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Critique by a person whose profession in Germany was to critique periodicals for a media source.

           "Man is born free but everywhere he goes, he is in chains.” These are the words of a French philosopher: Jean Jacque Rousseau. He was referring to the fact freedom in itself denotes limitation. The world is peopled by different characters with different abilities. However, one thing that is common to all individuals is the limitation of the human person. These limitations are imposed upon us either by our very nature or by the society. In her book, ‘Every Shut Eye Isn’t Asleep, Patricia Barbee shows that it is possible to transcend these limitations and end up successful in life. This book is a historical fiction told with great expertise that would make you want to turn the page ad nauseam once you read the first chapter. Her style of writing is appealing, full of humor, healthy satire and is easy to follow. The chapters in the book are short and consistent. This makes reading a pleasure rather than an inconvenience.

"The setting commences down South in Georgia and ends up North in the City of Boston. The time is in the early fifties. During this period, the United States is facing a quagmire along many facets of life especially racism and segregation. The ugly head of xenophobia sticks out both in the South and in the North but at varying degrees. The author uses the story to condemn this social evil, albeit she is careful enough not to rush to conclusions or shift blames on different groups of people. She understands that prejudice, as a human trait is a product of nurture and not nature. Consequently it can be unlearned through education and a rigorous process of socialization.

           "The whole story revolves around an iron lady by the name Valley and her brilliant daughter Heidi. Valley is a daughter of a Cherokee Indian father. She faces gazillion problems due to her mixed descent. Her mother dies when she is still a baby and so she has to live with different people during her childhood. Later on she gets married to a very abusive husband. The husband, Denis, strikers her in her pregnancy and she loses their second child in this violence. This leads to a divorce. In Boston, Valley struggles to bring up her brilliant daughter Heidi Rose in this densely populated city.

Despite this undesirable predicament, Heidi is full of energy so much so that her mother refers to her as a dynamo. She is so brilliant that she takes classes in the fifth grade when she is just six years old.  At her age, she understands what her mother is going through and she works hard in school with the hope of mitigating the cross her mother has to bear for her sake. In this moving piece of literature, themes such as hard work, perseverance and filial piety dominate the scene. One step at a time, day by day, Valley crosses the bridge of poverty and ends up owning a piece of property of her own, securing both her future and that of her daughter. To understand how she achieves her much-coveted America dream, you must read the book. "

CJ Ohulo, Kenya

Never in a life time would Patricia dreamed she'd be recalling precious days with her late husband who was Killed in Action in Vietnam.  Her contribution to Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul   begins on page 246.


Patricia Barbee is signing these books at the Fort Bragg Post Exchange, Fayetteville, NC.








Patricia designed this book cover.The photo of the Harvest Moon is a condensed version of her photograph taken at midnight on her paternal Grandfather's land while standing among the pines.          The original photo was to wrap around the book.  Therefore, a

condensed photo. 

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This GOLD STAR is presented to the Spouse and Children of a military service person Killed in Action or who dies from such wounds or illnesses.  Sadly, I have one.

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