On Your Own
Kindle Edition, $4.99
ASIN B00W1UUDNG (Print edition, 199 pages) Four stars
This is a book about life as we know it; the nitty-gritty of growing up, the learning of values, the rising awareness of the meaning of relationships…experiences that every kid endures on the way to and through adulthood in one form or another. Rather than teaching in parables, Mr. Miller chooses to use short vignettes about the circumstances of children’s families and the certain fate of growing up. Two of the main protagonists, are Fitz and Nate. They are brothers; Fitz is older and, by turns, antagonizes Nate, his younger brother in the sibling rituals that only growing siblings can truly understand. Glimpses of the relationship between these brothers are seen through these vignettes. Other vignettes focus on life in a dysfunctional family, a developmentally challenged child, the small things a father does to take care of his family, the detrimental effects of small misunderstandings blown out of proportion, the importance of good sportsmanship in the face of heated competition and many other real life scenarios. Each vignette is accompanied by a short story of a situation in the life of a person where circumstances similar to the accompanying vignette produced a life lesson or illustrated a life value worth learning. There are fourteen vignette/short story combinations…fourteen life lessons.
Throughout the book, there is a focus on the effects one’s actions have on others and a yearning for close interpersonal relationships that never quite make it to fruition. It reminds us that no matter how we are connected, that we are all individuals living our lives separately.
This book is well written and poignant. Readers will have no trouble identifying with the characters, the situations in which they find themselves, or the lessons they learn. Emotions are tweaked; there are smiles and snickers, anxious breathing and sighs of relief. There are moments of triumph, but more let downs and defeats. After all, people do not learn as much from their victories as from their defeats.
All in all, a good read, a nostalgic memory of growing up, and even, perhaps, a sneak preview of our destiny.
Clabe Polk is into a second career as a fiction author. He has taken more than thirty-seven years of professional managerial experience, scientific background, a lifetime of practical skills, his love of reading, research and writing and combined them into action stories about real people told in a tongue-in-cheek style all his own.
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