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Posted July 18, 2013
My name is Donna Scrima, Author of MommyBest: 13 Inspirational L
My name is Donna Scrima, Author of MommyBest: 13 Inspirational Lessons Derek & Dylan's Mom (& maybe yours) Never Learned in School. So you can imagine my hesitancy as a Mom, Author & Teacher, to go into the dark side of what appeared to be a very creepy book. And some of it is as each gravestone tells its story of despair and demise. Sometimes I found myself wanting to jump inside the pages to rescue the victim from the cruel punisher or at least shake her/him into fighting the good fight. But the truth is that the world is full of injustices and some very cruel and hurtful people who overpower humble and kind human beings. Still, I believe that good prevails over evil, which is why I would have loved for some of those gravestones to unearth themselves and visit the villains who gave them their admission ticket into the ground.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I most connected with Fran about the absurdity of some of the injustices she so insightfully exposed within the Teaching System whereby many innocent Teachers fall prey to false accusations. Such is the case of Virginia Green who, along with some unlucky colleagues, ends up in the infamous, "Rubber Room." Fran's voice is one of knowing sprinkled with the sensitivity of a loving and caring Teacher, which I suspect Fran was: the kind of Teacher who would go to the ends of the earth to find that missing piece to help a struggling child and give hope to beleaguered parents.
The greatest travesty is silencing a Teacher's beckon to her students. Fran Lewis exposes a lot of the social ramifications of doing just that. Maybe her next book will include some educational rebirth and the burying of those who violate goodness and light.
Posted July 3, 2012
Before I dive into my thoughts about Fran Lewis’ debut nov
Before I dive into my thoughts about Fran Lewis’ debut novel Faces Behind the Stones, let me start as she does for each story: with a little background — for her with her characters, for me with me. First, I don’t do horror, which is what I thought this book was going to be about. It freaks me out and gives me the creeps. Perhaps it’s because I’ve had far too many dealings with actual, living demons and real spiritual warfare. To me, horror books are all too real.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
But remember that adage you learned many, many years ago about not judging a book by its cover? I fell victim to it, silly me, which gave me reason to second guess my agreeing to review her book. The cover is a creepy, dark cemetery with tombstones in front and a woman’s face as a shadow cloud behind. Definitely not my idea of a good time. But I had told her I would review it, so with much trepidation, I opened to the first page, swallowed, and began reading. What I quickly discovered was completely and entirely not what I had expected.
Fran has compiled the stories of seven very different characters, each of whom is already dead, but they all have their own cautionary tales to tell from beyond the grave so nobody else will fall victim to similar unfortunate circumstances. And the stories of their demise are as plausible as any obituary you would read in the local paper. While there is a bit of mystery in each story, this is not a detective novel. The cases have already been solved. We know the victims, and in some cases we know the killer very early in the story; others we have to wait until the end. What we learn throughout each story is how they got there, how they found themselves in the situations that got them killed, and from their perspective how the readers can avoid finding themselves in similar circumstances.
Fran Lewis has created not only a compelling book but also a solid lesson in character development. As a reader, I enjoyed the stories. As an author, I had fun watching Fran’s mental gears turning from afar as the characters she had placed on paper grew heads and hearts as they developed believability.
Fran used her extensive experience as an educator in the New York City public school system to create characters, both male and female, who are not only believable but strikingly similar to people you already know. In each case, the victim is an ordinary individual, as relatable as the person sitting next to you in the movie theater, in church, or at the DMV. The scary part of this book is that any of these characters could be any one of you.
Posted June 29, 2012
A collection of seven short stories, connected by the theme of u
A collection of seven short stories, connected by the theme of untimely death, Fran Lewis’s Faces Behind the Stones combines a genuine concern for real-world issues with the shocks and twisted connections of horror and ghost stories. The combination can be a little uncomfortable at times, as when one story ends by teaching the warning signs for suicide—wise lessons, but oddly placed—and another asks readers to consider the real-world dangers of abuse . According to the author, these tales are all based on real life, and it’s easy to recognize newspaper accounts that would herald many of them. Using voices from the grave to show the victim’s thoughts is certainly an interesting technique. Sometimes strident, sometimes pathetic, the voices do indeed demand to be heard. But the pairing of familiar cruelties with unlikely coincidence and confusing mystery, can leave the reader unnerved in the manner of classic horror, but also a little unsure what to take seriously.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The stories are short and the lessons wise in this collection. Occasional typos and odd word choices can be justified by the tone of character and voice. Final questions linger in the mind lending a completeness to this collection—murder, suicide, innocent victim, killer, redeemed or broken?
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to win a copy of this short story collection from the author.