“...when the words pour out of you just right, you understand that these sentences are all part of a river flowing out of your own distant, hidden ran...more“...when the words pour out of you just right, you understand that these sentences are all part of a river flowing out of your own distant, hidden ranges, and all words become the dissolving snow that feeds your mountain streams forever. The language locks itself in the icy slopes of our own high passes, and it is up to us, the writers, to melt the glaciers within us. When these glaciers break off, we get to call them novels, the changelings of our burning spirits, our life's work.” ― Pat Conroy, My Reading Life (less)
This is the true story of Jose Hernadez and his journey from migrant farm-help to astronaut. Jose is the 4th child of a very loving Mexican couple who...moreThis is the true story of Jose Hernadez and his journey from migrant farm-help to astronaut. Jose is the 4th child of a very loving Mexican couple who taught him (and his siblings) that education is the ticket to fulfilling your dreams. His parents had him work on the farms when he wasn't in school so he could 'see his future'. If he didn't want to be a farm worker his whole life, it was schooling that would help him out of that life.
The writing needs some more editing especially during the first part of the book. He would jump from topic to topic in the same paragraph. But if i were in gr. 5 or 6, I probably wouldn't notice that! Fortunately it is not so choppy that the real message gets lost.
This is an optimisitic book that says: if I can do it, so can you. He does keep reiterating that it's hard work, persistance, determination as well as a dream that make dreams come true. He tells the stories of his childhood friends who didn't take advantage of their educational opportunities and never broke the bonds of poverty.
Sometimes, tho, his simple formula of: dream, education, hard work & determination is just that: simple. He doesn't talk of unexpected illlnesses that cut short dreams and steal finances, or of mass unemployment where newly graduated university students (like my son) can't find a job that uses their skills. Not that he should be dumping cold water on the dreams of children, so I don't know how to answer this dilemna myself.
All in all a very nice read for preteens and teens who need to believe the world goes right if you believe and work hard.
Congradulations Mr. Hernandez on your incredible life!
BTW, I got this book free from Goodread's Giveaway.(less)
I won this book on goodreads' giveaway. It's a great book; gave me lots to think about. I've read it twice since i got it!
Brek's life is just fine- or...moreI won this book on goodreads' giveaway. It's a great book; gave me lots to think about. I've read it twice since i got it!
Brek's life is just fine- or so she thinks. Her law practise is going well and her husband just did a fantastic job bringing down an educator who was funneling schools' cash to a Nazi Supremist group. Her little baby girl is adorable. The family's biggest problem is getting to the day care center on time to pick Sarah up before the 6 pm deadline and the $5./ min. pick-up fee begins.
Driving home from the daycare one night (Brek just made it by 6pm), she finds herself bloody and without her daughter sitting in an abandoned train station. What just happened? Brek's memory refuses to tell her anything beyond stopping at the store for some milk.
Luas shows up and tells Brek she is in Shemaya because she is dead and now she will be a lawyer to present souls at the Final Judgement of God. She is taken to her Nana's house to rest and recouperate and get acclimatized to her new life.
Brek refuses to believe she is dead, but at the same time is glad her daughter isn't with her- so IF she's dead, at least she knows her daughter is safely alive. She misses her husband Bo so much.
Nana tells her that the people she will meet will help her figure out what happened to get her here or help her to get ready to 'move on'.
Brek reviews her memories of her life, including why she lost one arm and why she is SO interested in justice- both for herself and for others. Justice is THE most important thing on earth- or in heaven... or is it?
Brek discovers that she can feel other souls' memories and experience their thots and feelings at the time of an event. The problem is, is that most people aren't saints (who go directly to heaven, without needing the judgement) or horrific people ( who go directly to hell, no lawyers needed there, either) but people who have done both good and bad things. The lawyers are needed to present each soul's case before God. So people have a 'fair' trial. Brek discovers tho, that many cases don't show both the good and the bad of a soul's life, but just the bad. She doesn't think that is fair and is determined to be an impartial attorney...until she meets her first client.
The book is full of questions about the usefulness of 'justice'/ punishments, revenge and retaliation and forgiveness.
Great story, fast-paced, with real-world implications. Biblical stories and references are used in a thot-provoking manner to make the reader (as well as Brek) think about their own views of justice, mercy and forgiveness.
My only complaint is that the book binding didn't hold together very well. Hopefully that will be corrected before they go for publication!(less)