Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Adult book review: Spin the Plate by Donna Anastasi

Paperback, Second Edition - July 2011, 196 pages
Published May 27th 2010 by Black Rose Writing

Blurb: Time has done nothing to heal childhood wounds inflicted more than a dozen years ago, nor fade the memories. Now as an adult, Jo has given up on the human race, men in particular, investing her energies in tattoo artistry and animal rescue. Francis meets Jo during an altercation between Jo and another passenger on the Boston subway. Francis, the brains and speech writer for Charles Davis a Boston philanthropist and billionaire, is painfully lonely as his job requires that he maintain anonymity plus have constant exposure to the shallowness, corruption, and cruelty of humankind. From the moment he lays eyes on Jo, Francis sees beyond her rough exterior to the genuine, passionate, fearless, and beautiful person Jo is and pursues her with unwavering passion.

In a compelling story on living as an incest survivor and the how-to's of love, faith, and healing, Jo discovers she is not alone in her fight to leave her past behind and move beyond sorrow into joy.

Our review: (Writing the review for this book has taught me to organize and protect my notes better. My review should have run with the author's tour.) Spin the Plate is not my usual type of book to read considering my affection for fantasy, and yet I found Jo's story totally absorbing. Jo is not an easy character to like--at first. She is a wounded soul, a victim of incest, and has built a impenetrable wall around herself. But there is one person who sees her for her true self, a man she meets on the subway, Francis. Francis was such a touching, kindred spirit. He took the time to help Jo reach through her barriers and allow herself to be loved and give love. During this personal journey, Francis helps her to meet and embrace God. Once I warmed up to Jo--and this portrait of the tough, potty mouthed tattoo artist with an intense and commendable love of animals was necessary so readers could see who she was before she embarked on her journey--I rooted for her to let go of her demons from the past to finally be able to enjoy life. Her new life, one of faith, healing, and survival also included the opportunity to discover the joy of love.

Anastasi's writing created a realistic balance of just the right amount of description and dialogue to keep the story moving. For a novel under 200 pages, I felt I knew these characters well enough and could sympathize with them as though I had read a larger sized book. Spin the Plate is a thought provoking, moving story of two lonely people with their own unique stories to tell and the journey they take to find change and be change.

Favorite excerpt: "Jo squared off, arms at her sides, moving into a wide-legged stance with both hands curling into fists. Suddenly the obvious was clear. This was it, the true purpose of years of intensive training. He was standing in front of her, furious, eyes burning, aiming to punish her. She automatically lowered her eyes, from habit, and then purposefully kept her gaze downward to draw him in. In her vertical peripheral vision, she could see him advancing. An indescribable euphoria filled her. The position of the table and the shock of the unfolding events kept Jay and Francis from coming to Jo's defense. Barbara crawled toward their side of the table and covered her head with her briefcase.

Her father stomped toward Jo like a crazed bull. Five more steps and her fist would smash into his face crumpling him like a straw man. She knew once she started to beat him she would be unable to stop until she was forcibly pulled off and restrained or better yet her arms tired of pummeling his still, lifeless body."

Rating: I liked it.

Cover comment: I think this cover is okay. The orange gives it a sense of a new day but the model who is supposed to be a stand-in for Jo doesn't fit the description of the character. My impression is she could be anyone, any victim, and the butterfly is hope.

Book source: From the author for my honest review during a book tour.

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