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Memoir of an Unlikely Savior [Kindle Edition]

Peter VanDenBeemt
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Book Description

"To be a great lover, you have to shed your armor. To be a great writer, you have to shed your skin." Frank can’t get past his writing instructor’s words. He’d like to be both, but his autistic childhood, visual impairment, dismissive parents, and narcissistic brother prevent him from being either.

Then on vacation in Hawaii, Frank has what feels like a paranormal experience on the Arizona Memorial that starts him down a path of psychological and spiritual self-discovery. In making the transitions from weird to respected, awkward to insightful, brainy to wise, his relationships with women shift from fearful to erotic, and through them doors open to unexpected opportunities with his writing. Lifting himself from the purgatory to which his past had banished him, he inadvertently helps free those he connects with from their own shadowed depths, making his story the Memoir of an Unlikely Savior.

Product Details

  • File Size: 651 KB
  • Print Length: 419 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1490939172
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,717 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memoir of an Unlikely Savior August 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although I'm a slow reader, I finally finished this gripping novel after several long (and late) sessions during which I almost couldn't put it down to go to bed. I was totally captivated by the story, both for its content per se and the manner in which it was presented. Although I'm a strongly linear type of thinker myself (PhD in physics), I thoroughly enjoyed and applauded the book's non-linear and multi-thread style as well as all of its beautifully written content, including the imaginative representation of emotions (which of course can't be adequately expressed through words) by colors. I also was very much taken by the continuous deeply intellectual and insightful underpinning of the multiple interlocking stories about fundamentally emotional and spiritual matters.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memoir of An Unlikely Savior - July 31, 2013
By Kvdb
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Heartfelt tale of a young man whose life-work is coming to terms with being sent to a boarding school for the blind at the tender age of 6. Why was he sent away? Will he ever feel and be "normal"? Frank finds his answers through his writing, primal therapy and his on-going search for a personal, artistic and spiritual aesthetic. Along the way, he discovers through developing relationships (mostly with beautiful women) that he has helped several others meet and face down their own demons. I was pulling for him the whole way.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story June 27, 2013
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Fascinating tale of redemption. The protagonist is able to overcome a frightful childhood and reach out to many others. It's a gripping story, hard to put down.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue and insight August 27, 2013
By FairyG
This book was a real page turner for me and took high priority until I got to the end. The multiple stories were intertwined in a fascinating and artful way. This book has deep personal intrigue as well as spiritual insight.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Took my breath away October 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm a writer. I'm also a tough critic of others' work and I am blown away by the depth, the quality, the honesty, the perception of "Memoir of an Unlikely Savior."
VanDenBeemt has an understanding of language that is rare. His ability to use words is spot on. His facility with metaphor is brilliant. And on top of all that, he tells a damned good story. Once I started reading it I just set aside my life and spent every spare moment with the book. It's a sure thing that everyone on my Christmas list this year will be getting a copy in their stocking. I hope we won't have to wait long for the next book from this amazing writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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This is an interesting, though somewhat odd book, the story of a young man, autistic and vision-challenged, as he works his way through separating from the tight grip of his parents and bullying older brother, to find his own spirituality, his own way in the world, and answers to his difficult childhood.

First, the mechanics of the book. Well written, that is, sentence by sentence. However, the seams of the short stories are sometimes jarringly visible. I would like to have seen more ruthless editing of their joining, eliminating the repetition of some scenes, the reiteration of what we already know in other places. We didn’t really need the recapitulation given to us in spots; we just read it! It got a bit confusing here and there, but I’m smart enough to have figured it out. But like I said, a tighter edit would have done it a world of good.

Now, the good points. Although the protagonist is referred to as ‘autisic’, and refers to himself that way, the description of his behaviors and thought processes sounds more specifically like Asperger’s Syndrome. Since this story is set in 2003, I think there was enough known then to call it that. The story is told in the first person, and the protagonist describes his feelings and events with colors, a very charming and likable trope, and believable as well.

The bones are that a poorly sighted young man, coping with a highly functioning form of autism, living in Boston with a decent job, reads about Primal Scream therapy, figures it might be the answer to his disjointed life, and against his parents’ advice, picks up stakes and move across country to L.A., where he gets in touch with a practitioner and begins weekly therapy.

Throughout the book, he recounts his dreams, and his sessions, which I found to be tedious after a while, but then, I am a ‘cut to the chase’ kind of reader. Following long developmental processes, fascinating as it can be, eventually pale.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Journey Out Of A Dark Place September 16, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Memoir of an Unlikely Savior takes the reader from the dark, confined world inside a school for blind children and inside the mind of a child with autism, to the wide-open landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. It explores the struggles of Frank McCoy as he tries to make sense of his relationship with his family while attempting to realize his dream of becoming a published writer. Along the way, he helps his friends overcome obstacles to achieve their own success.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read October 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved the characters!
Loved the story!
Will look for more books by this author.
Read this book for a great time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Easy Read.
Published 4 months ago by Elle
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
interesting book about an adult on the autism spectrum. Not a thriller, but an interesting character study,
Published 6 months ago by Ruth K. Hroncich
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my taste...
This book had a lot of promise - but also a lot of repetitive text, which made it overly long. I only finished it because I kept looking for something that brought the bits and... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Susan Drago
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An awakening of the author and to the reader! Fabulous work!
Published 10 months ago by Patrick Hanrahan
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this story
What an amazing journey of life from the perspective of an autistic person. I couldn't stop reading it - hate the word limits on these reviews
Published 12 months ago by J. Talboy
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow, tedious read for me
I purchased this book some time ago and can't seem to get through it. Although I liked the main character and his story telling style, the book is slow to me. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Kay Abell
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally charged
Was surprisingly good story line and characters. Could not put it down until I read the whole thing. Kudos to the writer.
Published 13 months ago by Cheryl
2.0 out of 5 stars not into it
I could not get into this book far enough to develop an idea regarding the main person in the story line. I tried, but no luck. Only 8 % read. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Carol S. Bradley
1.0 out of 5 stars Just couldn't make myself finish it
I forced myself through about 1/3 of it, hoping it would get better but it didn't. Sorry, just not my kind of book.
Published 16 months ago by speedlady
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get into it
I couldn't get past 9% of this book. In my opinion it was rambling, confusing and very depressing. I had no idea of where it was going and found I didn't care enough about the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Patricia Kenworthy
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More About the Author

About Memoir of an Unlikely Savior:

In a 2003 writing class I wrote a "word portrait" of Rene Magritte's The Mysteries of the Horizon, an interpretation of the person and setting of the painting. Then as a later exercise I wrote a "wrapper" story about the writer of the word portrait and how it reflected his life.

I liked what I'd done and wrote more. I began to connect them into a set of linked short stories. Then I decided that the word portraits themselves were bogging down the read and removed them. The protagonist still wrote word portraits but the content was now only intimated.

Then I read an issue of Time Magazine about autism and realized the autistic nature fit my protagonist. I read books that taught me more about the attributes of an autistic childhood and about how some were able to overcome their limitations.

By then the collection was becoming a unified piece, finding its own life probing the boundaries of social, psychological, and spiritual understanding and how they fit together. My goal became the expansion of these boundaries for the protagonist, the author, and hopefully the reader.

Then I took a job that kept me from home twelve hours a day. All writing stopped until I retired and moved to Thailand. Once here I reworked what I had and now want to try it out. It's still set in Los Angeles circa 2003. Too many references put it in that timeframe. My hope is that the story is timeless enough to endure.

The protagonist's name is Frank McCoy, first and last name chosen to represent honesty and truth.

About the Author:

- Like Frank, I'm visually impaired and spent first through third grades in a boarding school for the blind.
- Like Frank, my father was transferred to Switzerland where I spent my high-school years.
- Like Frank, I earned an MA in physics at Boston University then left after two years in their Ph.D. program.
- Like Frank, I've spent a good bit of my adult life pursuing psychological and spiritual awareness.
- Like Frank, I worked intermittently as a software engineer between bouts of creativity.
- Unlike Frank, I wasn't an autistic child (though we had plenty in common).
- Unlike Frank, I'm now retired and living in Thailand so I can write full-time.

I must emphasize, though, that Memoir of an Unlikely Savior is a work of fiction. While aspects of Frank's life parallel mine, the novel is not an autobiography. All characters within it are creations of my imagination and not meant as a representation of anyone who is or ever was alive.

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