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Hardcover Book Details
  • 04/2021
  • 9781645435228 1645435229
  • 184 pages
  • $16.95
To Every Page a Turning: One Life's Journey
Each man who journeys through life must travel through its season and ultimate lessons. For some, the journey is brief, and their life's light is fleeting. They are like rockets that flare to the heavens, glowing brightly only to go black in the next instant. Still others travel what seem to be an abbreviated journey, missing some of life's seasons, never knowing the agony or the ecstasy of what they have missed. But some live each season, taste each tear, relish each sunrise, and brace themselves against each burst of wind. They have traveled life's highways and finally joined the many pieces of themselves into the whole person they were born to be. When a man is clearing old files out from his garage, he comes across a folder containing an old manuscript he wrote twenty years previously as part of his recovery therapy. It had served as a catharsis for him to help transition old painful issues from his past. He was still a young man when he wrote the words, and as a senior in his seventies, he begins to reflect on his life s journey. As he reads the old papers, many memories come flooding back. He begins to find that our lives are like pages turning from one place in our lives to another, each unique, holding treasures and pains of its own, and each a window to growth, learning, and acceptance of who we are and who we were born to be. In this novel, the journey begins in the innocence of America in the 1950s. Traveling through hope, a great cause, disenchantment, hopelessness, discovery, and rebirth, the novel also recounts the travel of a generation as they move through time. As you read the pages of this book, you will discover a man perhaps not unlike yourself, seeking knowledge, peace, and faith. Perhaps you, like he, have traveled through the paradigm shift of the twentieth century both in awe and fear of what lies ahead.
Reviews
This gripping autofiction follows an unnamed narrator looking back on his life after he stumbles onto a collection of old papers. Following a rough childhood in Brooklyn, the man joins the army and fights in Vietnam, suffering from abandonment and anger issues. He later finds success as a businessman, raises a family, and learns to forgive his cold, neglectful parents. Told in a series of non-linear, third-person vignettes, and occasionally including entries centered around old army buddies and their lives beyond the war, this is a well-written portrait of a man struggling through hardships to make something of his life.

While a few vignettes focus on other members of the narrator’s troop, much of the narrative is, by Buccellato’s admission, based on his own experience. This often works in his favor: The deeply personal chapters centered around Vietnam capture the cruelty of war with insight and even beauty, while his accounts of facing death—the sensory overload that comes with watching a friend die—are horrifying and resonant. He intriguingly blends fact and fiction, but what will matter to readers is the mastery over detail Buccellato demonstrates throughout. The narrator describes, during an evacuation, taping his dog tags together to make himself as silent as possible, a little moment that reveals so much.

The sections covering the narrator’s later life (focusing on his marriage, health issues, family, and monetary success) are sprawling and lack the specificity of his war-related episodes. The language becomes less clear, the anecdotes less compellingly connected, and extraneous details cloud the narrative. Buccellato’s time jumps can be confusing, and the choice to identify the narrator only as “he” results in some awkward sentences when other "he"s enter the picture. But despite some stylistic shortcomings, this is a powerfully intimate rendering of a man, his life after the war, and the ways in which it changed him forever.

Takeaway: This absorbing autofiction explores the effects of the Vietnam War through the eyes of an ambitious protagonist.

Great for fans of: Nico Walker’s Cherry, Rick DeStefanis’s Valley of the Purple Hearts.

Production grades
Cover: C
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: B-

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 04/2021
  • 9781645435228 1645435229
  • 184 pages
  • $16.95

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