Sunday, October 23, 2011

Exhausting Limits

When a friend posted a Huffington Post review of his uncle's book, Exhaust the Limits:  Life and Times of a Global Peace Builder on Facebook, I checked out the review, and then added the book to my TBR list.  There it languished for a very long time, since no library in Michigan owned the book.  Eventually I asked my library to buy it, and it did.

The uncle and author, Charles "Chic" Dambach, has lived an incredible life, which could make for a great book.  He joined the Peace Corps as a young man, and then climbed the ladder to the top of that organization.  He was involved in negotiating peace in Ethiopia.  He became a national champion kayak racer, and an Olympic official for that event.  He met presidents, he ran non-profit organizations, and his words found their way into speeches in Washington. 

But for all that, the book read a lot like something that a amateur writer would self publish.  There is a great story here, but after the first 100 pages, I started skimming.  The book would have benefited from having an experienced author help Dambach to take the book to the next level.  I was hoping that the book would be really inspirational, but it didn't really feel that way.  I would have liked it better if there had been "tips" or "pointers" between the chapters.  Topics could be things like "How to make your voice heard at the local, state, and national level"; "How to become an Olympic volunteer"; and "How to maintain your dignity while asking friends and strangers to help with medical expenses".  Dambach seems to have been in the right place at the right time to make things happen, but it couldn't have been that simple. A book offering ideas to help the readers find themselves in those places at those times would be a must read, and a better buy for my library.

Next up:  Room by Emma Donoghue - This is The Typical Book Group's next pick. 

Still Listening to:  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jaime Ford

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