Mathias B. Freese ends with some really heart-touching essays about his family in his collection titled "This Mobius Strip of Ifs. The collection serves to introduce you to the author, teach you some lessons he's learned over the years as a writer, teacher and therapist, and as a movie reviewer. Mathias B. Freese is always thoughtful, questions reality and has interesting remarks to make about many stages in life; he, in fact, offers up his belief that life is somewhat like the Mobius Strip used in his title, circulating round and round and sometimes offering up a bit of magic insight.
One of the things the collection offers is a view into some early literature and movies that could help students of literature and the movie industry understand where the developments occurred. His essays on Buster Keaton, Peter Lorre, Orson Welles, Kazanstakis, La Dolce Vita are inspiring informative homages with details many people might not know, but two other essays bring them together. "Babbling Books and Motion Pictures" provided many helpful suggestions for movies and books that I might like to read, but "Cameras as Rememberances of Things Past" provides a heartfelt look that spans generations in his family of how a camera is used and then how a photograph can come to mean much more than the picture captured.
In the concluding essays about his family life, Mathias B. Freese touches on the topics of children reaching life stages--first class in kindergarten, coming of age, an unusual agin grandparent, a daughter who suffers with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.Read more ›
When I first read about this book, I got the impression that it would either be wonderful or terrible. Either the author would be intelligent enough that he could effectively and from solid ground "joust with American culture," or he couldn't and the book would read as a giant whine-fest that lacked credibility. As you can tell by my rating, he clearly has the brains to back this book up.
Now, I didn't agree with all of his essays, but agreeing isn't the point. Where would the world be if we all only read or listened to things we agreed with? Other times I agreed so strongly that I slapped the book down on the table in the break room at work and cried "Thank you," or laughed at the accuracy of his sometimes extremely entertaining name calling. As I read I often wished Mr. Freese were sitting there next to me so that I could make counter points and discuss his views further. What better kind of non-fiction is there?
This book doesn't have a specific genre. The author discusses everything from generational problems in education, to human nature and living in the moment, to the horrid hypocrisy of book bloggers (and yes, I quite enjoyed that one!) Growing up, I spent many hours in philosophical, scientific and logical conversations about many of the same topics with my father. As an adult, often in conversation with others I will mention a concept, like the purpose and illusion of religion or the horror of a teacher who says "Don't worry about that, it won't be on the test," just to draw confounded stares. I often forget that most people did not spend their childhood philosophizing late into the night, and I feel like many of the ideas in this book will be novel to them.Read more ›
It's not an easy task to review a book composed of essays, especially when they are as deeply personal as these are. However, I do want to share some of the thoughts I had. First of all, there is no doubt Mr. Freese is a writer at heart, and soul, and everywhere that's important. His words, his phrases, are organic, the kind that seem so simple yet really are not. They have layers of meanings that deserve many consequent readings. Sure, there are a few moments where I found myself wishing he'd whittled some down to their bare bones, so that the truth in what he was trying to say could come through unencumbered, but these moments were few and far between. As far as content, the essays cover everything from Freese's favorite movies to his views on philosophy. His thoughts on education, in particular, struck me. It was surprising to read, from a former teacher, all the faults many of us see in the educational system. I found myself nodding violently at the manner he describes his struggles with a society (a world, really) that abhors creativity and that finds anyone who doesn't fit into their molds threatening. The candid manner in which he shares with the reader about his daughter's illness and consequent death is heartbreaking in the way only truthful prose can be. This is not an essay collection for everyone. If you are looking for some quick reading that will entertain you for a few hours, then this is not it. This collection will make you think about everything around you until your head hurts and you have to put the book down. I enjoyed it very much, so I will recommend it to all of you out there who want something refreshingly, intelligently different.