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The (In)Elegant Struggle of Breaking Paradigms: or Back in OC: Almost Homeless Kindle Edition
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There is an immediacy to the writing, and I like the diary as a story-telling device. As you follow Toni's journey, it feels like you are really reading the diary of a regular person, not the work of an accomplished author. But for the author, that is a BIG accomplishment. D. Helene has created a narrator with a voice that is so identifiable and real, you feel like you are sneaking a peek into the private journal of a dear friend. While some of the hallmarks of fiction that a reader might crave -- musical prose, layered metaphors, a more traditionally-structured story -- do not appear on these pages, it's this reader's opinion that their absence works well for this novel.
Toni does occasionally turn the great phrase, and is funny, and keenly observant - so you believe that she has talent. And those moments amplify the "fiction." But you also see her as a vulnerable,complex person who is dealing with every day life the best she can. Not someone who has crossed the finish line, or necessarily will. Although you want her to. Which creates tension. So, for me, the imperfection of the writing (her writing) is one of the book's strong points.
I think it takes an excellent author to give a character that kind of voice. I believe Toni, and she feels like a real person in a real world (while it is an unusual, colorful, and singular one at the same time). She opens up to us in a very intimate way.
What truly really impressed me is that, while the book is an easy-breezy read, the full impact of what the author is saying about the struggles of living in our current social paradigm sneaks up on you. By the end, you are left with insights and feelings that are weightier than the prose. This very compassionate work also widens the reader's perspective about who the homeless are, and how, but for the grace of the Universe, be us! That is not an easy trick!
Motels, food pantries and women’s shelters become a regular part of Kelly’s life in this heartbreaking narrative. Author D. Helene accurately depicts the desperation of an individual facing the possibility of homelessness. Kelly tries to remain positive, but I found her situation so sad that I couldn’t finish reading the book.