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Profile for Ronald W. Maron > Reviews

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Content by Ronald W. Maron
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Reviews Written by
Ronald W. Maron "pilgrim" (Nova Scotia)
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Cannery Row
Cannery Row
by John Steinbeck
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.20
80 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Stenbeck....., Nov. 13 2015
If you enter Steinbeck's world and are expected an intertwining and complex plot, or to be enthralled with the novel's direction or are waiting for a hero or heroine to emerge, you will be sadly disappointed. If, on the other hand, you seek to learn about the lives of those who live on the edges of a community, or how, in spite of their quirky behavior, everyone emotionally supports one another or are simply seeking happiness and peace amidst the squalor of life, America's true author, John Steinbeck, will supply a tear for your eye, a bit of warmth for your heart and a smile for your soul.......


The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.19
42 used & new from CDN$ 4.17

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical suicidal situation.........., Nov. 9 2015
This review is from: The Bell Jar (Paperback)
Having worked most of adult life in the field of mental health, I found this autobiographical novel to be quite disturbing. No, it is not because the author, herself, eventually committed suicide for that is the decision that person who see no other alternative to their life sometimes reach. The part that was troubling was not only the destructive attitude which she lived but her continual reinforcement of these attitudes in spite of the numerous persons who were there to guide her in a different direction. She was highly narcissistic and did little or nothing to remove herself from the spotlight of her own imaginings. There was no internal movement on her part towards self-examination and, thereby, examining alternatives to her destructive, selfish thought patterns. She went through the various levels of treatment as if she were a mere character in a public play in which she played a role but never fully understood the depth of the character nor the implications that this role had on her personal life. Likewise, her personal single mindedness never seemed to have her question what effect her suicide would have on her children or husband. That is quite unusual. It was as if she no longer could get an institution to fund her life quests and, therefore, her life was useless and, therefore, should be ended without pomp nor circumstance. Lastly, clients with which I have dealt who had suicidal ideations have had longstanding chronic patterns of depression (which were lacking with this author) and none had the positive social nor familial connections that she did. These clients, truly, worked very diligently to move beyond these thoughts and perceive the world in a manner which would provide them with hope and meaning and, therefore, continued to live life in a far healthier manner.
Dare I say that the author committed suicide in order to attain the literary accolades that she could not attain in her lifetime? It is quite possible............


God, You Sexy Devil: Exposing The Greatest Lie Ever Told
God, You Sexy Devil: Exposing The Greatest Lie Ever Told
Price: CDN$ 3.86

4.0 out of 5 stars In spite of a horrendous title and cover, a good read nonetheless..........., Nov. 4 2015
A retitling of this book and cover display would encourage a larger group of serious readers to purchase this essay. As it is now, it is far more exotic than it is a reflection on spirituality!

Over the past three thousand years we have been the subject of persons who feel led to write a inspirational or directional manuals. While some of these may actually be what they claim to be, most are not. From the Jewish tribal writings of the Old Testament to English medium reportings to Neale Donald Walsch to channelings of Seth to John Edwards and now to the writings of, Rohit Juneja, an author from India, the concept has gone on for ages and is not a modern phenomenon. None of us, myself included, can validate these writings as being actual nor discount them as merely being a delusional sham. We do not have the ability to do that living in a 3-D, physical and non-spiritual world. What we can do, however, is to read them with a bit of trepidation and, by doing so, examine the similarities in the discourse and then examining how many pass the 'common-sense smell test'. It would be asinine to label these writings as simply being evil and/or satanic. Whenever we so something of this nature we limit our abilities to see reality and the fullness of its existence. That would be sophomoric and to our own folly. Only time will reveal which are actual and which are false.............


Elsewhere
Elsewhere
by Gabrielle Zevin
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.84
117 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars The worst attempt at a fantasy novel I have ever encountered..........., Oct. 24 2015
This review is from: Elsewhere (Paperback)
The only thing positive I have to say about this novel is the fact that I came to realize that I had the tenacity and stamina to see it through to its bitter end! It's title should have been "How To Take an Intriguing Idea and Produce a Total Mockery Of It." After having written a quality piece such as "The Storied Life of AJ Fikrey", I feel Ms. Zevin would have been better served to hit the 'delete' button on her word processor rather than to send this sophomoric attempt at fantasy off to her publisher. Any English teacher who forces her class to read this well known atrocity is equally as mindless.
The only persons who may be interested in this tale would be those who have never given a single thought to what happens (if anything) after they die. Trust me; This is not the road map to eternal life............


The Heart Goes Last: A Novel
The Heart Goes Last: A Novel
by Margaret Atwood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.67
11 used & new from CDN$ 9.90

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tiptoeing from one deviant act to the next...................., Oct. 21 2015
At times, during my difficult stroll through this novel, I felt like the pimple-faced Sophomore whose English teacher is telling the class what a joy and treasure it must have been to have read "The Canterbury Tales" that she assigned. I, like my Sophomore friend, thinks that the latest Atwood novel is both lurid and ridiculous and further wonders if the teacher (or the other reviewers) are talking about the same book that I just read!

While I have admired most of the author's previous submissions, this novel, is in a word, "godawful!". Atwood's present interpretation of dystopia is a diffuse world that has no values or morals whatsoever. In this perverse series of delusions we skip from one lurid sexual fantasy to another and from one meaningless and empty relationship to the next. In the end, we are then led to believe that this whole disgusting pantomime may have simply been in our own mind all along and that our only goal in life should be overt sexual freedom to do what we wish with whoever comes along next. Shame on you Margaret, you could have done so much better.....................


Flowers for Algernon: Student Edition
Flowers for Algernon: Student Edition
by Daniel Keyes
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.07
64 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A novel that cries out for group discussion..........., Oct. 18 2015
"Classic" novels are very difficult to analyze. Daniel Keyes's presentation is no exception. While I agree with some of the numerous points that the other reviewers have made, I was actually expecting much more from a novel with this degree of renown. Yes, we can clearly see the inhumanity to one's fellow man through the berating of Charlie by his fellow workers and, yes, we can see that intellectualism on its own is not the secret to the happiness we seek throughout our lives. But, the author clearly identifies the period where Charlie's intellect was the highest as being the first time he experienced personal happiness while, at the same time, his emotional and spiritual portions of himself are totally shut down and/or repressed. Is this the greatest evolutionary advancement any of us can expect? Also there is a very negative tone to the tale whereby the retarded Charlie and the intellectual Charlie are nearly the same person; both are sealed off from the norm due to their unique (in)abilities and show themselves to be terribly lonely persons.
I would like to leave this tale with a further thought; Is this, in actuality, a universal story of each of our lives? As children we are uninformed and intellectually immature. As learning adults while attaining new and important knowledge aren't we forced to bid farewell to the less informed people in our lives? And, lastly, as we approach the end of our lives doesn't our consciousness become fogged over as we forget things that used to be so critical to us? Maybe Charlie and each of us is actually synonymous. Also, doesn't this tale, as a whole, represent the futility of life that we all fee? Do we not constantly struggle with balancing the psychological, intellectual, physical and spiritual aspects of ourselves? Do we ever enter a phase where all these aspects are in perfect harmony? I think not.....................


Pretty Baby
Pretty Baby
Price: CDN$ 8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Number 2 is Seldom as Good as Number 1.............., Oct. 11 2015
This review is from: Pretty Baby (Kindle Edition)
While an average author may have only a single noteworthy story that resides within them, a good author has more than one. Ms. Kubica is a good author and while this tale does not measure up to her first novel, it is good nonetheless. Her first person singular writing style has us quickly identifying with the characters and her story telling around these characterizations is quite fluid and gripping. The only difference this novel fails in from the first is that the plotline is less interesting and intriguing than 'The Good Girl'.


The Good Girl
The Good Girl
Price: CDN$ 7.69

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Standard for Novice Writers to closely follow............, Oct. 3 2015
This review is from: The Good Girl (Kindle Edition)
My history of being a Critical Analyst;
Throughout my educational pursuits I had the English Departments of two separate Universities strongly encouraging me to enter the field of literary critical analysis. Even though they had published some of my works and had given me numerous avenues and accolades, my youthful professional heart laid elsewhere and this venture never came to pass. Amazon reviews, however, has given me, at long last, the opportunity to resurrect and express this latent talent. If you wish to review other analyses I have written you will find that I am highly critical of most writings, including some that have been labeled as being ‘classics’. I review authors for both the quality and content of their works and not for their popularity.

That being said, this work is one of the finest pieces of fictional literature that I have encountered for quite some time. The author, Mary Kubica, has extraordinary talent in the areas that an astute analyst would examine:

1. Character development: Using First Person Singular through three important, although tertiary, characters you not only are allowed inside their consciousness of these characters but can feel their anxieties and the mendacity of their lives in general.
2. Shifting time frames: Most adequate authors can define a person more clearly through a series of flashbacks. This author does it in the unique manner of doing it before the victim is found and after the victim is located. By using this technique through the eyes of three different characters and doing it in an unpredictable manner the reader is forced to pay strict attention to the plot line and, thereby, engulfing themselves deeper and deeper into the story itself.
3. The Classic Ending: Edgar Allen Poe has long held the banner for being the classic standard bearer because of the ending of his tales. Alfred Hitchcock, and now Ms. Kubica, have followed his example very closely. Poe’s standard is that after what appears to have been an drawn out conclusion, he ends the story quickly but in the process he takes the reader to one logical conclusion, then to another and, finally, leads them to a finale that only the works original title slightly hinted at. In this case the title was “The Good Girl” with the single ‘r’ being reversed.

I will say, in finality, that anyone who does not find this novel to rate ‘5 Stars’ that your reading skills do not nearly match the superb writing skills that the author has created for you. If you do not agree with this statement please take a course on fictional writing standards.....................


Saving Amelie
Saving Amelie
Price: CDN$ 9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Questionable propaganda sprinkeled with overt evangelism................, Sept. 22 2015
This review is from: Saving Amelie (Kindle Edition)
This novel has two major problems:
#1. There is a vast difference between writing 'historical fiction' and writing 'fictional history'. Sadly this novel falls into the last category. While I certainly recognize the oppressive influence of Hitler's Nazi Germany, I strongly feel that the author took the abusive actions on their own citizenry to the ultimate extreme. While this may add a bit of excitement or gloom to the overall story line, it is highly questionable that the political system was ignorant enough to carry all of these actions out. If they did, how could the great majority of the German people show their support for the government as they historically did? This novel has the Nazi government making enemies out of its own citizens and no such actions could have taken place to the degree that the author intimates. Yes, the Jews were blamed for the economic instability of the country but to say that all Germans were in equal fear of Hitler's actions is completely erroneous.
#2. As you delve into this novel one-half way through you will find yourself immersed in an evangelical Christian theme that becomes quite enveloping. I certainly have no problem with the what, who, or why of an individual's belief system but novels should not be used to convert the readers into a religion which the author is practicing. Faith, after all. is the belief in something that probably is not true. And while faith can give a person a sense of peace and/or solace during difficult times it may only serve as a vehicle to bring out a person's innate bravery and abilities. There are a large number of Christian publishing companies where novels of this type can be printed and this type of writing. I am sure there are flocks of Christians who wish to read about how faith overcame the Nazi armies......


Babbitt (Xist Classics)
Babbitt (Xist Classics)
Price: CDN$ 1.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Conformity makes cowards of us all..............., Sept. 12 2015
No, this is not in the fast-paced style of Elmer Gantry. Instead it is the slow, plodding and revealing style that is reflective of most of Lewis's other works. Mr. Babbitt is the ultimate person of conformity. He has patterned his life after the 'Great American Dream' and, by doing so, finds himself as the ultimate Conservative, a staunch pillar of his community, a constant achiever and a people-pleaser at al -costs. While attempting to live out this mundane, yet respected, life style Babbitt, like the restless human soul we all are, begins to challenge this lifestyle by living in the opposing manner of local mores in order to appease his unhappiness. While his needs and wants are more mindfully met in this arena he becomes highly disturbed that his public personae is becoming damaged by his supposed recklessness. After realizing that he cannot take the pleasures from both worlds at the same time he retreats back into the sanguine person he was. Destined to be unhappy by this move he, art novel's end, encourages his youngest son to go against the social mores that he tried to defeat and ultimately failed at..........


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