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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Book Review + Giveaway (Open Worldwide): Notes to Stephanie... by Jeff Turner

This little gem has love and life Notes worth marking so you can return to them and contemplate another day.

Notes To Stephanie: Middle Aged Love Letters And Life Stories  by Jeff Turner


  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Jeffery W Turner (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615323529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615323527
     Genre: Non-fiction, Contemplative
     My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
Product Description
Young adults are not the only ones that fall in love and get married. People in their middle age do that too. This book is the story of one such couple as told by the "notes" written by the husband to his wife. These notes are not just love notes but also tell the tale of how life tests people and how its events sometimes feel overwhelming. They also show how couples do get through difficult times and proceed on through their lives, not knowing to what destination many times. If you sometimes wonder if you are the only one over 40 with a difficult adult child, a conflict at work, or something else trying your patience, you are not alone. You will also know that life is also good, and sometimes filled with hope and love. Even for a brief time. These tales of life's events and stories that we all share are contained in these pages, these "notes to Stephanie".

Review: This book reminds me a bit of the days when I would gaze at the sky and wonder about life.  It is an unusual work - not a novel but a journal of sorts. It is a chronological compilation of love and life notes from the middle-aged author to his sweetheart, then wife, over a period of two and a half years.

The beginning notes are filled with the upbeat enthusiasm of newly infatuated love.  Throughout the collection there are encouraging observations on life and family, observing both the ups and downs.  There is star gazing and rainbow dreaming. Like life, it isn’t all hearts and flowers as there are times of stress and “fussing” as the author calls the friction going on at times in the family relationships.

Although the details are not discussed, the letters make it clear that the (mostly) grown children were not thrilled by the marriage between their parents.  This of course creates a source of stress and sadness. Also job stresses, holiday stresses  and resulting tensions are commented on.

I want to share some titles and summaries to give you a small idea of the depth of the notes and the empathy and pathos they can evoke.

In April 2007 a note is entitled “Beads.”  The author compares life to a string of beads sort of like “life is like a box of chocolates.” He points out that beads are all different sizes and quality;  some are flawed and some beautiful. Each of us has our own unique strand of beads that we choose to wear as our life experiences.

In March 2007 there is an entry entitled “Our Dance Step.” The title itself brings a picture to mind. The author discusses the couple learning to dance the two-step for an event. Then he likens that to how they are learning their “own dance step” in their new marriage together.

The January 19, 2009 note is entitled “The Other Side of the Sky.” The author comments on the sadness of his daughter when they visit her at college.  As they drive away he observes the cloud layer and notes that our lives are like the cloud cover and “the past is always on the other side of life’s sky, not ever to be the same again.”

Some of the later notes have a bit more cynicism and almost depressed tone to them. It seems apparent that the author is struggling with difficult times.  The book comes to a rather sudden end and I was sorry to close it.

I liked reading a few days at a time, soaking up the exuberance and joy or the questioning and observations of life’s cycles and struggles. If you enjoy contemplating life, even as seen through the eyes of another family, I think you would enjoy this unique and lovely book.


Thank you to Jeff for this fine book to read and review.
Jeff has also provided THREE copies of  Notes To Stephanie: Middle Aged Love Letters And Life Stories for me to Giveaway.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
Please leave your e-mail with at least one comment!
YOU MUST DO #1 or #2 TO ENTER Please.
1. Visit the author's website and tell me something you learned there. One Entry.

2.  Check out Jeff's interesting photo gallery and tell me if there is a particular photo that you like.  Three Entries.

3. For an extra entry, become a follower or tell me if you are already a follower.

4. For two extra entries, blog, facebook, tweet (any of those networks!) about this giveaway and tell me where you did.

5.  For five extra entries comment on the interview post or ask a question at that post.

(Twelve total entries possible.)
It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.

* I decided I wanted to share this opportunity with my overseas followers/visitors so this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE.  I will mail ONE book to an international winner and the other TWO will go to US or Canadian winners..
* No P.O. Boxes Please - for shipping reasons.
* This contest will close 10:00 PM (Central) on November 12, 2010. The winners will be randomly selected from all entries.  THREE WINNERS!

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