I've discovered that it can be really difficult to review a book when you've met the author and love the person and love the book just a little less.
Push My Life into a Duffle Bag has a good storyline, especially for those who have a heart for people from a less than wonderful environment. John Roger Schofield does a great job of developing the characters in the story written from the viewpoint of abused child who grows up to be an angry young man and his struggle with and through that anger. In fact, one thing the book does extremely well is give you the sense that this is indeed someone's personal memoirs.
The first few chapters of the book were extremely hard for me to get through primarily because of the graphic sexual descriptions. For the most part, they really were unnecessary to the story. It is possible to get the same points across without being quite so graphic and the human part of the interplay took so much of a backseat that it almost got lost. If one shies away from such things and dislike profanity, then this is probably not the best book to read. For a good example of something that can be a little "steamy" and still not be quite as graphic, the Song of Solomon might work. I am not suggesting that the story excise the less than pretty parts, but perhaps it could have relayed them in such a way as to not to cause young men to want a cold shower afterwards. LOL
The best and worst characteristics (outside of the nearly pornographic descriptions) are actually the same. John is quite good at adjectives and descriptiveness in the scenes he portrays through a lot of the book, but at times it is almost too much, as though he picked up the dictionary just to toss a few words in there. I found the use of the word "Forsooth" throughout the book to be both endearing and a bit of a distraction. It was endearing because I know John seems to love the word, and it made me think of him: however, as far as the story goes, it really didn't make sense. Most people really don't talk that way, and John is unique. ;) I also found that he used the word, "myriad" a lot. It is hard to know whether or not it really stuck out to me because I know the name of his band is "The Myriad" or if I would have noticed it anyway. I do tend to try not to overuse the same word when writing, so that sort of thing will jump out at me sometimes.
The other downside to the book is that the time line seemed a little confusing in some parts of the book. Maybe a chart would have helped. He does backtrack a bit in parts of the story.
Overall, the book is interesting, and I'd really love to see it rewritten a little less graphically, and perhaps with a little more editing on finer points. And if "forsooth" stays in the story, perhaps an explanation of why the character keeps using it since it isn't a word most people use routinely.
To it's credit, Push My Life into a Duffle Bag has a good message in the end, but I am not sure it makes up for it's graphic nature, and in fact, it seems somewhat a contradiction.
(oh... peace out I stole from Mac Powell of Third Day, just because I like the way it sounds, and peace is good.) :)
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