family tree

Book Review: The Impact of a Single Event by R. L. Prendergast

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In the Fall of 2017, I won The Impact of a Single Event by R.L. Prendergast in a Goodreads Giveaway. I was finally able to make time to read it, and I’m so sorry I waited this long. It was superb! I initially entered the contest because it was about the passing of a journal over a 150+ year period throughout a few different connected families. Writing and genealogy, how could I not love it? At about ~280 pages, it is such an easy-to-read novel, I devoured it in about 3 hours one afternoon.

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Sonia and Richard, a couple in their mid to late 30’s, stop on the road to help victims of a car accident. After the ambulance arrives and carts the couple to the hospital, Sonia and Richard find the journal among the victims’ belongings, then rush to the hospital to drop it all off. From there, the book alternates chapters tracing the lineage of the journal back 6 generations and discussing the impact of it on Sonia and Richard’s current lives. We learn more about what’s going on with Sonia and Richard in their chapters and understand what troubles they face, but we also see how the journal was used by each of the 6 people who’d previously written in it. In the final chapter, Sonia and Richard leave their own imprint when the journal finds its way back to their hands.

Much of the writing style and language in this book is absolutely enchanting. In the first 75%, I found myself turning pages without even realizing how much time had passed by. It was so engaging. When I hit the final chapter, I was less interested only because it became a bit more Eat/Pray/Love journey, which while fascinating, isn’t something I can easily grasp when it’s set in 1860s India. I’m just not familiar enough with the country, religions, or the history, but for the right reader, this will be, I’m certain, a phenomenal journey. That said, it was still beautiful, and if that final chapter (the longest) was more like the rest, I would have given this 5 stars. It was more a case of reader disconnect and not anything the writer had done. It was written well, just hard for me to connect when the main character of that journal entry was hiding in a jungle hoping not to be eaten by a tiger! I tend to prefer something a bit more concrete with just a dose of philosophy.

The way the journal is handed off from person to person is breathtaking. The characters are rich and vibrant. The jump from time periods is virtually effortless. And there’s a great family tree graphic in the beginning to help you understand how everyone’s connected, but in all honesty, it’s not necessary despite how complicated the story can get. And there’s a wonderful surprise at the end which I wasn’t expecting.

It’s a high recommendation from me if you like books to move you and take you on a journey. But you need to be comfortable with missing details, getting in your head, and taking a leap of faith in philosophy. Kudos to the author for one of the most seamlessly written books of this nature I’ve read before.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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365 Challenge: Day 35 – Genealogist

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Genealogist: One who is actively engaged in the study or investigation of ancestry and family histories

We’ve made it through another week and on this fifth Sunday, it’s time to wrap up the first month’s focus on my genealogical heritage. See below for a picture of my Ancestry DNA results.

genealogy

In the last four weeks, I selected the 4 countries where I believe my ancestors hailed from, as well as picked the top stereotypical traits people assumed about the people from those places. A quick summary:

  1. Irish: 20%
  2. English: 33%
  3. German: 33% (Includes the Scandinavian as some of relatives were on the border)
  4. Scottish: 13%
  5. Other: 1% (West Asian – I think everyone gets that!)

While the DNA results and the documentation have a 10% disconnect, it’s a very clear picture of who my people were and where I came from.

Why do I study my genealogy? Take a look at this post on my professional website. It will give you some insight into my historical nature and great big quest for the past.

I often wonder why I’m so persistent on it… do I doubt who I am? Do I need more details about where I came from? Is it trying to understand how it all began?

Ultimately, this interest goes back to more than just people… it’s how did the USA begin. What happened to the dinosaurs? What were the original continents like? How did Earth form? What other galaxies are there? It’s more than being curious. It’s more than dedication or obsession. When I’m researching a family member on my laptop, tons of windows open to compare and contrast records, and I stumble upon a find… my eyes light up, I can’t sit still and my fingers can’t keep up with my mind. The discovery is brilliant and I’m ecstatic.

I’m a linear person. I like to start at the beginning. I have to read the first book in a series. I prefer straight lines. I like to create project plans with a starting point and an ending point. I love watching time pass on a clock, counting down to the re-start of the 60 segment process.

I believe it’s the same orderly structure that drives me to research my roots. I like seeing things improve, gain strength, drive forward. Adding more knowledge with each successive chain or generation. I’m sociological, I suppose.

Seeing a family tree, learning how people survived, how they met… what types of jobs and families they had. What made them move? These are all details I enjoy searching for across the internet.

Can you imagine watching from the sidelines as your ancestors moved through their lives? What if we had a time machine and could go back not to change the past, but to watch it unfold on warp speed? Quick enough not to see the tedious things, but slow enough to watch how each generation changed. To see your 4 times grandparents meet on a boat and decide to marry within days. To know your 6 times great-grandmother suffered so many miscarriages due to the poor conditions of medicine and health, but then she finally gave birth to your 5 times great-grandfather. To know how wars impacted your family. To recognize who touched royalty at some point.

It’s not unlike my interest in mystery fiction. Investigation. Detection. Research. As I draft each of these posts, hitting number 35 today, several themes are starting to appear. I’ve always known about them on a smaller scale, but the picture is becoming more clear.

So now I throw it out there… where do I go next?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.