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on March 8, 2012
I rarely write reviews but this one warranted HUGE raves! I read probably 4-5 books a week on my Kindle and often have a hard time finding books that really grab me. My preferred 'genre' are romantic comedies, romance and religious fiction. Even though this was a debut novel with few reviews, I had a chance to score it free so went ahead & downloaded it. From page 1, this masterpiece was a page turner. The main character Ben was hilarious, loveable and his quirks just had me laughing out loud left & right! This book is an absolute gem & I hated to see it end. I zipped through this book in less than a day because I just could NOT bring myself to put it down. Hilarious, heartwarming and SO entertaining! I hope this new author keeps the masterpieces coming! Can't rave enough about Prime of Life! A must read if you want something that is light and charming!
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on April 15, 2012
Sometimes you read a book that just hits all the right buttons. This was one of those books. The Prime of Life was just an excellent read.

When I was approached to read this book, I was hesitant. It's not my genre. I like romance and young adult. I decided to read and review it anyway.

I'm very glad that I did. Ben is a disillusioned cardiac surgeon that gave up his career. What did he choose to fill his time with? He took a job in a retirement home as the janitor. Over the ensuing three years, he's become quite attached to the residents.

Despite the plausibility of such a thing happening, I found that I was quite taken with the characters in the story. The writer made you feel as if you knew the entire cast. The depth of the main characters made me feel as if I knew them all when I was finished.

This story is in equal parts funny, heart-wrenching, touching, heartwarming and romantic. All tied into one very well-written book.

For readers that like to sit back and relax with a read and have a smile on their face when they read the last page--this is the book for you.

I can normally find something about every book that I'd do a bit differently. The only thing I can say in this one is that I don't care for the cover and the age of the main character didn't jive with his occupation. Certainly nothing at all wrong with the writing at all.

I received this book as a review request for The Kindle Review. I must say that this was a pleasure to read, and that I'd highly recommend it to any reader that loves a tale with a wide cast of characters and a plot that moves along very nicely.

This is one of those books that you can easily see being made into a movie. I'd certainly pay to see it. Although there are no aliens, it very much reminded me of the characters in Cocoon.

Mr. Beckendam did a wonderful job. I believe this was a self-published title. Sometimes that can mean poorly written and poorly edited. This is not the case in this book. Don't let the cover fool you.

Reviewed by Hope Welsh for The Kindle Book Review
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on March 3, 2012
A fantastic read!

Humorous, poignant, and deeply moving, Prime of Life will provide audible laughs from its quirky characters, a very real empathy for the protagonist, and deep thinking about life, purpose, and relationships.
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on March 20, 2012
PD Bekendam's debut novel has proven a thorughly delightful read. The story is humorous and full of local color, radiating authenticity. This is a timeworn tale with universal appeal, centering on one man's struggle to find meaning in his existence and ultimately accept his humanity. The plot is immediately engaging and well-paced, allowing the mystery behind the protagonist's fate to deftly unfold. At times the love interests seem peripheral, but in the end, this only underscores the depth of the protagonist's loneliness and angst over his self-imposed exile. The last chapter is absolutely transcendent. In sum, this is a well-crafted novel that will leave you yearning for more from this author.
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on March 21, 2012
What a pleasant read! I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and found myself among them in their home. P.D. writes with a knowledge of the human soul and psyche and reminds us of the joys and quirks that we carry at all stages of life. Having worked in a similar setting, I can honestly say that the characters and entertaining events in this book can be viewed in person at any time. The book was humorous and a wonderful escape from our own daily humdrum. A must read!
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on August 15, 2012
I found this book under the Christian Fiction section of the Amazon Kindle books. It was another free Kindle Book, and I'm glad it was...I probably wouldn't have picked this to read otherwise.

Let me preface by saying that although this had religious/Christian leanings, I did not feel like I was beaten over the head with religion. Yes, it is discussed...but I did not find it offensive like some Christian Fiction that beat you over the head with religion (even as a Christian, I find it somewhat offensive when this occurs in books).

What I loved about this book was the character development and the characters were characters. I loved their quirky personalities and their struggles were written in a compassionate way.

I would not, however, classify this as a romance novel. Yes, there are love interests in the book...but this really is more of a novel than a romance.

If you are looking for a good book, this is worth your time. If you are looking for lite reading or a romance...this is not it.
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on June 18, 2012
"Prime of Life" is a literary hat trick. You won't know until the final pages what you're reading. The author sets you up for one novel, and as in the classic shell game (pick the pea from under one of three shells) con, winds up serving up something entirely different. But in this con game, there are no losers.

The author sets it up as a warm, funny, and affectionate look at life in an old folks home as observed by a wounded young man who's retreated there from his own life to lick his wounds.

Bloody from the blows to heart and soul, Ben is happy to live the simple life of a janitor with no obligations and no regrets. He can sit back and watch with amusement the feuding and flirting of men and women thirty to forty years his senior who aren't ready to go gently and quietly into that good night.

But life won't let him alone, won't let him rest, won't let him hide in the recesses of a mind enmeshed by self constructed walls. It draws him back into the struggle of life - battling to protect the homes and fortunes of his new friends.

It draws him back into the all-too painful world of male female relationships by bringing a potential new love into his life, and then the woman he's never been able to get over from his old life. And even worse, instead of having to deal with one of them, he has to deal with both.

Smoothly written, amusing and heart warming, Ben's story would be a winner if it was only about a young man trying to put the pieces of a shattered life back together with help from some old friends.

But, as mentioned before, that's not what it's really all about. It's about the greatest question in human existence and how you feel about it will determine your response to the author's ending. If you are a non-believer, this is only a touching fantasy about God and angels. If you're a believer, it is an affirmation of the basic truth of life.

But whatever direction you come from, this is a winner. It's a very good, fast paced, satisfying read.
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on May 26, 2013
After his brother, Andrew died on the operating table, Ben left his practice as a cardiothoracic surgeon and moved across the country to work as a janitor in a nursing home. Ben has OCD and is obsessed with prime numbers and washing. The residents come to treat him as they would a member of their own family and aren't above attempting a little matchmaking with a beautiful podiatrist, despairing over his inability to come of his shell. But when a winning lottery ticket is lost, the home in jeopardy of being sold to developers with intentions to turn it into a mall, and a new resident moves in with a surprising tie to an area of his past he wants desperately to put behind, Ben finds himself in various humorous and chaotic situations which exposes the secret he was so desperate to keep hidden. He discovers that with a little help and faith in God, the past isn't something to run away from as perhaps to learn from, and that perhaps he deserves more out of life.
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on September 21, 2013
Ben is a mixture of Adrian Monk and Paul Bryan (Run for Your Life; 1965-1968). We meet him as a half-bubble-off-plumb janitor in a senior residential facility, and gradually learn of the history that haunts him. We observe relationships developing between Ben and the residents, and the residents with each other. We watch as believably impossible events conspire to precipitate crises-- for everyone in general, and Ben in particular. We can enjoy the humor of situations common in geriatric care, without a hint of disrespect. The resolution is in doubt to the very end, and is more satisfying for the suspense. This was s a great read. I almost felt like I was helping with Ben's redemption-- by continuing to turn the pages. Now THAT'S a well-spun yarn.
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on July 5, 2012
I was taken with the initial concept of the doctor who rejects his profession. And all the scenes requiring medical expertise rang true. But the plotting was very uneven and amateurish in places. And frankly, sticking John Stamos and Julia Roberts in the mix just did not work. That said, this writer has great originality and a good feel for characters. I read the entire book. I enjoyed it. My suggestion would be for the author to take a good writing class. He has the potential to write a lot of good books!
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