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A Life Less Lived Paperback – May 1, 2013
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About the Author
Dr. Eileen Ladin-Panzer has a Ph.D. in Educational Public Policy Analysis and has spent over thirty years in the Chicago Public Schools as an educator. With this debut novel based on the city she knows and loves, she is fulfilling her lifelong ambition to be a writer. A Chicago native, she still loves in the Chicago area most of the year, dividing her time between Chicago and Florida.
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Top customer reviews
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The story has themes that tackle issues of prejudice, class, wealth, heritage, etc. Its content is easy to relate to for most people. The neighborhood is vividly described and feels populated and fleshed out. Sometimes the dialogue itself feels stilted, and characters will say something in a foreign language only to have it translated immediately thereafter (not a writing technique I really like). I felt like the exposition was the high point of the book, and there is a lot of exposition indeed. The story was full of characters I wanted to get to know.
Better editing is needed to clean up some errors and tighten up the writing. However, I thought the writing overall was pretty engaging. The story meandered a bit here and there, but I think the message and themes of the story are interesting and worth checking out.
Author: Eileen Ladin-Panzer
Reviewer: George Shadow
Wonderful story about a group of post World War II Jewish immigrants and their travails as they struggled to survive in a new land. Evelyn is a girl like any other, and goes about experiencing the highs and lows of growing up, like any other. Disappointments and glad tidings bring to the fore the simple nature of Evelyn's sweet demeanor. But she has aspirations and dreams, and these could either make or mar one's young life.
Dysfunctional parents often make young children suffer. Parents that cannot take care of their lives often transfer the burden of living on their kids, and this is what this book is all about. Sadly, many immigrants fail to adjust well in a new country, and the resultant consequence of this veering off, so to speak, is best observed on the lives of their young ones. In A LIFE LESS LIVED, it is Evelyn who suffers the most through it all, and her life experiences should be a lesson for immigrant families who think they have done everything they need to do for their kids when they haven't really done the most important thing of all. Show them a bit more love. Always.
Author Eileen's novel is disparagingly moody, but that's the feel of the book. You get a sense of foreboding, of not knowing what to do in situations, of not being in control of one's young life, of feeling dejected and rejected, and I must say that is credit enough for the author. Her descriptions of young Evelyn and her life's surrounding neighborhood is very vivid and captivating. The Jewish customs and rituals and the cataclysmic clashes these organizations have with modernity was very interesting to see in the story, and she also kept mistakes to a minimal.
Absolutely loved the read. Will recommend it to all and sundry.
George Shadow is the author of THE BLACK BOOK.
The characters are the strength of this book. They are well developed and described so thoroughly that you literally see them in three dimensions. There are characters to love, but you don't as their failings are drawn out for you. There are characters to hate, but you don't as their shortcomings are illustrated in a way to take away the strength of your dislike.
The philosophy is not as well intertwined as it might be, but the strength of the story and the family members pulls you back into the reading time and time again. The Kindle edition lacked proofreading and editing, which was distracting at times. Overall though, a good story and intriguing characters that stay with you long after the book is done.
I thought the characters were fleshed out fairly well. Their personalities conveyed their internal struggle to find happiness and their place in life. I would have felt a little more connection if there had been more interaction. The narrator tells a lot of the book rather than the characters. There is page after page with no dialogue. I think the book needs a good edit. There is way too much description too. Less is more in this case. I believe there is a good story in there, it just needs to be streamlined and it will read much smoother.