TEARS and Trombones

TEARS And Trombones
ISBN: 9781937818272, Sand Hill Review Press, an e-book by Nanci Lee Woody is a novel based on a true story.

Plot: Joey Woodman is the second son of Ellie, an attractive woman from a nearly insolvent family who married Vernon, the man she believed was ‘caring’ after becoming pregnant. When introduced to the reader some years later, this husband is discovered to be self-centered, crude, a heavy drinker but highly skilled with bulldozers and other heavy earth-moving equipment, garnering him eventual supervisory status. John, the first son, although good at drawing, emulates Vernon, also becomes greatly skilled with the industrial equipment and works and drinks with him. Joey, the second son is favored by his mother and wants to become a musician. The highly dominant father, already treating his wife more like a servant than a wife and largely ignoring her, cannot abide such a decision. Utterly disdainful of the youngster, he indulges in abusive behavior that is not overly physical but more specifically of a highly psychological nature. The boy does manage to obtain a trombone, because it is the only instrument available, perseveres, graduates, goes further to obtain a Master’s Degree and eventually gains a position of prominence. The story revolves around his endeavors plus his long and close involvement with fellow musician Roger, with Jolene and his close involvement with Donna, who adores and helps him endlessly. But then there is Catherine with whom he has a mutually reciprocal love to which he never can seem to commit. He feels duty-bound to remain with Donna to whom he feels, and actually does owe much of his career development. The story gradually progresses through a multitude of triumphs, mental and sensual epitomes and nadirs, most of which are accompanied by, or ending in, periods of depression, more vacillation and guilt until finally persisting to a rousing and tear-producing finale.

Discussion: The author has provided a book exhibiting considerable knowledge of the handling of heavy earth-moving equipment as well as of both classical and popular music and of persons associated with these realms (and acknowledges a number of consultants who have contributed to her work). The book is well-written and nicely paced and is a story that would have been highly recommended to and for the readers of the once widely popular Oprah Winfrey Show. It is replete with agonizing personal vacillation, intense personal suffering, and a blatant exhibition of self-centered concentration with all that it permits an individual to attain, but simultaneously is accompanied with extensive personal misery and mental desolation.

Conclusion: A compellingly constructed look at the effects, positive as well as devastatingly deleterious, that can accompany self-centered tenacity to attain a goal. A story much to be enjoyed by the aforementioned reader. Regrettably, the single-minded thoughtless activity of the protagonist and the blind faith/acceptance of other characters provided quite an unpleasant read for this reviewer.

3* 5* Well and knowledgeably written; 3* regrettably, unpleasant as described for this reviewer.

Biological Youth

Biological Youth is the first book in an anticipated series examining the causes of loss of Biological Youth and how to recover. An e-book by Todd Ewing, PhD.

The author has been involved in pharmaceutical research for 20 years and has become increasingly appalled with the effect that today’s lifestyle is having on an individual’s existence. He believes that it is the cause of a rapid expansion in what he terms LTD’s or Lifestyle Transmitted Diseases and especially the NCD’s or Non-Communicable Diseases such as diabetes, lung and heart problems. He believes that the specific, easily available, choices of when and if to exercise, improper diet, acceptance of health aides and/or therapeutic pharmacological offerings are the culprits and that belief in and acceptance of the multitudinous recommendations with which the individual constantly is bombarded readily enforce deleterious choices. He advances a concept of Total Recovery (TR) where a person can take control of his/her own health and bodily function and he provides specific suggestions: “Toward your Mindfulness and Recovery of your Diet, Lifestyle, Health and Youthfulness.” He provides five basic fitness needs – metabolic, circadian, microbiological, immune and mental –“each representing the resilience of our echo system to particular stress on the body”. There is explanation and discussion of activity on the cellular level and considerable detail is set forth about the Duke Study of Biological Age (versus Chronological) and that by UCLA of Alzheimer’s Disease Reversal. Each chapter is provided with a review and much of the presentation is heavily footnoted with provision of most helpful instructions for easy accession of the relevant footnotes while reading the text.

Discussion: The author applies much attention to the Duke Study that sets Biological best age at chronological age 20 and descends to worst at 80 with variation of the latter ranging perhaps from 50 to 100+ chronologically. The author also provides some examination of the Hayflick phenomenon as being responsible for ultimate cellular senescence and death. Hayflick demonstrated that cell propagation is limited because the telomeres at the ends of the cell’s DNA shorten with each new division so that the number of divisions before eventual cell death is limited, thus limiting length of human life. (Recent reports have raised one’s ultimate chronological age from around 90 to 112 years.) The author here believes that removing all of the ‘Zombie’ influences cited will greatly limit and/or remove the stressful factors causing cellular senescence. He cites stem cell research and the doctrine that germ cells are immortal, thus retaining the ability to divide forever because they have greater resistance to stress and better mechanisms of repair. Work here still is refuted although it is granted that Silicone Valley is working seriously and diligently on the idea of living forever so as to revive man’s dreams most often encountered by recurring notes of Ponce de Leon’s searches. Parenthetically from a strictly psychological aspect, as one becomes sufficiently advanced in age and increasing numbers of family, friends and acquaintances no longer are around, persons often rethink this dream.

Conclusion: The author has provided interesting thoughts on regaining one’s proper Biological age. It is a book that is NOT for everyone – especially for the individual looking for a ‘how-to’ book, one that will provide suggestions/instructions/lists for reinventing his/her health routines. Instead, the author has provided a quasi-scientific presentation to educate the lay person who wants to take the time to think about the effect modern western social/political/marketing procedures have upon anyone living in this complex culture. An individual must read the text, examine the pertinent references, take time to consider the total of what has been provided and decide upon ONE’s OWN course of action. It is not a simple task but can lead to great rewards IF the individual is able AND WILLING to make the commitment.

3* 5* for the ‘thinking person’; 3* definite caveat for ‘how-to’ searcher.