Customer Reviews: Where's My Wand?: One Boy's Magical Triumph over Alienation and Shag Carpeting
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VINE VOICEon April 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book, takes us through Eric's youth -- first as a young child, then as a boy growing up into a young man in high school. The book begins with a maelstrom, a shag rug, and a hen-pecked dad, and ends in a whispered declaration of love.

In between the pages is a young boy, Eric -- coming to terms with family drama, "creating miracles" with the help of "Bewitched" and a ratty bedspread turned into a robe, and trying to deal with the fact that he is different and...constantly bullied at school. Intervention comes in the form of a newly found friend, Stacey, who despite being born without arms is a champion for Eric, a fiesty fighter with a surprising right hook.

Eric's interesting and often very funny observations include his sister's rise from precocious tween to "don't rat on me" teen, his aunt's habit of driving a car on the edge of the sppedometer, rationality, and possibly also the tires, a camping trip (and also at another time, a sleep over) gone terribly askew, and his grandmother's flamboyant visit -- hilarious observations -- but on the other hand, Eric's childhood is suddenly face-to-face with a reality he did not expect, and one which no bedspread/robe could fix -- the heart-breaking aftermath of a serious bus crash.

Eric deals with his budding homosexuality, his mother's obsessive compulsive neatnick lifestyle, his much-admired dad's desire to make a man out of him (the BB gun incident....!), interspersing these episodes with trips to the basement to conjure up a better life with the magic bespread/robe. Eventually a trombone takes the place of his beloved robe, with unforseen consequences.

Throughly enjoyable, thought-provoking and personable, "Where's My Wand" holds the reader's attention through-out the whole narrative.
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VINE VOICEon April 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was initially intrigued by this book because of the funny title, but quickly realized there is a good story within the cover to back it up. The book is easy to read, as if your best friend is telling you the story of his life. You laugh at times, you're shocked at times, and you sometimes just want to reach out and give him a hug. (I found myself laughing out loud a lot, but don't want to spoil it for you!) I enjoyed the author's sense of humor, and look forward to seeing what else he may write.
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VINE VOICEon April 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Eric Poole is a funny, funny man. His first book, Where's My Wand?, is a collection of autobiographical essays that will make you laugh out loud. They include bits about his relatives, experiences with bullies, a fascination with the TV show Bewitched and Endora, and his hilarious attempts to fit in with his peers, please his obsessive-complex mother, stay close to his older sister, and bond with his amiable father.

At times the book is bittersweet and poignant. Poole has that rare ability to remember exactly what if felt like to be young, naive, gullible, and so innocent it hurts. I'd love to see this book adapted into a TV sitcom. It's one of the funniest books I've read in a long time.
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on March 31, 2015
I recall seeing a multi-sentence blurb in some magazine a while back that this was a must-read about a kid who loved Endora in "Bewitched." I was unprepared for such a rich, funny, well-observed memoir of a gay kid growing up in the Seventies, and how he related to the world, his parents, his classmates, and how the TV show "Bewitched" allowed him to grasp that there must be something better than this. There are quite a few books out there that attempt to portray the "smart ass" kid who utters oh-so-clever ripostes and such, but Mr. Poole's substantial gift is to truly make the reader see the world through his protagonist's eyes, and the character's adventures are consistently real and true-to-life.

And leave it to Mr. Poole to end the book in a wonderfully moving scene that completely gets you due to everything that happens before. I'm so glad I discovered this book.
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Based on the blurbs, I was expecting a funny, off-the-wall tale before I opened the covers of Eric Poole's memoir, Where's My Wand?, and I was not disappointed. From the first sentence I could sense that this was not just an entertaining read -- it was a deep story about an unusual family, and Poole would pull no punches. Poole been compared to David Sedaris, but as much as I love David I've decided that may be an unfair comparison. Unfair to Eric. David's humor has a finely honed edge. Although the portraits he paints seem unflinchingly honest, Poole's humor is deep, profound, and oozing love and compassion.

What truly sets the book apart is his -- dare I say magical? -- ability to use banter, exaggeration, innovative description, irony and other literary devices to transform painful situations into tender insight. He has a message that will appeal to any reader who grew up feeling at all different or left out (who didn't?), was bullied or ridiculed in any way (who wasn't?) or had quirky parents (who didn't?).

His use of magic, complete with wand and bedspread, is an inspired device for chronicling his development from a naïve youngster into an insightful young man as he approaches maturity. His understanding of the magic morphs and matures as he does, moving from arcane powers induced by the bedspread (based on Endora in his favorite sitcom "Bewitched"), to God, to self in a wobbly trajectory. Together with his devotion to "Bewitched", it serves as a thread for integrating the dozen-and-one essays comprising the content. Each essay is carefully crafted to shed light on a specific element of his experiences, personality, quirky family, abusive classmates, clueless teachers, and assorted bystanders. Aspiring memoirists will do well to ponder Poole's techniques.

With a different view of life and approach to writing, the material in this book could easily become a horror story. For example, his mother was an obsessive-compulsive person who vacuumed the garage, insisted he rake the shag carpet to hide his footsteps as he went into his bedroom for the night, and went postal if he and his sister created evidence of actually living in the house. There were classmates who jeered and bullied; fear-mongering church leaders, angst about being out-of-step and different from others -- the list goes on. Poole has obviously made peace with these elements of his past, enabling him to poke fun at it in a lighthearted, forgiving and accepting way, and he is generous with credits for the loving, supportive people he encountered. I could sense his conviction that everyone was doing the best they knew how, and that it all worked out. Every word seemed grounded in underlying love, compassion, and personal peace that left me feeling uplifted as well as entertained.

I recently read that writing can be imbued with transformative power transcending the specific words. Poole's writing seems to have that power.
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on June 25, 2010
i had to ration my days of reading this book because i simply did not want it to be over. each chapter is completely new and largely unexpected (with certain, hysterical exceptions), making for a very enjoyable adventure in reading. readers always make comparisons to other writers within a genre, but this one begs no comparison. poole's voice is new, though he does claim to be the secret love child of david sedaris and fran leibowitz, "But oddly taller". i smiled to myself, cried, squirmed, empathized, laughed aloud, and marveled at clever turns of language poole dances through in telling his colorful narrative. this is a truly wonderful book, and as a lover of fun reading, i hope everyone who's ever felt like a misfit picks it up and finds their own magic inside it. mr. poole had better have book two in process... this one was magical!
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on June 23, 2011
Eric Poole's memoir (and first book!) of growing up gay and obsessed with Agnes Moorehead is a treat, and a very easy read. Actually I should clarify: he's obsessed with Endora and believes, with a colorful piece of bed linen he calls his "coat of many colors," that he also has magical powers. This works for a while as he believes he changes the rather sordid reality around him for his own good...but eventually he finds out in a tragic and very touching way, just how limited a little boy's powers are in an uncaring Universe. Some of the funnier tales: a mishap-filled camping trip with his (apparently) lesbian Aunt Jinny; his BB-welding revenge on a sadistic rabbit-killer; and his befriending of a female classsmate who, despite having no arms, defends our hero against the class bully. I highly recommend this quick and breezy read, especially to those who like well-written personal memoirs of the not-so-famous. Also, I think I loved this book because I am a contemporary of the author and also grew up in the shag carpet-infested '70's.
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on May 27, 2010
I enjoyed this book tremendously. Eric Poole paints a vivid image of growing up different and learning to cope in his own "magical" way. His characters are funny, heartbreaking and all-too-real. I love David Sedaris, but I am often turned-off by the smugness which creeps into some of his writing. This book was devoid of any smugness, superiority or snarkiness. We're given a glimpse into a world that is often cruel, random and unfair, but ends in bittersweet triumph. I am looking forward to more from the author!
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on September 5, 2015
Great pot. Big and beautiful and a great price. My plant loves it so much it's growing from a shrub to a tree. Go figure. The only problem is that it doesn't have a hole at the bottom to drain excess water. Still, you can't beat the color and the price. Looks great on my patio. Prettier and less heavy than my other pots.
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on June 20, 2010
In this well written often laugh out loud memoir we find ERIC POOLE sharing facets of life from third grade through parts of high school. Here we are given a heavy dose of his dysFUNctional Baptist family and many colorful characters and adventures. Insightful lessions and and observations are revealed in an almost nostalgic sort of way, and readers who grew up in the 70's will especially find all the kooky references to the time terrific fun! The read is quick, engaging, and I am definitely interested in hearing more about MR. POOLE'S aliening but magical life. I also like his long obsession with Bewitched and its charater Endora, which would inspired him to take his own life into his own hands often with often mixed results. He would then create his own magical rituals to influence his own life, and to witness him grow up and to percieves his doings is at times like watching him from the spirit world blossom, while you root for him all the way. Also, how his consciousness changes over time and his relationship and understanding of God is interesting as well. I highly recommend WHERE'S MY WAND? - ONE BOY'S MAGICAL TRIUMPH OVER ALIENATION AND SHAG CARPETING for the humor, the moving drama (yes, there's some of that too), but its the graceful ease in which ERIC"S enchanted life is wonderfully spun to us that is so appealing. I want to hear more from MR. POOLE and his boyhood triumps, troubles, maybe even all about his first kiss, - which you know is going to have a Bee Gees soundtrack, and that fabulous Farrah Fawcett poster hovering overhead!!!! ENJOY EVERYONE !!!!!
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