Starving Review: Johnny and Jamaal by K. M. Breakey


Johnny and Jamaal by K. M. Breakey (Amazon, Goodreads)

It’s a brand new year, my literary foodies, and the new year serves up new meals from the pantry. Today, we take a bit out of a particularly spicy bit of contemporary fiction, one that promises to delve heavily into themes of racial prejudice, politics, and social dysfunction. Yes, despite what you might think from the cover, sports are only a sideline bit in this meal. So, with the intention to tackle such explosive themes, does J and J treat those themes well while still being a tasty meal?

Before we find out, raise your hand and take the Starving Review pledge:

  1. I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre
  2. I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible


Political Writing: A Little Clarification

I want to clarify something. Maybe this is simply a way for me to think ‘out loud’, but …

As a patriotic American, I certainly recognize the legitimacy of the President-elect. Donald Trump will wind up being our next President. I will obviously show the proper respect to the office of the President so in that sense, he is ‘my President’.

But me, along with many others, can also rightfully claim that he is ‘not our President’, in the sense that, by his own words and statements in regard to his plans as President, Donald Trump does not even begin to represent our beliefs, our goals, or even seem to care about our basic rights to happiness, freedom, and human dignity.

It’s simple, perhaps, to look at my profile picture and assume that I’m simply a white cis guy who has no dog in the fight. But I may be white and I may be a guy, but I am not ‘cis’ or ‘straight’ or ‘heterosexual’ or whatever word you want to use.

So there, for those of you that might be wondering how people can say that Trump is ‘not their President’ and still be patriots who respect the republic of the United States, that’s how.

Monday Musings: A PSA a.k.a. If You’re American, Vote!

We’ll keep this short and sweet.

No matter your political beliefs, no matter who you support, if you’re a U.S. citizen and capable of voting, VOTE. Our system of government doesn’t work if you don’t participate.

And don’t just worry about voting for President. Take a few moments to look at your congressional choices, local elections, and especially any state amendments or measures up for voting. These are just as important as who is the President.

Get out there tomorrow and do it!

Monday Musings: Do It, Do It! a.k.a. Participation in Life

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for, uh, Monday Musings.  It’s all in the name, people!  Anyway, let me stop the prevaricating, as it runs counter to the point of my brain-rumblings today.

As you may or may not know, depending on your country of origin and interest in politics, the United States of America is starting the actual, official process of choosing the next candidates for the office of President.  Now, I won’t go deep into my own personal politics (at least not in this post), but I will bring up a strong belief of mine: you have to participate!

The core principle of democratic government is participation, after all.  If the population doesn’t vote, caucus, or whatever, it really isn’t a democracy then and becomes easily manipulated and dominated by those with the time, power, and money to gather people to overtake the system.  It’s a simple principle to understand, but it’s understandable when people loose sight of this.

After all, it’s easy to think that your one vote, your one voice doesn’t matter and, if you look at it in the narrow view, it isn’t untrue.  However, as with most things in life, most things worthwhile, it isn’t the immediate benefit of voting that is important, or the influence of your one singular vote that is important.  It is the total effort involved, the total voting of all the people, that makes it all worthwhile.  Think about it like this:  If you are thinking of not voting, it may be a lot of other like-minded people are thinking the same, which means it is likely that the vote won’t go the way you want.

So, yeah, vote.  Participate.  Work hard.  Follow your heart and your dreams.  It’s the same for life as well as politics.

Until next time, good reading, good writing, good living, and good luck!

Monday Musings: We Need Action Instead of Tears a.k.a. Common Sense and Guns

I’m tired.  Like so many other Americans, like our President, like anyone who has a heart, I’m weary of the almost clockwork report of a mass shooting.  Once again, someone has murdered nine and injured far more, laden with firearms … guns that the shooter’s father didn’t even know the gunman (who still lived with his father) had.  So many lives have been lost in similar fashion over these past years, far more lives than any terrorist attack or the other conventional boogeymen dangled before us by our politicians on a regular basis.

Fatigue shouldn’t be used as a reason for inaction however and, while we should grieve for the fallen, our tears won’t be of much use either.  Some kind of action needs to be taken, but common sense action.   Much like fatigue and depression are of little use, wild reaction is pointless as well.


Monday Musings: Totally X-TREME! … Or Not a.k.a. The Good and Bad of Extremes

So I wound up thinking about the American political climate lately.  Yes, I know this is a bad idea, one only destined to give me ulcers and headaches, but it did lead me to muse about the nature of extreme thoughts and beliefs.  Without that, I wouldn’t have a Monday article for you, so I suppose it worked out in the end, eh?

“The truth often lies somewhere in the middle.”  It’s a not-uncommon saying to hear, is it?  It speaks both of the fact that often the truth between two people’s sides of an event lie somewhere in the middle and it also can be applied to any ideological dispute between two extremists.  Often the best way to deal with a situation isn’t the one touted by either extreme of an argument, but lies somewhere in the middle.  It’s the classic case for compromise that many people like to think they hold to heart.

It’s a good saying, one I too like to say.  But there’s one part of that saying that a lot of people tend to ignore, and that’s the ‘often’ part.  Like many rules or sayings, it isn’t an absolute one.  Let’s take an obvious, extreme example.  One side argues that human slavery is fine and healthy for the country, while the opposite side argues that humans should be free.  Both of those sides are extremes, diametrically opposed groups.  Obviously, the answer isn’t ‘somewhere in the middle’ there.

The trick, then, comes down into finding those times when compromise isn’t called for.  The times when taking a stand on the extreme side of an issue is the correct and moral path to take.  This gets even more complicated when you look at the tangle of ideologies, belief systems, and the like that surround human culture.  When and where should draw your line in the sand?

I wish I could give each and every one of you reading an answer.  All I can say is that my personal belief is that freedom, equality, and happiness are my personal watchwords.  Whatever yours are, just remember to try to be receptive to compromise, but never be shy from planting your feet to protect your principles.

What do you think?  Where are your lines in the sand?  Are there really things on which we should not budge or is compromise truly the ultimate watchword?  Talk about in the comments below!

Until next time, good reading, good writing, and good luck!