Interview with Jack Eadon, Author of “A Consequence of Greed”

INTERVIEW WITH JACK EADON


A Consequence of Greed

Jack Eadon
Eloquence Press (2014)
ISBN 9780982495421
Reviewed by Jennifer Hass for Reader Views

Article first published as Interview: Jack Eadon, Author of ‘A Consequence of Greed’ on Blogcritics.

After a variety of successful careers and a challenging medical history, Jack Eadon writes and does his art to capture life’s beauty and a person’s struggle through it to prevail.

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Susan: Hi Jack, Thank you for visiting with me. As a fan of your work, I am really excited to catch up and find out what you have been up since we last met. At that time, you were working on the first two books in your seven-book American Drama Series about your alter ego, Marcus Ramsey. Where are you in the series? Are you working on book three? Do you plan to continue to follow Marcus’ life up to the seventh book?

Jack: Hi Susan, nice to talk to you again! A lot has been going on. I’ve finished book one, Head Trip and book two, A Consequence of Greed, which takes Marcus Ramsay into his thirties. Now, he has relocated to Southern California and has changed careers totally to an advertising photographer. Book three, Latent Image is about his time in California, where he gets embroiled in a romance/who-dun-it that actually has a character who temporarily can’t talk! Imagine writing dialogue for someone who doesn’t talk! The character was inspired by my late distant cousin in the UK, who lost his voice box and tongue to throat cancer. Phil fought valiantly and gave me the perspective I needed to make my character real.

Latent Image was originally conceived after I had read Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, for the sixth time, my favorite novel. F. Scott is a mentor of mine, so the plot in Latent Image is rich with visual descriptors but thin on prose, like Hemingway, and very intricately structured. It’ll be one of those books you’ll have to read twice, or maybe six times, just to enjoy all the “reveal pellets” I’ve dropped for you along the way. The ending will be a real surprise! No fair reading ahead!

Susan: Jack, I must confess that I am not only a fan of your writing I am truly an admirer of your strength, resilience, and zest for life. In 2010, you had your fifth and final brain surgery. Where does your health stand currently?

Jack: My surgery in 2010 was so “successful” that a world-famous neurosurgeon finally removed my benign, but recurrent brain tumor. That’s good news andbad news. It’s good news because the tumor is supposedly gone, but it’s bad news because there was so much trauma to my brain stem that my swallowing, balance, and facial nerves were severely traumatized, making it impossible for me to have an MRI to confirm the tumor’s actually gone! So, in the meantime, I don’t know if that little twinge I feel is a result of my protracted recovery OR the tumor coming back again. As Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” So, I live every day as if it were my last. I’ve even renewed my childhood interest in art and have several galleries of work on Fine Art America—available in five countries—on a variety of items from prints to throw pillows to smartphone cases! There are some unique gift ideas for not a lot of money! You can easily reach Fine Art America reachable from my new site, www.jackeadon.com.

Susan: Through the years, I have followed your amazing creativity express itself through music, photography, writing, and now art. Such is your legacy – a renaissance man? Yet, you somehow always manage to come up with something new. What will you do next, save the Earth?

Jack: Actually, it’s funny you ask! In addition to my art, I’ve reprised my band’s The Hunters Trilogy, which segues directly into my current mission, which I call Save Earth! It is designed to encourage people to be good stewards of the planet. People always ask me, “Where do I give?” I always laugh out loud, “It’s not about throwing a few dollars at a cause. It is about changing minds, not accumulating money!”

My campaign’s slogan is “Don’t Drain • Sustain.” That simply means conserve our precious resources, while doing everything possible to replace and restore what we take away from our planet. Go to www.sav.earth and see how Don’t Drain – Sustain is what you can do. Spread the word. Change human consciousness – that is what you can do. Make a “SAVE EARTH!” message daily, set your smartphone to ring a daily alarm, make noise, and be obnoxious. After all, we’re talking about saving the planet!

Susan: The fact that you are able to think about everything most of us take for granted, such as our own planet, while having to fight so hard to be able to stay with us, and live a high quality of life, speaks tons about your spiritual strength. To be able to produce such wonderful and enjoyable creative works on top of everything else makes you a guru in my eyes, and I’m sure many other people would agree with me. What message or life lesson would you like to share as a part of your legacy to the upcoming generations?

Jack: I’ve been accused of being a guru of sorts. Maybe it’s because I live like a hermit in either my desert place, which I call Casa Paz like in Edward Abbey’s, Desert Solitaire, or my mountain cabin, which I call Shangri-La, my Walden’s Pond. Both have helped me see, particularly since the last surgery, how humans live a life cluttered with noise, a running conversation in their heads. We don’t often stop and listen for the stillness that exists between the bits of noise. That is the peace we are seeking. I really believe we are all One. So, no matter what our circumstance, we are together. By really understanding that, we can enrich our lives and relationships.

Susan: Jack, how can anyone help you to save the Earth? And where can we find out more about all that you are doing?

Jack: On the website www.sav.earth, there are a number of links and videos that show how folks can avoid draining and start sustaining our planet. Recycling and resource conservation tips are also demonstrated. We even have an Action Pack people can order, which allows them to spread the word seamlessly, at the gym, in the car, and while shopping. In fact, chains, like Ralphs out in LA, have been offered the Save Earth! reusable shopping bag. It’s a stylish way to broadcast support of Save Earth! The more people broadcast their support, the more likely we are to change the consciousness of the planet. That’s why we suggest throwing a Save Earth! party like a Tupperware party, to spread the word. We already had 30 come to our event, and each guest left with a Save Earth!favor and party planner for their own party! I figure each individual will touch 1,000,000 others over the next five years. If everyone who reads this supported the cause, that would be 1,000,0000 people for each one. That’s probably half the population of the United States in five years! Not bad.

Susan: I find your art inspiring and relevant to your Save Earth! mission. One of my favorite pieces of art that you have showed me is the “Hope is a Choice” photo. Where can people find your art?

Jack: By going to my new web site, www.jackeadon.com people can access all my galleries and even get my signed art on smartphone cases, pillows, and prints at Fine Art America. It’s exciting to have some guy in Finland look at my work and buy a print or pillow or a smartphone case! They even have a case for the iPhone 7 models!

Susan: I have been dying to ask you. How are you able to find motivation to do so much, and do it so well, in spite of all of the long time health challenges you have had to face in your life?

Jack: The credo I live by every day is “Live in Color.” It’s a little like thinking like Don Quixote. Tomorrow, how big a day can I make it? If I keep that perspective then every day will be a little over the top and I’ll die a happy man.

Susan: What advice can you offer to some of us enduring long chronic conditions or even fatal illnesses about self-motivation to keep living?

Jack: Live in the Now. Focus on feelings of empathy, all the mushy stuff. “Live in Color” no matter what your circumstances are.  

Susan: Jack, it has been a pleasure and inspiring to say the least speaking with you. Any final words of wisdom for our audience?

Jack:  Sure. Don’t complain about life. The first few words of, “A Road Less Traveled” are, “Life is difficult.” One of my favorite sayings is, “Life is in the trying.” We ought to remember both.

Read review of A Consequence of Greed
Visit authors website

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Interview with Buck Marshall, Author of ‘SWIFT Act: Swift Action for Permanent Recovery’

swiftactSWIFT Act: Swift Action for Permanent Recovery

Buck Marshall
CreateSpace (2016)
ISBN 9781530583188
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (2016)

Article first published as Interview: Buck Marshall, Author of ‘SWIFT Act: Swift Action for Permanent Recovery’on Blogcritics.

Buck Marshall taught political science for five years and received his doctorate from Tulane in 1992. After 20 years in the private sector, his reaction to the Occupy Wall Street movement was to write a series of books and establish the non-profit SWIFT Act Alliance.

With the U.S. economy in crisis, an unprecedented number of voters are rejecting the status quo. Millions of people realize we can no longer trust the establishment to manage the economy. That means the public will need greater understanding of economic fundamentals to support demands for meaningful reform. Toward that end, SWIFT Act proposals are intended as a blueprint for essential aspects of reform we need for long-term recovery.

Buck Marshall.jpg

Sheri: Welcome Buck, and thank you for being here today! Why don’t you start by telling our readers a bit about yourself?

Buck: Thank you, Sheri. I’m a guy with an academic background, who decided the most important thing I could do is write a book on the economy that anybody can read. My dad was a contractor, and I work in a construction related industry. Only about 20% of voters have college degrees. I want to reach a lot more people than that, and that’s what I’m about.

Sheri: What is SWIFT Act: Swift Action for Permanent Recovery about?

Buck: First, the book gives you a 15-page overview of what’s wrong with the economy. The rest of the book covers five sets of proposals that are fundamental to long-term recovery. These are Smart Growth, Wage Standards, Industrial Policy,Financial Reform, and Trade and Tax Reform. The book is not partisan. Economic problems were created through bipartisan consensus, which will only be overcome through a bipartisan alliance for reform.

 Sheri: What was your inspiration for writing this book?

Buck: I’d been talking about the project for 15 years! Then in 2011, I was watching coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and I felt like I just couldn’t wait any longer. I quit my job on short notice and spent a year writing before I ran out of money and had to go back to work.

The inspiration was the intensity and commitment I saw in people, but also the coverage and analysis that kept repeating how hard the financial crisis was to understand, and that in essence the protesters didn’t really have a coherent position on what they wanted.

For me this is a terrible message for people to hear. Imagine that you’ve been cheated playing in a card game. It would take a lot of time and effort to explain the mechanics and the process of how you were cheated. But how important is that? What matters is just that you know you were cheated.

It’s unfortunate that people equate “problems with the economy” with “derivatives caused a financial crisis on Wall Street.” “The economy” itself is an intimidating subject. Then add to that the rapid fire speak we all hear on TV about derivatives, and the reaction is people’s eyes glaze over and they just want to turn it off.

So the inspiration was my wanting to give people a handle on what has happened, and tell them not to be intimidated by complexity, because the complicated parts are actually the least important aspects of the story.

Sheri: What was your biggest challenge in writing SWIFT Act: Swift Action for Permanent Recovery?

Buck: The idea I had from the beginning was to talk to the reader in plain English. I’ve read so-called “airport books” by economists that are supposedly written for the general reader. In my experience, those kinds of books for most people aren’t really readable.

So what I wanted was something that anybody can read. I can’t tell you how hard it was to learn how to write the way this book (and the others in the series) is written. I think when you write the same way you talk, that’s when you get the point across.

This style of writing (single sentence paragraphs) was by far the biggest challenge I had. There are plenty of books out there about the economy. But if you’re looking for something you can read, I think you should try mine!

Sheri: What is it you hope readers take away from your book?

Buck: You can understand what’s wrong with the economy, and you have the power to change it!

Sheri: How can people get involved?

Buck: Visit the website at swiftact.org, and sign the petition to support SWIFT Act legislation.

I think people realize it isn’t enough to get worked up and vote every four years. The limited political choices we’ve been offered are the problem, because bipartisan consensus in Washington has created the economic mess we’re all living with.

If enough people sign the SWIFT Act petition, politicians will be forced to tell the public whether and to what extent they agree with SWIFT Act proposals. That means people get to support a platform that wasn’t written by lobbyists and Wall Street contributors to political campaigns.

Sheri: What can you tell us about your self-publishing experience?

Buck: This is my first experience. For book sales I’ve pledged 20% of proceeds to the non-profit. At the same time, the book is only $10 on Amazon (less from some outlets), and I couldn’t sell it that cheaply with a publisher. I want people to be able to buy something for $10 that they can read on the subway.

Sheri: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, about writing, or life in general?

Buck: Never give up. My books are published because I spent 20 years never giving up.

Sheri: Do you have any advice for aspiring indie authors?

Buck: Only that they should realize they can do it. Aside from writing the book, I hired a designer for the cover. With CreateSpace, everything else is explained on their site, and you can make revisions even after your book is published.

Sheri: What do you like to do in your free time?

Buck: I have a video on YouTube now, which is all of 15 minutes and I think can be really helpful as an introduction. The link on swiftact.org is under “podcasts,” which is a drop-down under the Books tab.

Sheri: So, what’s next? Do you have another project in the works?

Buck: I’m going to record a video speech, probably 30 minutes long, that will be something of a campaign stump speech. I’m not running for office, but I am promoting SWIFT Act and want people to get involved by signing the petition.

Sheri: Do you have a website or blog (or both) where readers can learn more about you and SWIFT Act: Swift Action for Permanent Recovery?

Buck: The website is swiftact.org. A drop-down under the Contact Us tab is “FAQ,” which gives a comprehensive overview of SWIFT Act proposals and why I wrote the book. I’m also working on adding a section where people can log in with twitter or Facebook and leave comments. That feature and SWIFT Act products (T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs) should be available in the next few months.

Sheri: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers today?

Buck: There are two things I believe that define me at my very core. Knowledge is power; Only the powerless are truly innocent. We all buy clothes that are made with child labor. How many of us can truly say that we didn’t know that? What’s amazing is that there’s a win-win solution, because policies that would stop it would create millions of jobs in this country and benefit American consumers.

I will leave you with a quote I have on the letterhead for SWIFT Act Alliance.

Our individual actions are collective; Our collective actions are cumulative.

Sheri: Buck, thank you so much for joining us! I really enjoyed getting to know more about you, your cause, and your book: SWIFT Act: Swift Action for Permanent Recovery. I wish you much success in your endeavor!

Buck:  Thank you.

Read review of  SWIFT Act: Swift Action for Permanent Recovery
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“Engage with Honor” by Lee Ellis

engagewithhonorENGAGE WITH HONOR

Lee Ellis
FreedomStar Media (2016)
ISBN 9780983879374
Reviewed by Josh Cramer for Reader Views (11/16)

If you are looking for a book to kick your butt (in a nice way) when it comes to your accountability to yourself and others, you must read “Engage with Honor” by Lee Ellis. A prisoner of war during Vietnam, Ellis gained a perspective for understanding our daily lives in a way that few others understand—if you truly want to be successful in both your professional and personal life, you must live a life of accountability. This is a life that requires impeccable character to accept responsibility for yourself and your people (whether it be your family at home or your team at work). It requires building a culture of accountability around you, knowing that you also need to be accountable to those above you. It requires collaboration and celebrations (or confrontations if necessary). What Ellis wants you to know is that no matter where you are right now, you can change starting today.

The book is broken into two major sections (with a separate introduction and epilogue). The first section provides the struggles society (and you) face every day in maintaining honor. The second section shows a model (the Courageous Accountability Model) for how you can build a culture that thrives on honor.

Each chapter can be divided into several pieces:

1.     A short vignette of Ellis’s time in Vietnam. Each chapter moves chronologically (relatively) from his capture through to the end of the war when he and his fellow POWs were freed.

2.     The chapter builds on the leadership concepts that Ellis learned from that experience, whether from what he or someone else did (or didn’t do).

3.     Mission Prep. This section provides questions that will help you to apply the concepts from the chapter.

4.     Video Clip. Ellis provides a link to a short online video clip where the author discusses the chapter’s main concept (these are worth the price of admission alone! I found these very helpful for reviewing the concepts of each chapter).

5.     Foot Stomper. This is a summary of what the chapter was about. At the end of the book, he gathers these together for easy review. This is especially helpful if you are teaching the book to your team.

The absolute best part of the book is found in chapter eleven: Troubleshooting Accountability—Tips and FAQs. This chapter contains seven tips for leaders that will help to apply the concepts from the book. Following this are several really tough questions that Ellis explains using the Courageous Accountability Model. These questions range from questions about workplace gossip to having a team member who shows up consistently late to meetings, to a having a boss who doesn’t buy into the accountability mindset yet, to questions about applying these concepts to family life.

Ultimately, “Engage with Honor” by Lee Ellis is a compelling read and I found myself drawn again and again to the author’s stories about Vietnam. If you have read other books about accountability (The Question Behind the Question or the Oz Principle), there is nothing new here in that regard. What Ellis does differently is show the concepts in another way, and sometimes it takes hearing about a concept from a different voice to really understand it. Victor Frankl illustrates this point well: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” What will your response be?

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“Millionaire’s Shot” by Bev Pettersen

millionairesshotMILLIONAIRE’S SHOT

Bev Pettersen
Westerhall Books (2016)
ISBN 9781987835083
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/16)

“Millionaire’s Shot” is the latest contemporary romantic fiction novel by Bev Pettersen. Alex Sutherland and Cassie Edwards practically grew up together and have always shared a special relationship. When Alex suddenly marries another woman, Cassie’s world is shattered and she flees her grandfather’s small horse farm to start a new life away from the newlyweds. Years later, Cassie’s grandfather needs her help and she can’t stay away any longer. Cassie tries to convince herself that everything will be fine–Alex is just a friend after all, right? Things haven’t been easy for Alex all these years either, as he’s sacrificed everything to keep his daughter safe. Cassie’s return to town reignites the jealous wrath of Alex’s ex-wife, who threatens to destroy everything and everyone Alex holds dear.

Bev Pettersen is an extremely gifted writer with the capacity to turn out a wonderful story, time after time. I know I am in for an incredible evening of entertainment whenever I pick up one of her books. She often reminds me of Danielle Steele, with the depth, charm, and grace of her storytelling ability.

“Millionaire’s Shot” lives up to the standards I’ve set based on my experience with this author’s work. The characters are well developed and realistic, with two headstrong lovers, a wise old man, a vindictive ex-wife, and an innocent child caught in the middle of it all. It makes no difference if you love them or hate them, you will definitely feel passionately about each character. Whether the setting is in the barns or on the polo fields, at the country club or an old farmhouse, Pettersen’s knowledge and experience of everything relating to horses translates crystal clear on every page.

With just the right amount of romance, drama, horses, and suspense, “Millionaire’s Shot” by Bev Pettersen is sure to be another smash hit. If you haven’t read any of Pettersen’s novels, you are in for a treat. If you have, you already know what I’m talking about.

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“Pilgrim Spokes: Cycling East Across America” by Neil M. Hanson

pilgrimspokesPILGRIM SPOKES: CYCLING EAST ACROSS AMERICA

Neil M. Hanson
High Prairie Press (2016)
ISBN 9781944868017
Reviewed by Ben Green for Reader Views (11/16)

“Pilgrim Spokes: Cycling East Across America” by Neil M. Hanson was a fantastic surprise. Usually I find memoirs from independent authors are a bit of a mixed bag. Generally speaking, they cover interesting events that the author experiences; for example, exciting times in history. They are also often poorly written, or if they are well written, lack any reason to be interesting. Worse, some are poorly written and have no particularly interesting or meaningful topic to comment on. “Pilgrim Spokes” however, does not have this problem. From the very first page, you can tell the author is an excellent storyteller who knows how to pull the reader into the story. Hanson crafts moments with words that read like memories in a very stream-of-consciousness style. The writing style allows you to feel like a participant in the event rather than simply someone reading about a recollection of past events. “Pilgrim Spokes” though technically a memoir, reads more like a traditional story.

There is a lot I like here; it’s not just that Neil writes well. Instead of focusing on himself, he focuses on places, people, and relationships, and all of them are crafted into real, tactical things through his writing. Unlike so many other writers who simply follow a template of writing without creating characters, setting, or any real meaning, Hanson turns everyday activities like stopping for breakfast into meaningful moments by focusing on everyone except himself. The real secret here is that the book is not really a memoir as much as it is a documentary of American life east of Kansas. Neil uses himself as a backdrop to tell amazing stories about his encounters along the road. There is a decent amount of cycle jargon, which I am not qualified to speak on, as I am not a cyclist. I personally found it informative and interesting but whether an actual cyclist would or not, I cannot say.

In the end, I found “Pilgrim Spokes: Cycling East Across America” by Neil M. Hanson to be one of the most enjoyable books I have reviewed this year and I give it four out of five stars. It is hard to find anything wrong with this book. It is long and the second book in a series. The font is small and the chapters are solid; the author clearly was not trying to write a quick read or your typical $1.99 e-book. Be prepared—this might be one of those books you read with a couple books in between or on a really long road trip. It is an excellent read well worth the time if you have it. Just know what you are getting into and that if you do get into it, you won’t regret it.

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“From Chicago to Vietnam: A Memoir of War” by Michael Duffy

fromchicagotovietnamFROM CHICAGO TO VIETNAM: A MEMOIR OF WAR

Michael Duffy
Inkwater Press (2016)
ISBN 9781629013664
Reviewed by Ben Green for Reader Views (12/16)

In high school, I read everything I could find on Vietnam. Something about guerrilla warfare and military history always interested me and still does, so getting to read Michael Duffy’s memoir was quite interesting. It gives the reader a unique chance to get the point of view from an officer’s perspective in the field, something rather rare. “From Chicago to Vietnam: A Memoir of War” chronologically follows the author’s experience from the day he sets foot in Vietnam until he arrives at Colorado College, a veteran ready to start school.

Michael Duffy’s writing style is solid though it suffers slightly from a “that, this, then that” style often favored by military writers. This is not a significant issue and even with it, Duffy’s ability to take small moments and make the reader connect with them is no small feat and makes the book worth reading for anyone looking to get a glimpse into the Vietnam War and the military experiences of the time. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is a memoir and it very much reads like one. If you are looking for something with more of a plot or storyline in the background then this is probably not the story for you. “From Chicago to Vietnam” is more like a well-written journal than an actual story. This does not make it any less interesting to read, although at some point I began to ask myself why the author’s experience in Vietnam was any more important than anyone else’s. This is the one question the book never really answers, and I spent much of the first several chapters waiting for the author to connect himself with some specific event or memorable moment in the war. Unfortunately, this never happened and I think if it had it would have really made a huge impact on the book overall.

In the end, Micheal Duffy’s “From Chicago to Vietnam: A Memoir of War” is exactly what it claims to be. Though Duffy’s writing connects with the reader and draws you into the experience, it is lacking any connecting plot or theme, other than the Vietnam War. Don’t get me wrong—I liked this book—I just wanted to like it more. “From Chicago to Vietnam” is an example of what happens when you try to make up for lack of plot with excellent writing and some really interesting highlights. With that being said, the book is still worth reading for anyone interested in the Vietnam War and the experiences of the soldiers who were there. I personally really enjoyed being able to get into the head of a young, non-career officer. Usually when we read from the perspectives of officers, it’s those famous ones who have retired as old men and made a name for themselves in war. This book has a very different and perhaps more valuable insight. At the very least, it is a much rarer one. I give the book four out of five stars, as it is a meaningful work that is exactly what it claims to be.

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“Mattie Celi” by M. Elizabeth Schaefer

mattieceliMATTIE CELI

M. Elizabeth Schaefer
Outskirts Press (2016)
ISBN 9781478765455
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/16)

“Mattie Celi” by M. Elizabeth Schaefer, is the story of Mattie, a young girl determined to thrive and flourish against all odds. Mattie and her siblings endure the abuse of an alcoholic stepfather and neglect by a mother who is unable to protect them. Mattie is finally removed from the home at age 14, where she begins the revolving cycle in and out of the homes of different foster families. Over the course of the next four years, Mattie lives with five different families, each presenting a different set of trials and experiences that test her and push her limits.

Throughout her ordeals, Mattie remains amazingly positive, quickly learning to adapt to each new family situation. She develops the strength and determination to not only survive but also prosper. The last family Mattie lives with gives her the love and care she has always longed for, supporting her self-assurance and confidence, as she develops into an emotionally responsible and thoughtful young woman. Mattie also remains hopeful of reconciliation with her mother and siblings, an idea that plays out more easily in her head than realistically.

I found “Mattie Celi” by M. Elizabeth Schaefer to be inspirational and heart-warming. Mattie’s character is realistic and endearing and I was easily drawn to her plights, even though I never personally shared any of her experiences. The author writes with a charming style, pulling the reader into the story with seemingly little effort. Through an entertaining and emotional narrative, the author drives a descriptive awareness of the issues surrounding the foster care system. I highly recommend “Mattie Celi” as a fresh, enlightening, contemporary read.

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