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This Is Only a Test (Break Away Book Club Edition) Kindle Edition
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Throughout, Hollars underlines his fears for both himself and his family. His grave discussion emphasizes the helplessness we feel when faced with forces of nature beyond human control and the fear we experience when confronted with humans who cause mass destruction. The thread that binds these essays on death and mayhem is the author's love for his children and wife, which offers readers a respite from the inherent grief and devastation he poetically describes.― Kirkus Reviews
In a series of short, entertaining essays, Hollars meditates on natural disaster and fatherhood. He tells of disasters he has been a party to . . . while cleverly relating them to his experience of fatherhood. The point being, it seems, that becoming a father is its own kind of natural disaster, but with more positive results. . . . A great collection to dip into or read sequentially, this book is surprisingly sunny, given its subject matter.― Library Journal
While This Is Only a Test mixes memoir, storytelling and research in a way that can be labeled creative nonfiction, Hollars writes in an accessible, personable voice. A high school student could read this book, and appreciate much of it.― Milwaukee Journal Sentinel --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
B. J. Hollars is author of two award-winning nonfiction books, Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America and Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa, as well as Sightings (IUP, 2013) and Dispatches from the Drownings: Reporting the Fiction of Nonfiction. He is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- File size : 828 KB
- Publication date : February 1, 2016
- Print length : 180 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Indiana University Press; Break Away Book Club ed. edition (February 1, 2016)
- ASIN : B019Z2TBWQ
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,670,087 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Hollars's writing style is varied and always entertaining. This is the third book I've read recently that has large segments in the present tense, and I'm starting to believe that's more acceptable than I've been led to believe. Those moments are effective here and create an immediacy that lends drama to the situation.
There is a creepy story about a kid getting locked in a refrigerator that is well told with a pleasant resolution (you'll get what I mean by that when you read it). I'm also from the generation that was told "don't ever climb into an abandoned refrigerator" as if refrigerators lurk in dark alleys waiting to gobble children up.
The stories of 'This is Only a Test' are relatable, particularly the concerns and insecurities of new parents. The writing is prose that aspires to poetry and gets there more often than it fails. This would be a good book to bring along with you on a trip to the boundary waters or some other place where you are free to take a big gulp of life and engage in a bit of personal reflection.
Edith D. Plettner
By B.J. Hollars
Reviewed by Jay Gilbertson
Eau Claire English Professor (Garrison Keillor must love this man) B.J. Hollars has put together a collection of essays that will sizzle your brain, make you really fear those old refrigerators lurking in basements everywhere and wonder about stuff like tornadoes and nuclear bombs and ultrasounds.
Yet honestly, it’s the story about Bobby Watson that has stuck with me. That I carry around in my head like a bee that won’t land, won’t sting, just keeps buzzing around.
“Nobody knows what Bobby thought as that fridge bobbed twice in the lake. We can imagine, of course. How the water wiggled through the seams like eels. And how it began filling that fridge within seconds, drenching Bobby’s shoes, Bobby’s socks, Bobby’s shorts. Meanwhile, on the other side of that refrigerator door, the maintenance man wiped his hands on his sleeves and headed toward the barn. There was a lawnmower in need of tuning…”
Author Hollars makes no beans about his goal in writing these essays, he rips into his subjects with bent head and I know his keyboard smokes now and again. Maybe a puff shoots out his ears when he’s really rolling along with facts and figures lined up and ready to blast off onto the page and into your head. Though small in stature, his delivery is huge and open and honest, filled to the brim with a fascination for life. Life makes him squirm.
This type of collection is best served live. Honestly. So, here’s more of author Hollar’s word-magic:
“So, what is it, I ask. He says that’s a little less clear. When I ask what to make of the continual low-grade fever, he reminds me that temperatures fluctuate, that some children just run warm. The easiest fix, we’re told, is simply to lay off the thermometer for a while. My jaw drops, though I soon admit this seems like sound advice…Of all my parental trespasses, the one I’ll never forget is how I place my faith in numbers and not our son. How many afternoons has he hugged pylons in the stream to assure me he was fine? And how many times had I ignored him? Why was it easier for me to trust a beep and a screen than the person I loved most?”
Not being a parent myself, I can only imagine what goes through the fried brain of an exhausted parental unit. Yet I did train two parents along my life-journey and have heard the stories, seen the pictures and—heard the stories. Some, like the underwear one, many times. Many.
It’s what brings us together, what gathers us and astounds, reminds us to look around, take a hand, offer one. Life is right here and it’s all that counts. This is not a test people.
• You will love this book
• What are you waiting for?
Their bizarre journey or I should say his takes off from there.
1 disaster after another.
Bobby Watson (10) was off to summer camp. Never to go back home & return to his parents.
I was born in 1950. In Mission, KS. Elementary school we had Cold War drills.
In Overland Park, KS. Elementary school we had tornado drills.
In Overland Park, KS. Junior High school, we would get discarded lumber from the housing building sites & build forts & tree houses.
1 day while out scavenging we found an abandoned refrigerator & freezer in a new housing site field.
But guess what all of us kids were given the rules about those appliances. Luckily everyone in our neighborhood obeyed.
We also found a box of Playboy’s, but that is another story.
I’ve have been/survived 3 tornadoes, 2 floods & 2 hurricanes.
I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review. Only an honest one.
A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very well written memoir book. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a great set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great disaster memoir movie, college class PP presentation, or mini TV series. There is no doubt in my mind this is a very easy rating of 5 stars.
Thank you for the free Goodreads; Breakaway book club; Indiana University Press; ARC; paperback book
Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)