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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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Flowers for Algernon: Student Edition
Flowers for Algernon: Student Edition
by Daniel Keyes
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.07
63 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$ 9.99

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$ 7.99

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$ 2.99

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$ 1.29

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..........

Trail of Broken Wings
Trail of Broken Wings
Price: CDN$ 6.41

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Domestic abuse; the hidden tragedy of family life..............., Sept. 6 2015
Having worked as a therapist throughout my career with similar families I found that the purpose and goal of this novel to be quite intriguing. The tragedy of domestic abuse in families is far more common place than society allows itself to realize. While the thrust of the novel, for the most part, was terribly and frighteningly real, there were a few instances which it stretches the imagination to the breaking point. A male dominated society, such as India, does produce a high number of abusive husbands and fathers, this cannot be denied. This same society, however, also produces an equally high number of enabling women who ignore or repress what is occurring due to their own battered self-esteem or sadistic view of themselves. While the tale shows that all three of the daughters were psychologically damaged it does not show the most common trait that siblings from such an environment obtain, that is a continuation of this abuse after establishing their own independent lives. Abusive families generally produce the next generation of abusive families. During childhood this becomes the 'norm' and, being so, is adapted by the offspring when the attain the 'power' position in the role of parent and adult. Seldom, however, would the female in the original situation carry out a homicide as Ranee did in this case. This person would be too overwrought with guilt to allow their repressed anger to surface to this degree. And, likewise, because this level of abuse had been repressed so deeply by the family for the mother and daughters to openly discuss its occurrence at a latter date is also highly unlikely. Lastly, the novel ends on a 'happily ever after' note. This, too, is highly unlikely for the burden of decades of physical, psychological and sexual abuse of this nature seldom leaves any of the offspring with even scant hope of attaining a moderate level of peace let alone happiness.......................

One Step Too Far: A Novel
One Step Too Far: A Novel
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars middle/beginning/conclusion; a unique sequence of telling a story........., Aug. 29 2015
While admittedly I am neither a fan of mysteries nor of fiction in general, I found this to be an intriguing read, nonetheless. As the old saying goes; "Everyone has one good tale to tell.", Ms. Seskis did have a 'good tale' by reaching into the depths of her soul and, thereby, creating a wonderful story. Unlike most linear stories, this one starts from the middle, goes back to its beginning and then concludes with a complimentary ending. While some readers may have found this to be a bit confusing not only are they the same readers who fail to offer any work and compassion into what they read but this interrupted manner of presenting the story gave us the ability to attempt to put the reasons together for the story long before their actuality is explained to us. Bravo, Ms. Seskis, a brilliant decision to present the story in this manner...........

The One I Was
The One I Was
Price: CDN$ 5.14

4.0 out of 5 stars We all carry with us the regrets from our past..........., Aug. 20 2015
This review is from: The One I Was (Kindle Edition)
This is a somewhat complex novel that examines the life of two unlikely characters that exist two generations apart. While the thrust of the writings is one of their past regrets one is also attracted to them as people due to their constant striving to overcome their past sins. The characterizations are fully developed and the novel provides a few twists and turns that are somewhat surprising. The only fault in the novel lies in the fact that we are never made aware of how Benny was eventually able to afford the estate in question. A minor glitch but a glitch nonetheless

Between the World and Me
Between the World and Me
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 15.99

2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unresoved anger only leads to more of the same.................., Aug. 5 2015
Let me first state that our author does have a unique ability of stringing words together to form a pleasant and telling sentence structure making it a enjoyable read. But, words are not only created to make the reading of them a pleasant process, they are created for their overall and eventual meaning. It is this area that I wish to explore.

I was disappointed in the reading of this text for it showed me that the resolution of our racism issues in the US have much farther to go than I had hoped. I was, in fact, hoping to read of an immerging resolution from a renowned black author but what I perused instead was the perseverance of black on white and white on black anger. Can I blame the author for this outlook? Certainly not for the on-going hatred of the white supremacists has not only gone on far too long but seems to be elevating at this point in history. Alas, our author offers no magic pill, mantra or training course for all of us to ingest to stop our abhorrent behavior towards one another. Police brutality, racist violence and ongoing pervasive prejudice seems to flood our airways and saturate our daily news with its bloodshed and hatred. Has this been brought about through our election of our first black President? In part, most certainly so. To a white supremacist it is one thing to ‘force oneself’ to intermingle with an ‘inferior race’ and it is entirely another to see the red, white and blue be led by a person who fully represents their on going and irrational hatred. How does the author respond to this white anger? With anger that is returned in kind.

No, I am certainly not proposing that the black culture of our country meet the white violence with forgiveness and contrition as some religious figures seem to encourage. No, their lives have been shattered through no fault of their own and other people’s actions against them should not be met with faithful prayers until the perpetrators humbly realize the depth of their abuse and beg for that forgiveness. We cannot allow them to continue to hide behind the thin blue line formed by the brotherhood of the police nor let them retreat under the shadows of bed sheets and Confederate flags. It is the perpetrators of this national hatred who need to make the necessary changes and not the victims themselves.

We, as a society, have a great deal of resolution that needs to take place before complete integration and equality can truly be met. Unfortunately movements towards this peaceful resolve are thwarted daily by the likes of FOX News, Rush Limbaugh and the like. Hatred and prejudice spews forth from their voices like ice pellets during a winter storm and, most disturbingly, is received by an audience that welcome their parallel and hateful perceptions of non-white cultures. They have been preaching their unholy mantra for over two decades and their disciples have dutifully responded. When and how will this ever cease or reach the level of equilibrium that rational Americans so desperately seek? The only hopes that we grasp tightly is the fact that the older, white male population must face the omega of life that we all must face; death and with it comes their generation of hatred coming to an end. Sadly, however, we have been stating this factoid as a truism for over two centuries. Will it ever become a reality? Maybe not, but that should serve as an impetus to reach a racial accord through other peaceful means and gentle accords ......

Resurrection (Xist Classics)
Resurrection (Xist Classics)
Price: CDN$ 1.26

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A major disappointment from a renowned author.........., Aug. 1 2015
After having read all of Tolstoy's infamous works I turned to this book expecting the same great moralistic treatment as before. All of the horror of peasant life was presented in a clear, if not somewhat exaggerated, fashion. Then the author brings in a clearly defined hero who was making strong attempts to undo the harms he had caused to vulnerable persons throughout his life. And, lastly, a damaged heroine was presented as an extremely attractive maiden who was struggling within her class structure to do her best with the difficulties that her life had presented her with. The atonement for previous sins upon our fair maiden was given by the Prince but kindly rejected. This brought about a new realm of possible resolution between the individuals of different social classes. At last, I triumphed, Tolstoy will again take the high moral ground and reach a universal truth that can be applied to us all. Alas, I was totally wrong! The last chapter of "Resurrection" has our Prince turning to the New Testament as the answer to all of the abuses that mankind suffers from!

This is more than disappointing for it is simply another meek attempt to seek out easy answers to very difficult problems and, as time has shown, Christianity is not the answer at to man's inhumanity towards his fellow men. In most cases it is just the opposite when you view the Crusades, the Inquisition and present-day Eastern conflicts. It is simply a 'feel good' answer where the person practicing the church's dogma is led to believe that through prayer and Bible study the world is righting itself from its previous wrongs. In fact, little, if anything, is changing at all because of any religion. Because our Prince was a man of privilege, he was also a man of great power and authority. Tolstoy should have used this mechanism to induce social change downward rather than having him hide under a prayer shawl hoping that things turn out OK.

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