I just received word from Sean Ferrier-Watson, JASAT Book Review Editor, that the review I wrote of Garden Variety has been accepted for publication in the 2018 edition of JASAT, The Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas. It was a fascinating read about much more than just the history of the tomato!
Hoenig, John. Garden Variety. New York: Columbia UP, 2017. 288 pages. $35.00 paper. ISBN 9780231179089.
Davis, Kimberly Parish. Review: Little Big Steps by Arash Bayatmakou. Self-published, 2017.
Little Big Steps by Arash Bayatmakou tells the story of a one determined man’s refusal to allow a spinal cord injury with its attendant negative diagnosis to dampen his enthusiasm for life, or his desire to walk again. Arash, with eloquent, yet accessible language takes readers chronologically through three years of his life, beginning with the day, an ordinary day like any other, when he fell three stories and broke his neck. He doesn’t sugarcoat the deep depression or anger that followed his injury, but more than anything, he takes issue with the lack of care he received from the medical profession and the failure of his insurance company to support him when he needed it. In a situation that has consigned many others before him to life in a wheelchair, Arash holds fast to the belief that he will regain the use of his legs one day. With the unfailing support of a devoted and loving family, Arash found his way to healers and techniques that defy the negative prognosis routinely doled out by traditional doctors. As daunting as that part of the task was, he also found creative ways to fund his therapy while helping others at the same time.
I have followed Arash’s blog, https://arashrecovery.com/, for several years, so I’d read some of the stories he told in this book, but the book went deeper. It told me about personal things Arash never shared on the blog. It answered questions I dared not ask, but really wanted to know, like: “How can he afford all these fancy therapies?” and “Who takes care of him?” I was touched to learn about Arash’s close relationship with his parents and to get to know his fiancé Britta, the blond beauty he had mentioned in the blog.
I always knew that Arash was a talented writer, and this book bears that out. He has a gift for language, and an intelligence that shines forth in his ability to analyze situations and describe the complicated emotions he has had to negotiate. I recommend this book for everyone as it offers a powerful example of the power of faith, not in any specific deity, but in the innate intuition that we each possess, but few of us know how to listen to.
I wrote this review for JASAT, the Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas. It appears in Volume 46: November, 2016.
Download the clipping HERE.