BOOK REVIEW: Climbing toward November

BOOK REVIEW: Climbing toward November

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Admittedly, this isn’t just a review. This is partly a confession and primarily a book review of Ember Manos-Belle novel Climbing Toward November. I have a difficult time reading. Even as a book author and literary scholar. There, I’ve confessed it.

I don’t often read. This read was unexpected and a rare treat for me. This author is a modern-day maverick in the literary realm. She has moxie. There, I said it. She takes on topics usually traversed by people of authority, credence, and maybe even the law. In this sense, the reader is left asking: who exactly, is Ember Manos-Belle. Is she a lawyer, doctor, sociologist, anthropologist?

After reading Climbing Toward November, the reader cannot be certain as a wide, comprehensive range of topics, issues, and taboos are passed through with the author’s gentle, humorous, and at times, whimsical approach. With a scholarly hand, Ember both gestures, and questions long-standing social issues. In doing so, her at times, idealist way of seeing the world is juxtaposed with base, trite, and unfiltered realism.

This book is real. This book is raw. The filter is there, hanging by a thread. As the book unfolds, this thread dangles. Hanging, mocking, and revealing the real darkness within Ember. Darkness familiar to most of us all too often when we choose to get in touch with our emotions and connect with the world even when it is active is rejecting us.

Over the course of a day, the reader will climb towards November with Ember. This is a journey that begins with a door. An extended metaphor carried through the life of the protagonist as the reader ascends into the literary world of Manos-Belle’s masterpiece! I highly recommend this book to everyone.

 

 

About the Author

J. Peters

Bold 10 Under 10 award recipient Jacques Peters ’08, MSW ’12 . Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), therapist and disability rights advocate, Mr. Peters fights for those without a voice in various systems of care, such as the New York City Department of Social Services, the New York State Office of Mental Health or the city’s Department of Corrections. Jacques is the author of University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy, which he published under the pen name J. Peters in 2019, and First Diagnosis, published in 2020. Jacques refers to his stance on recovery in his journal articles as “Too big to fail.” No obstacle too big, no feat out of reach, Jacques let nothing stop him in his path to recovery and healing.
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