Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#PotLuck #BookReview – Educated by Tara Westover Reviewed by Chuck Jackson


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the final post for author Chuck Jackson and I have selected a book review that he wrote for Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover Reviewed by Chuck Jackson

“If [J. D.] Vance’s memoir offered street-heroin-grade drama, [Tara] Westover’s is carfentanil, the stuff that tranquilizes elephants. The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing. . . . By the end, Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassable exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”The New York Times Book Review

When a book makes the New York Times Best Seller, I take notice. I don’t have the opportunity to read all best sellers, but they are on my ‘to be read list.’ If you are an author or blogger, you know reading is one of the best ways to enhance your writing. Experts tell us to read books within our genre. I’ve read and reviewed several memoirs and Educated ranks high on my list.

All three of my books are memoirs, yet I list one of them as fiction based on real-life events. My memoir What Did I Do?, is the account of the abuse I received as a child. There were so many times while reading Educated, I could relate to Tara Westover’s emotional state because of similar abuse. Her feeling of helplessness and confusion as to the reality of the world around her was familiar feelings for me.

I was shocked that in the ’90s children in America could be raised in a societary vacuum. How did children not have some birth records? How did a family go unchallenged for keeping their children from schools? How did their family and neighbors allow the abuse without intervention?

Unfortunately, child abuse proliferates today as it did when I was a child. My family, neighbors, and teachers turned their heads to my abuse and refused to intervene. It is not difficult for me to understand Tara Westover’s narcissistic father and how he controlled his family. I found it difficult to comprehend how someone known in their community could be as anti-establishment and radically religious as the Westover family and not bring intervention from the authorities. How did Tara’s brothers sustain the severity of injury without medical treatment and not have law enforcement investigate?

I remember my struggles of guilt when I left home. I remember the confusion of what was reality and how my parents explained it was their duty to teach me right from wrong. They called it ‘tough love,’ and it was to prepare me for adulthood.

Tara Westover in Educated felt sinful when she turned against the teachings of her father. She felt her faith challenged if she sought medical attention. She felt insecure and unworthy of success when she began her separation from the family and initiated her education. I wanted to scream at her when individuals offered assistance, and she felt it was wrong to accept it.

The story in itself was captivating, but the writing style and expertise of Ms. Westover was an enlightenment for me. Her ability to draw the reader into the emotional reality of her world kept me turning pages. I kept recognizing the proficiency of using the senses ‘to show and not tell’ with her writing. However, she does have a doctorate from Cambridge.

When I read a book that touches the reality of my life, it becomes memorable. Tara’s challenge to overcome the low self-esteem and self-conscientiousness was a familiar feeling. Her determination to survive and break free from the oppressive family was exhilarating.

If you read books for entertainment, then Educated won’t be an enjoyable read. However, if true human interest stories with emotional highs and lows enthrall you, don’t miss reading this book. It has to be a top shelf memoir of our times.

© Chuck Jackson 2018

About Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-Up. In July 2017 he released: What Did I Do?. May 2018 he released: Guilt — My Companion. All three books are available as an e-book or paperback.

Books by Chuck Jackson

One of the reviews for Guilt- My Companion

I happen to know Chuck Jackson, and I consider him a fine man and a wonderful friend. How he has turned out so well with the traumas and betrayals he has endured is a miracle. How he could even write this book is amazing. It is a page turner and reminds me of the book, UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand. It is difficult to imagine that a boy, growing into manhood could even survive what Chuck endured. Given the times we live in with abuse and harassment so pervasive, Guilt–My Companion, is a book of encouragement for those who are going through terrible times with a dysfunctional family, workplace abuse or especially for those who have been told they were worthless and won’t ever amount to anything. It is an account of suffering, struggle, hopelessness that turns out to be a story of a tough life with a beautiful outcome. Inspirational!
 

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

Read more reviews and follow Chuck on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18190755.Chuck_Jackson

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/?ref=bookmarks
Flipboard –  https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017

My thanks to Chuck for inviting me to share some posts from his archives. I hope you will head over and explore more yourself.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Do You Use #Editing Software by Chuck Jackson


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the third post for author Chuck Jackson and this week I have selected a post that Chuck wrote about editing software that I am sure you will find helpful if you are looking to buy a package.

Do you use Editing Software by Chuck Jackson

 

Many of you who follow me and my blog post, know I have complained about poor sales on my second book What Did I Do? I have it listed with Amazon’s KDP as an eBook and a paperback. Initially sales did well, but after three months, they have all but stopped. I tried for two weeks doing a promotional for $.99; I sold four. I have done the sponsored ads (e.g. pay per click). I’ve promoted it on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Flipboard, etc.

In my opinion there are several elements involved for the lack of sales. The prime consideration is the lack of reviews. I have pleaded and begged readers to leave a review. I get the typical promise, but they don’t follow through. I further believe the subject (e.g. child abuses) hinders people’s desire to read it. Whatever the cause, I have decided to not fret and move on.

What has been consistently selling is my first book One Month, Twenty Days, and a Wake Up. Even when I published it with syntax and grammar errors, it sells. Over the last month, I used the editing software ProWritingAid to clean up those errors. I also decided I would republish the edited revision. Since the book is selling well (for a writer at my level). I would further offer it as a paperback.

Even when it was time-consuming and demanding, I found it exhilarating going back over my work. I’m sure other writers have experienced the same feeling. My story entranced me where I had captured suspense and reality. What was embarrassing it was out in the public with all the errors.

I toyed sending it to the editor that did my second book. As an experiment, I’m trying using ProWritingAid instead. If the book wasn’t already selling, I would use an editor. Future books will for sure use an editor before publishing. I was surprised with what ProWritingAid pointed out as needed corrections. There weren’t excessive corrections, rather it pointed out corrections I had never heard before.

I never knew about ‘sticky’ words. Perhaps others call them by a different name. I never gave a thought about repeated words and the terminology of ‘echo words’. Then there were vague words. Even when it pointed out I was mixing “curly quotes with straight quotes’; I did not understand what that meant. I’m still pondering how this happened. There is an optional setting in Microsoft Word to use ‘curly quotes’ or ‘straight quotes’. When I looked I had ‘curly quotes’ turned off, yet Word was putting them in. Now I know ‘curly quotes’ are the preferred, I turned them on.

If you have used ProWritingAid, you understand its ability to go into depth in writing perfection. My opinion, if we made all the corrections it suggested, we would end up with an unimaginative writing and we would soon bore the reader. I changed my writing where it was obvious the correction made a smoother sentences or paragraphs. I made changes where the syntax or grammar was wrong. I felt sometimes you needed that adverb or adjective to show and not tell. Sometimes rewriting the passive voice sentence didn’t read well and I left it as is. My conclusion, editing software is great, but don’t take it literal.

©Chuck Jackson 2018

About Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-Up. In July 2017 he released: What Did I Do?. May 2018 he released: Guilt — My Companion. All three books are available as an e-book or paperback.

Books by Chuck Jackson

One of the reviews for What Did I Do?

Jackson takes us back in time into his childhood where he was adopted by his parents at 14 months old. Where one would think adoptive parents would feel so blessed to have a child, this story isn’t one of them. The author opens his heart in his telling without whining or complaining of what he endured, but instead questions – What Did I Do? As we learn about the emotional neglect he suffered along with the physical attacks from his father, the author steals our heart and has us wanting to reach out and just hug the boy.

We get a good look at emotionally bankrupt parents who carry their own demons, which gives us a hint at how they project their own unhappiness in their lives on to poor Bobby (author’ name in the book). This void of love Bobby exists in doesn’t sour his desire to want his parents to love and appreciate him, but rather, disturbs him through life as to why they couldn’t give him any affection. Eventually, Bobby runs away from home with fears that the beatings won’t stop despite the apologies that sometimes come after a consequent attack.

The story gives us insight into not only what the child had to live with growing up and into adulthood, but has us shaking our heads at what on earth went wrong in his parents’ life to make them so self-absorbed and uncaring.

I would highly recommend this book to parents to have a look at what abuse can do to a child through Jackson’s eyes and words, as well as for anyone who has been abused to be inspired by how Jackson handled his life and still came out as a compassionate good person without falling victim to his upbringing and continuing the trend of abuse. #Recommended

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

Read more reviews and follow Chuck on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18190755.Chuck_Jackson

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/?ref=bookmarks
Flipboard –  https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017

My thanks to Chuck for inviting me to share some posts from his archives. I hope you will head over and explore more yourself.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Post from Your Archives – #PotLuck #Memoir – My Heritage by Chuck Jackson


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the second post for author Chuck Jackson and he shares his journey of discovery of his heritage having been adopted at a young age.

My Heritage by Chuck Jackson

believe every individual has an inherent desire to belong to and be accepted by groups and especially family. When we are, it is easier to be content with our lives. Without it, we start questioning our self-acceptance. I was told as a child I was worthless, and it damaged my self-esteem and left me with psychological scars.

I wrote in Guilt – My Companion, “As a child, I always knew my parents had adopted me. In my periods of darkness where I retreated into a world of fantasy, I dreamt my real parents would come to rescue me. They would take me away from my pain and give me the love I sought. It never happened.

As an adult, I was envious of my friends when I listened to them describe their happy childhood, siblings, and parental relationships. I avoided discussing my history. It was painful, and I thought no one would believe me. What never changed for years into my adult life was my debilitating desire to please my parents. I still believed someday they would accept me and love me. That never happened either.”

In 1985 I made the decision I wanted to know my identity and my birth family. Unlike most people, I had no idea of my heritage and nationality. I had been adopted at the age of fourteen months. I also knew I had a younger brother (Don) who was adopted to a separate family at birth. My adoptive parents used the military’s legal services, the papers were signed by the individual parties. Beyond that, I do not know if my parents knew any more of my heritage.

Mom and me meeting for the first time in 1986

The story finding my natural mother and eventual brother is an interesting story that I reveal in my book. I’ll summarize by saying when I found my birth mother, she revealed when she was a small child, she and her older brother were placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by separate families. Although the siblings did reunite, they never found their birth family. This still left a mystery of our family heritage. I was fortunate to spend ten years with my mother before her death.

Perhaps my brother was more inquisitive than me, but two years ago he had his DNA tested. Our mother stated we had the same father but looking at us we have little similarity. He has an olive complexion, dark hair (now grey), and different facial features. I’m fair skin, blonde hair (now mostly grey), and smaller built than him. If it weren’t that we both have the same woman listed on our birth certificates, you would question whether we are related at all.

Don, Mom and me at Don’s first meeting in 1994

What is surprising to us and people who know us separately, state how similar our personalities are. I have always thought, personalities are formed more from our environmental exposure rather than hereditary. In our case, we have more personality similarities than physical.

He used Ancestry’s DNA testing system. I don’t have the percentages, but the order of high probability was East Asia, Scandinavia, Polynesia, Ireland/Scotland/Wales, Iberian Peninsula. His daughter was tested, and East Asia and Polynesian were also dominate. Now that we know the results, it is easy to see especially the Polynesian influence in their facial features.

My brother encouraged me to have my DNA tested and finally a few weeks ago I did. Remembering my mother’s early pictures and mine, it is evidence of our similarities. Yet, I was surprised when I got the results. I would never have thought my dominant heritage would have been as it indicated. The results were:

Great Britain 48%; Scandinavia 19%; Ireland/Scotland/Wales 16%; Western Europe 7%; Southern Europe 8%; Iberian Peninsula 1%; Finland/Northwest Russia <1%

In reading the backup material Ancestry provided, I found a commonality of Celtic influence in all of these areas. Perhaps that is where my blonde hair and the light eyes come from. The Scandinavian does not surprise me, but I would have never guessed the large percentage of Great Britain.

My birth mother did inquire about her origin and was able to find some records that showed her paternal family name was Avery and maternal Hall. Since both names are of English descent, it helps validate the DNA results. My niece did extensive searches and she found some linkage to the Huntsinger and Avery names. Ironically, it was the Huntsinger family that was involved with my adoption and also in helping me discover my natural mother.

Together in 2008

This validates my maternal side, but what about my paternal? I have always been hesitant about inquiring into my paternal side. My birth mother gave me a name of the individual she said was my father. She also said my brother and I had the same father. The DNA shows differently. My opinion has been if I was to contact someone from my father’s family and he never told anyone he had other children, it might ruin their memory of him. Validating the paternal side at this point is not that important to take the risk.

Now after all these years, a new awareness of myself has been opened. Where it leads me, if it leads me anywhere, is an option available. What it has done already is give me some validation of heritage. At present, I’m satisfied with this status.

© Chuck Jackson 2018

Image: Nature Photography by Urmo Parts

Have you done a DNA test to investigate your heritage? Leave me a comment and tell us how it made you feel and if you did anything with the information.

About Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-Up. In July 2017 he released: What Did I Do?. May 2018 he released: Guilt — My Companion. All three books are available as an e-book or paperback.

Books by Chuck Jackson

One of the reviews for What Did I Do?

Jackson takes us back in time into his childhood where he was adopted by his parents at 14 months old. Where one would think adoptive parents would feel so blessed to have a child, this story isn’t one of them. The author opens his heart in his telling without whining or complaining of what he endured, but instead questions – What Did I Do? As we learn about the emotional neglect he suffered along with the physical attacks from his father, the author steals our heart and has us wanting to reach out and just hug the boy.

We get a good look at emotionally bankrupt parents who carry their own demons, which gives us a hint at how they project their own unhappiness in their lives on to poor Bobby (author’ name in the book). This void of love Bobby exists in doesn’t sour his desire to want his parents to love and appreciate him, but rather, disturbs him through life as to why they couldn’t give him any affection. Eventually, Bobby runs away from home with fears that the beatings won’t stop despite the apologies that sometimes come after a consequent attack.

The story gives us insight into not only what the child had to live with growing up and into adulthood, but has us shaking our heads at what on earth went wrong in his parents’ life to make them so self-absorbed and uncaring.

I would highly recommend this book to parents to have a look at what abuse can do to a child through Jackson’s eyes and words, as well as for anyone who has been abused to be inspired by how Jackson handled his life and still came out as a compassionate good person without falling victim to his upbringing and continuing the trend of abuse. #Recommended

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

Read more reviews and follow Chuck on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18190755.Chuck_Jackson

 

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/?ref=bookmarks
Flipboard –  https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017

My thanks to Chuck for inviting me to share some posts from his archives. I hope you will head over and explore more yourself.. thanks Sally.