex characters, and yet there is a sort of protective mist that separates their lives from our everyday understanding. We are left with a hopeful but inchoate glimpse of the huture from this review of the past, and a reminder that human relationships are seldom as easily grasped and categorized as we might imagine. If there is another message besides Malca's search for who she has been and who she may be now, and Malca and her birth-daughter's mutual search for their roots as mother and daughter, it is that our stereotypes of how people will respond to real life are nearly bound to fail us.
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The Rescuer's Path by Paula Friedman
The Rescuer's Path

yipslsquirrel, May 21, 2013

"The Rescuer's Path" is a thought-provoking journey back and forth over a span of four decades across the United States. It's a tale about survival. A teenaged girl from an upper middle class Jewish family has an unexpected encounter with a wounded young Arab-American man who, rightly or wrongly,is a leading federal suspect in a recent politically-motivated bombing. Malca walks away from her sheltered life as a college-prep stuident and lives by his side in the hills, foraging for emals and elarning of the conflicts he has faced, until the day the FBI arrives and shoots him to death in front of Malca.

Malca is living the life of a reasonably well-adjsuted, married social worker with two young sons in Berkeley and reclaiming what memory and legacy she can of those long-ago events when we meet her again as a middle aged woman. Her story is told in dream-like segments that move back and forth through time as Malca seeks to reconcile the woman she has become, and the denoument of her liberal middle class existence, with the drama and the perils of her former life. The daughter given up for adoption who was conceived in the ill-fated weeks of fugitive living , and the aging, embittered fatehr of her long-deceased lover Gavin have their own parallel searches. As readers, we are ironically distant and yet engaged with each of these characters, but, like figures in a recalled dream, they are hard to place or to categorize, as are Malca's European-born Holocaust-surviving parents who honor Gavin after his death as Malca's husband and the rightful father of their grandchild. As a reader. I feel genuine concern and liking for all these complex characters, and yet there is a sort of protective mist that separates their lives from our everyday understanding. We are left with a hopeful but inchoate glimpse of the huture from this review of the past, and a reminder that human relationships are seldom as easily grasped and categorized as we might imagine. If there is another message besides Malca's search for who she has been and who she may be now, and Malca and her birth-daughter's mutual search for their roots as mother and daughter, it is that our stereotypes of how people will respond to real life are nearly bound to fail us.
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Flight: A Novel by Sherman Alexie
Flight: A Novel

yipslsquirrel, July 7, 2011

Sherman Alexie seldom disappoints, and I am glad I stumbled on this, one of his more fastasy-tinged and, ultimately, more hopeful books. Alexie takes several genres: the wounded, troubled, soft-hearted streetwise juvenile narrative, the magical time-travel near-death reverie, the Rashomon different-perspective shifting focus, the American Indian Tales of Shame manifesto - and somehow works them into a nearly seamless set of surprises including an unusually happy ending to an impossible and yet credible tale. No one is all-villain or all hero in this disturbing yet encouraging novel, easy to read in an afternoon, with ideas that will keep you thinking long after the final page.
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yipslsquirrel, June 20, 2011

This was one of my favorite books as a child, and now I'm in my fifties and it still holds up. ELizabeth Ann, an orphan at what is around the turn of the 20th century, is suddenly taken from her portected life in an unidentified Midwestern city to live with relatives on a Vermont farm. She has been treated as a hothouse flower by her previous guardian, Aunt Frances, and is fearful of what will await her on the Putney farm, where perhaps they exploit children. Instead, she finds not only love and acceptance, but a sort of redeeming self-reliance. I loved this book partly because it dealt adeptly and without didacticism with the difficult parts of social life, including alcoholism, parental illness and death, cultural differences between rural and urban children, and the balance between mothering and smothering, as we might call it now. We make the transition along with this frightened child as her Cousin Ann moves almost imperceptibly from being an intimidating authoritative presence to serving as a model of practical self-reliance. The redemptive value of a child who overcomes hardship and learns her own strength in the country is a common theme in 20th century children's literature. Dorothy Canfield (who re-published this book for a later generation as Dorothy Canfield Fisher) pokes gentle fun at an overprotective approach to child-rearing, and eventually invites the children following Elizabeth Ann's transition to a strong farm girl named Betsy to share her compassion and appreciation for the foibles of all these adults.
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Obata's Yosemite: The Art and Letters of Chiura Obata from His Trip to the High Sierra in 1927 by Chiura Obata
Obata's Yosemite: The Art and Letters of Chiura Obata from His Trip to the High Sierra in 1927

yipslsquirrel, January 16, 2011

A stunningly beautiful book of, and about, the hybrid Western/Japanese watercolors of a UC Berkeley art professor during a special study trip to Yosemite. historically as well as artistically important with some sad notes; Obata, like other "persons of Japanese ancestry", was interned at one of the infamous relocation camps during the Second World War, and the correspondence includes his letters from the desert camp where he was a civilian prisoner.
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