Fantasy, Reality, Reviews and Drama Lessons from Gordon A. Long
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Are We Stupid? Blog admits "Why Canadians Fear Bernie Sanders"
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Why Are People So Stupid?

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A Sword Called…Kitten?

 eBook: $1.99

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Soft Cover: $14.95

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Drama Materials

Expressive Poetry Performance

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The Dramatic Classroom Blog

Latest post: Get the "Amateur" off the Board of Directors


Interesting Contacts

Cas Peace -  Novelist, Editor
 
Kaz Augustin  -  Sandalpress
 
Yvonne Hertzberger  - Fantasy Writer 

The Indie View - Indie Book Reviews from Around the Web
 

Anachronism Pictures

Including the award-winning mechanical squid,"Septopus"
 

Generations

The Surrey Intergenerational Theatre Troupe
 

The Vaudevillians

 B. C's. #1 Seniors Entertainment Troupe

 


 


This book starts out with a lunch meeting wherein a journalist promises his editor that he will change from his writing about “irresponsible womanizing” and instead produce something “topical…a bit sexy…down to earth, ear to the ground.” He also decides, that, much though he would like to, it would be financially reckless to commit the violent murder-with-a-table-utensil that he has been amusing himself by planning while he endured the editor’s lecture.

This probably autobiographical scene sets up the book. Be prepared for a full journalistic treatment of the Tijuana illegal border-crossing game, described in loving detail by someone must have been there. For years.

 

What

You’re not going to get a better rundown on what is happening up and down the food chain in the Tijuana illegal immigrant community. The techniques, the ploys, the successes and failures are presented in a fractured pastiche of scenes, like viewing the reels of a movie in random order.

 

Who

Intersperse through this book is the story of the title character, a peasant from the mountains somewhere north of Mazatlan, on her way to immortal fame, at least in the songs of corrido street musicians and Radio Ranchita. We become attached to this wonderful woman as she uses every notch and cranny to scramble further up the social cliff before her. Legality doesn’t figure in her moral makeup, but she manages to help enough others along the way to prepare her reputation for sainthood.

The other characters may be cartoonish and stylized, but are intensely empathetic nonetheless. Even the down-and-out journalist manages to attract our sympathy by realizing the immaturity of his fixation with underage girls, especially since he never manages to realize his illegal dreams. And the brave, uncomprehending Pepito, the seven-year-old hero of the main scene, tears at every heartstring.

 

Where

Physical description is perhaps the greatest strength of the writing (vying with humor for the top spot), as it must be to help us understand the population of this demimonde. The work is crammed with extravagant details of the setting, society, and history of individuals and the population at large. By the time you finish you will have a wonderful, gritty picture of the border area, aided by the observational skills of a resident journalist. Simply enjoying these details is one of the pleasures of reading the book for the second time.

The other pleasure is being able to figure out the timeline.

 

When

One thing you need to know before you start reading. The first and last pages of this book take place one day apart. Scattered between these points is a mosaic of events covering about five years. I never bothered to figure out the “when” of each new scenario, because each one’s place on the chronological scale is unimportant. There may be a few, very short, “where are we now?” moments, but don’t worry about them. Just enjoy whatever story Robinson is telling at the moment. I guarantee you’ll have it figured out by the end.

 

How

Another piece of evidence as to the credentials of the writer. If his research isn’t impeccable, his imagination certainly fills in the blanks with credible (but mostly incredible) details of how the illegal immigrant system works, from the lowest pollo to the top of Mexican political life.

 

Why

Since a great deal of the book involves lovingly baring the histories and motivations of the pantheon of characters, we certainly get a good idea of why most of them are there, even “the dog who would become Pucho,” a fierce, misunderstood junkyard mongrel and pit fighter who just wants companionship.

 

Style

The writing style of this book is rooted in journalism. There is little dialogue and a lot of analysis. Point of view switches whenever it suits the author, and that usually means from the author himself. However, since Robinson’s take on the world is irreverent, original, and humorous, this does not come across as a disadvantage.

However, the journalistic distance does remove us emotionally from the action, which is more concerned with the outward manifestations of loud motors, gunfire, and screaming. We must provide the stronger emotions from our own imaginations. The advantage is that, while the story is filled with violence, mud and filth, we are cushioned by that same distance from having it thrown in our own faces. The result is more a fairy tale written in journalistic style than a novel.

Highly recommended for lovers of truly creative writing, humourous fairy tales, and Mexico.

 
An unreserved Five Stars.
 
 

 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


Novel 
and
Television series
 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


Mind of the Beast

Brian and Juliet Freyermuth


As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

Alan Bradley


Raven's Wing

Shawna Reppert


Hooligans

Chaz Fenwick


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
Erik Kort


 
(Short Story)

Aine Greaney


Mysteries of Shetland

Anne Cleeves


Ravensblood

Shawna Reppert


The Cold Forever

Dmitry Pavlovsky


Ava's Man

Rick Bragg


Ava's Man

Rick Bragg


The Best Laid Plans

Terry Fallis

 

 

Wordscapist: the Myth

Arpan Panicker


Murder and Mendelssohn
Kerry Greenwood

Drawing Conclusions
Donna Leon

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
Alexander McCall Smith

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches
Alan Bradley


The Commons Book 1

The Journeyman
Michael Alan Peck


At War With Satan
Steff Metal

Phobos: Mayan Fear
Steve Alten

Guystuff
Linton Robinson

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

You Can't Get There From Here
Gayle Forman

Psychic Warrior
T. D. McKinnon

Forager
Peter R. Stone

Butterman (Time Travel) Inc.
PK Hrezo

Winter Fire
Laurie Dubay 

Canadian Pie
Will Ferguson 

Bertie Plays the Blues
Alexander McCall Smith

Miss Timmins' School for Girls
Nayana Currimbhoy

Xenophobia
Peter Cawdron

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
Enid Shomer

The Importance of Being Seven
Alexander McCall Smith

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic
Meghan Ciana Doidge

Unnatural Habits
A Phryne Fisher Mystery

Kerry Greenwood

Strays
Book I of The Glaring Chronicles

Matthew Krause

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Richard C. Morais

The Crooked House
John Longeway

Eye Candy
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Season of the Harvest
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Chronicles of Trellah Book I:
The Perpetual Rain

T. S. Graham


The Casual Vacancy
J. K. Rowling
Alexander McCall Smith
Charlotte Henley Babb

David Litwack 
G. T. Denny
John Patrick Gallagher
Cas Peace
Steve Umstead
L.M.Dewalt
J.W.Bacarro
Mark Everett Stone