Solid satire built on a deliciously farcical plot; only chumps would miss it.

READ REVIEW

Chump

In Reeves’ debut satire on race relations in America, white medical student Beau Peebles can’t help but be overly involved in his poor, black patients’ lives.

“This book is nothing if not a coming-of-age story,” says Beau, a narrator always aware that he’s writing his “true” story and that you’re reading it. His story is much more than a man’s life; it’s a satirical look at philosophy, the health care industry, socioeconomics and, above all, race relations. Leaving Princeton’s ivory-tower idealism to begin his third year of medical school rotations at a clinic in a not-so-great part of Dallas, Beau is overwhelmed by the poor people he serves. After delivering a baby to a 15-year-old girl, struggling to comprehend her life and afraid that he will spend the rest of his career despising the people he serves, Beau says: “I also learned at Princeton that if one disliked someone or something…it was probably owed to ignorance. Conversely, if one achieved understanding, one ceased to dislike. Or ceased to judge or to fear.” Compelled to understand, Beau lies about a government study and moves in with the girl’s family in the projects, intending to stay as long as possible while using his Family Therapy for African-Americans textbook as a guide. From there, Beau’s odyssey only gets weirder as he expands African-American observation to include emulation with the help of a liberal amount of shoe polish and the shortening of his name to “Bo.” Meanwhile, Beau’s pursuit of a pretty girl gets him involved with a cadre of actors and artists who embark on lengthy debates about philosophy and Tocqueville’s complex view of America. Beau uses notes to jog his memory, written on everything from hospital forms to candy bar wrappers, which he shares in the text along with rap lyrics and poetry. It’s a unique, useful format that allows Reeves the room he needs to explore and explain, letting readers hear the follies of the younger Beau while gaining the wisdom of his months-older self. Reeves also uses the format as a way of showing, in unflattering detail, how invasive and Orwellian the double-think of political correctness can be. Everything from the augmented stream-of-consciousness style to Bo’s attempts at an African-American dialect is brilliantly done, though some sections go on longer than necessary. Frequently funny and always uncomfortably honest, this book knows it will offend some readers but sits at the front of the bus anyway.

Solid satire built on a deliciously farcical plot; only chumps would miss it.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0989414012

Page Count: -

Publisher: Reeves Publications

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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