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 diffiuclt time reading. Even as a book author and literature 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. A 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 actively 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. A 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

J. Peters is the Editor-in-Chief of Mental Health Affairs.

Award-winning book author and Bold 10 Under ten award recipient J. Peters, LCSW. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Mental health therapist and disability rights advocate Mr. Peters fights for those without a voice in various care systems, 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.

Mr. Peter's battle with Schizophrenia began at New London University in his last semester of college. Discharged from Greater Liberty State Hospital Center in July 2008, Jacque's recovery was swift but not painless and indeed brutal after spending six months there.

He has published several journal articles on recovery and mental health and three books: University on Watch, Small Fingernails, and Wales High School. He is also a board member of the newspaper City Voices. Mr. Peters currently sits on the CAB committee (Consumer Advisory Board) for the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene in NYC and the Office of Mental Health (OMH) as a peer advocate.

Owner of Recovery Now in New York, a private psychotherapy practice, Mr. Peter's approach is rooted in a foundation of evidence-based practices (EBP). Jacques earned a master's degree in Social Work from Binghamton University and worked as a field instructor for master's and bachelor's level students in NYC.

He is blogging daily on his site mentalhealthaffairs.blog, Mr. Peters regularly writes articles relating to his lived experience with a mental health diagnosis.

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