2 Parts: Food Art and Literature

2 Parts: Food Art and Literature ISBN: 9781545189016, an e-book by Oladayo A. Sanusi, MD, FACP, FASN.

As explained in a Forward by W. R. Young, this book is a collection of poetry and recitation created by Dr. Sanusi and divided into two parts. “Part 1, Food Art is a series of recitations and poetry combined, all gracefully illustrated by Donna Kirby” while Part 2, Literature, contains many previously published, but rewritten poems. The whole, covers many topics and many points of view ranging from memories of the author’s days as a young man in Africa right up to the year 2016 in America, and he “Bares both heart and soul and all the emotions involved with love, respect and trust, family and friendship, loss and grieving, pain and sorrow, passion and compassion, success and fame.” Many are pure reminiscence, while others will initiate your own recollections, but the total “will most assuredly become one of your prized possessions.” Following this Forward, the author’s Dedication: “To all those who seek the food of knowledge. And to educators, for providing the art of learning”. Next are heartfelt words of gratitude for and to his wife and family and a thoughtful tribute to the artist Donna Kirby. Part 1, Food Art, begins with Family Cooking where “Working with children bring out the best in them and in you. It is a glory and honor that lasts forever” and in a “Happy Kitchen, A family that cooks together stays together. And forever they shall work together.” The selection of poems then are grouped under Breakfast Medley I – XII, Confetti I – IV and on to a final thought for children that begins simply “Yummy is the word when humans are ready to fill their tummy…” Part 2 follows with Notes: “SAILING FROM THE DUNGEONS: Through the Eyes of the Sun of Africa” and is replete with numerous poems covering almost every conceivable emotion.

Discussion: This is a most unique offering by a man who had been a successful Entrepreneur and recognized poet in Africa before deciding to obtain his Medical Degree and immigrate to the United States where he once again embarked upon bringing a degree of cultural fulfilment to an area long hungering for such activity. Much of the book’s unique character lies in the fact that the author has the distinct advantage of spending his early years even into maturity in Nigeria before arriving in the United States. This basic culture has provided him with an awareness of the similarities and differences between the two. It also places him in a better position to equate with children as well as understand the complex human frailties so prevalent in adults. Part 1 reflects much of this understanding. The poetry mostly is a Free-flowing style and offers a good ‘cook book’ with respect to selection/preparation of foods, much of which can be enjoyed by children BUT simultaneously, it alludes to the interpersonal activities necessary to establish/maintain a healthful mental/physical family relationship. For example: “The Old and the New Medley of African and New American Soul, all spirited to blend a soup for the body.” And from The Works I Plenty of Love. Harmony nothing is perfect Make it the way you want it Blend it like life Toe the grey lines with skillful balance Don’t be too athletic about it It’s not the grey line that will fetch the Olympic Medal For Silver I have none Bronze I have none Gold I have none  Love I got plenty  Straight from the heart of my toaster  Carefully served mild, moderate and well done For a well-deserved for my heart is all yours” Part 2 is preceded by two reviews of an earlier compilation of poems by the author and provide the reader with an excellent overview of what can be expected to follow. Briefly, they consist of a compilation of frequently complex thoughts, interpretation of which often is somewhat difficult. This the author freely admits and provides helpful explanatory comments at the end of most and certainly of the more intricate.

Summary: Dr. Sanusi, no doubt with significant aid from his most helpful multicultural background, has provided a most thought-provoking book for individuals to consider and especially if involved, or contemplating involvement in, a family relationship.

5* A most unique presentation of a thoughtful individual’s ruminations.

Bittersweet Memories

Bittersweet Memories ISBN: 9781933826523, PMI Books a novel by Lynn Osterkamp.

Plot: The protagonist, Anna’s family has strong roots in Helena, Montana where her grandfather, Edmund Weller, found gold in 1883 and began the family that became ranchers, lawyers and politicians. Her father started Weller & Associates in 1940 which she joined in 1966 after graduating from law school followed by her brother Dan in 1970. She went on to become a judge and now is 73-year-old judge retiree caring for her husband Jerry who is quite frail and in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. She has just lost her dearest friend Martha with whom she has been inseparable except for the years they were at different colleges. They had returned, married their hometown boyfriends and began their adult lives, much of which were the mundane activities associated with life of marriage and professional activity – Martha’s family were in banking. Along with their constant relationship, Anna’s children, their spouses and their children, and brother Dan constantly remained in close contact. Unfortunately her sister Sandra became a Nun and would not even speak with her and another brother Ned and gone to the west coast, became a neuroscience professor and also completely lost contact with the family. The loss of these siblings, how and why it occurred and the reactions of family members at the time as well as of a much later period are presented in some detail from their point of view as well as that of Anna who always has indulged in positive, although as we learn, often not quite correct memories. The story culminates in a quite thorough family discussion of the surprisingly positive result of Ned’s extensive use of his training, of Sandra’s ultimate reaction and Anna’s final acceptance of the fact that every family may not be able to attain the beautiful family existence as she remembers pictured on TV for the Walton’s or similarly portrayed groups.

Discussion: The author has set forth a tale that, although somewhat depressing, many readers will find quite enchanting. Her characters belong to a closely knit family but are interestingly portrayed as being quite diverse in their attitudes, actions and reactions and neuroscientist Ned’s device, along with all accompanying details and discussion, presents an intriguing basis upon which to build the tale. Regrettably, knowledgeable hunters and mystery devotees will be disturbed by the number of unanswered questions that arise from this basic element of the story.

3* Depressing but enchanting for many; numerous questions for hunters and/or mystery buffs