Monday, January 9, 2012

You're Never Alone reviewed by Fran Lewis

You’re Never Alone
Author: Philip Nork
Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Journeys in life take us on many paths and traveling down numerous paths. Some paths more rocky than others while others lead the traveler to forks in the road where decisions need to be made and the direction to proceed carefully assessed before choosing the one to follow. You’re Never Alone: simple statement yet complicated and profound in its meaning. Each person we meet in life can impact our vision of ourselves, the way we reflect on who were are or our understanding of how others see or perceive us. Life will send you many curve balls and not everything will turn out in a perfect or positive way. The results will definitely vary according to the individual situations. As you read each of the stories in this book, meet each person in each chapter you will understand how actions, words and simple kindnesses can change the way a person sees, views and responds to you.

Author Philip Nork begins by relating to the reader the impact on his life when his father left home and his mother needed to create a life for herself and her three children. Instead of crawling into a deep dark shell she became his champion. Divorce hurts children in their own way. Some even blame themselves for their parent’s failures or when one leaves. Often others strike out at the remaining parent. Philip was blessed. He had a grandmother who truly understood him, taught him some valuable lessons in life that he has carried on through adulthood. Teaching him how to accept the world, as it is, being sensitive to others and showing others simple kindnesses, would get him through life and the hard times too. As she stated,”Treatin people with the respect they deserve is the best way to get into heaven.” Religion played and still does a heavy part in his life. I love what she taught him when she explained that he would meet many people in his life and that being different, sincere and making the other person feel special, especially girls were important. Where is his grandma today to teach that lesson to the young men today? Losing her changes his life and made him question his belief and faith in God.

Let’s meet the different people in each chapter that impacted his life, changed his directions and helped him to become the caring, sensitive and kind man he is today. You’re Never Alone: if you allow people into your life.

Let’s meet Jenna a young girl our author met in the first grade and whose friendship she still holds dear today as he shares his memories form the past even thought their paths have not crossed fro a long time. Jenna was pretty, popular and kind. Inviting him to her birthday party cemented their friendship. Phil loved to sing and his favorite song was and still is Up Up and Away, which he sang to Jenna at her party and at other times. To celebrate her birthday she had each on her friends choose a partner and take their balloons, tie them together and let them go up into the sky sending with their balloons hope that their wishes would come true. When she moved things changed but a change encounter in the 6th grade and another in High School would create a friendship that would stay with him forever. One small gesture can leave a positive or negative result on another person. He can still hear his Nana’s voice saying: “Treatin girls special- being different.”
There many people that he meets a long the way and that he tells the reader about as he takes his journey through life. But, I am going to choose just a few and the rest you need to meet on your own by taking the journey along with this reader and with Phil back in time to where it all began.

Nancie, Lisa, Sally and Julie D. come into his life. All four girls were different. All four girls having the same goals. Each seeking a lasting friendship, acceptance and wanting to be treated with respect. His parent’s divorce played heavily on him and yet his concern for others never changed. Phil kept his inner most fears and personal live within himself. Certain things he did not share with his friends. Bowling, Scouts, Little League and group activities were suppose to help foster and build his self-confidence and esteem. But, he still felt isolated, alone and filled his world with books, music and trying to understand his feelings and emotions playing havoc with him.

Chuck and Janet came into his life next. Chuck was the typical all American and his girlfriend Janet just really pretty and sweet. Chuck and Phil were never to be friends and when Phil shows him the right way to bob an apple well you figure out the rest as Chuck learns a lesson he just might never forget. Appearances can often be deceiving.

At the end of each chapter or story the author adds a lesson learned and reminds the reader of those he learned in the previous stories. Fitting in with others his own age and being able to understand his shortcomings and that of others is the true message related in this book. Physical attributes should not be what people focus their attention on when deciding to be your friend. This is difficult for any adolescent to handle.  Do you often wonder what would happen if everyone in the world got along, was polite and actually said good morning?

Let’s continue with our journey but not before reminding the reader of the strong relationship he had with her Nana and that losing her changed his life. Her lessons remained with him so that responding to the needs, wishes and feelings of these he met helped him create lifelong friendships and through difficult times. Teaching Phil to accept himself for who he was and is was a really strong lesson and the fact it stayed with him a testament to her memory.

An illness would bring his Nana into his mind and he would once again hear her voice, the lessons she taught him and the importance of caring for others. Hearing her voice would renew his faith in God and give him the strength to keep going.
Author Phil Nork presents a heartwarming, heartfelt, and straight from the heart story of his life. Caring, always putting the feelings of others first he travels life’s highway in his own unique way.

Girls played a strong part in his life as each chapter or story centers around a different one. Each enters his life, teaching him an important lesson helping to enlighten his way and strengthen his path. As I have said before this book would make a great handbook for young people to read and learn how to embrace and deal with their differences.

With the help of a friend he reinvented his style in the seventh grade but the outcome and reaction of his classmates was not what he expected. Yet, the final outcome might surprise the reader. Imagine what happens when he meets Barbara and Claire and decides to be in a school play. Things begin to change for him as he realizes his hidden talents.

Confidence is hard and when he tries out for the basketball team he realizes that some things will never change.

Friendships are important and losing a friend that helped him get through hard times really sent him back to where he was for a while. But, playing goalie on the soccer team would draw the girls towards him and help boost his self- confidence.

Phil grew in more ways than one when he met Lisa who helped him get over going on his first real date. But, some relationships are met to remain as they were before and along with his friend Billy he decided to ask Mary out. Billy and Mary did not seem like a perfect fit and what Mary would teach him just might change his life and the way he looked at himself. Mary would start the ball rolling but when she moved away it left him empty and feeling alone again until he began working at the Burger Shack with Joyce. Joyce was an amazing manager and had a group of friends that enjoyed skating at the Pink Rink. These ladies were lesbians and Phil was readily accepted by them and taken under their special protective wing. Makeover, clothes shopping and teaching him to accept himself for who and what he is was a great gift taught by these girls and especially Joyce. During the day he was introverted Phil and at night he was with Joyce and her friends a totally different person. But, Phil was losing sight of himself and one thing that Lisa said should have been heard loud and clear: start thinking about what you truly want and need? What would Nana expect of him? What would this life of experiencing different women and different intimacy’s due to the kind, caring and understand man he was supposed to become? What about Phil? Why just focus on the needs of women? Why not his needs too? Would that be considered selfish? From the time he photographed the cheerleaders and began to hear the voices of others Phil really grew in more ways than one. What I really loved was when he presented each girl with those special roses. Yellow for friendship, white for respect, red means you love that person and they really rock your world and of course when losing a friend: Purple. Roses are special. My Dad would give my mom one long stem red rose for every special occasion or just because he loved her. Roses hold a special place in my heart as I had one long stem rose engraved on my mom’s stone when she passed away in March.

Phil had many relationships that were positive and some negative trying to never lose sight of himself or the needs of others. Many different girls came into his life and some used him for their own gratification and purposes. Some friendships would remain while others would fade. But, when Phil closes his eyes as he is listening to Rod Stewart, he hears his Nana’s voice reminding him of the lessons that he has learned and what life still holds for him. The story ends when Phil reaches age 18 but his life has just begun and his the choices he makes on the road to self-discovery are still unknown. Coming full circle with many issues teens and young people face today, author Phil Nork really gives readers much pause for thought and teens many important life lessons what he lists on pages 251-252 that you can read for yourself and apply to your own life. Hear his voice and the voices of the many girls he meets. Take this journey and you definitely won’t be disappointed.

I never give stars when rating a book:

I give this book FIVE YELLOW ROSES SYMBOLIZING FRIENDSHIP and one more just from me. I would be honored to be your friend.

Fran Lewis Reviewer

I saved these from last time. Let’s give you five white roses too.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

No comments:

Post a Comment