Unexpected Gifts

Unexpected Gifts Can We Learn From Our Ancestral Past Do Our Relatives Behaviors Help Mold Our Own In Unexpected Gifts, That Is Precisely What Happens To Sonia, A Confused College Student, Heading For Addictions And Forever Choosing The Wrong Man Searching For Answers, She Begins To Read Her Family S Diaries And Journals From America S Past The Vietnam War, Woodstock, And Timothy Leary Era Tupperware Parties, McCarthyism, And Black Power The Great Depression, Dance Marathons, And Eleanor Roosevelt The Immigrant Experience And The Suffragists Back And Forth The Book Journeys, Linking Yesteryear With Modern Life Until Finally, By Understanding Her Ancestors Hardships And Faults, She Gains Enough Clarity To Make Some Right Choices

S R Mallery has worn many hats in her life Starting out as a classical pop singer composer, she moved onto the professional world of production art and calligraphy, followed by a long career as an award winning quilt artist teacher and an ESL Reading instructor Her short stories have been published in descent 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller and Down In the Dirt.

❰Reading❯ ➶ Unexpected Gifts  Author S.R. Mallery – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Paperback
  • 382 pages
  • Unexpected Gifts
  • S.R. Mallery
  • English
  • 08 February 2017
  • 9780988954205

10 thoughts on “Unexpected Gifts

  1. says:

    Exhilarating storytelling that makes history come alive.Oh my After finishing this book I feel like I ve gone around the world In a time capsule Once again, Mallery unfolds her talent with masterful storytelling that makes history come alive Soldiers fighting the Vietnam War, hippies in Woodstock, suffragettes, emigrants arriving on Ellis island and so much come to life in this compelling family saga, making it a spell binding treat you will never forget.I have read all of Mallery s books now and I am astounded by her unique gift to make history feel like it s happening today She takes historical events and figures from the faded out, misty past and turns them into living, breathing things that she then, somehow, projects in striking colors onto the mind of her readers That is a truly magical talent to have and I urge you to sample it.

  2. says:

    S.R Mallery has caught the defining moments in the lives of one working class, upward striving family, as each one of them benefits from and contributes to the growth and setbacks of America itself A rich and involving book, the author has written a gem Dorothy Salisbury Davis, A Gentle Murderer, Lullaby of Murder, The Pale Betrayer, etc S.R Mallery, with her strong sense of history and deft narrative skills, shows us one American family s fascinating journey through flashpoints of American history, as a modern day young woman discovers the spirited narratives of her forbears, and is inspired to take charge of her own life an impressive, wonderfully thought out and well told first novel Carla Davidson, former Senior Editor at American Heritage Magazine In S R Mallery s fine first novel, the past is a trunk in her parents attic Open it and a dozen vibrant, real characters, each with a distinct voice, leap out The book covers decades a stroll, a run, a skip through American history as the author adroitly rewinds and replays the greatest hits of those times, making sense of the present by experiencing the past And who mattered Dan Vining, The Quick, The Next, and Among the Living

  3. says:

    S.R Mallery no relation has written a fascinating novel about Sonia, a young woman struggling to break the cycle of bad choices that have run in her family As a college psychology student, Sonia is actively involved in her psych study group where she explores her OCD behavior and where her study partner, Harry, frequently causes her to examine her relationship with her erratic and neglectful boyfriend Sonia s boyfriend is the front man in a rising rock band, and the band s growth in popularity creates drama that complicates Sonia s life.Sonia finds solace in the contents of a trunk in her parents attic Keepsakes from the Sixties tell the story of her parents early marriage and her father s experience in Vietnam, and journals from her ancestors give Sonia a new perspective on her personal history.Interwoven with Sonia s narrative are first person narratives of Sonia s ancestors going back four generations to the beginning of the twentieth century Effectively, the collected narratives of Sonia s family history parallels U.S history over the whole of the twentieth century Her family is involved in the women s suffrage movement, the sinking of the Titanic, the rise of the assembly line, building of the Empire State Building and the Great Depression World War II, Korea, and Vietnam The Civil Rights movement and the cultural revolution of the Sixties.Through her understanding of where she came from, Sonia gains the insight and courage to confront her present challenges.Highly recommend

  4. says:

    Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery is as the title suggests, totally unexpected and makes the perfect gift for all history buffs Sonia is a troubled young woman in a destructive relationship with the lead of a popular rock group who finds solace and meaning to her life when her mother takes her to the attic and unleashes the family history from a chest of unexpected gifts diaries, old family photos, cinema stubs, medals, newspaper clippings, the list is endless but engrossingly fascinating.As Sonia s father Sam, lies disabled in his bed, stricken by the insidious after effects of the Vietnam War, Sonia travels back in time and lives that conflict as Sam did, not the gung ho movie version, but the blood and guts, stinking mud, torrential rain, jungle rot version And the after effects of her history lesson remain entrenched in her mind giving her the ability to re evaluate her own life.Sonia travels back to the Depression, helps build The Empire State Building, survives The Titanic, dances a marathon, becomes embroiled in racial hatred in The Deep South, Martin Luther King, race riots, Timothy Leary and drugs and so much She learns of the family heritage from Bulgaria and Ireland, but most of all she learns how to live.If only my history teacher would have taught history like Sarah has, enriching it with living, feeling people that the reader can equate to, I would have been a better student.This FIVE STAR historical drama is a must read of the highest order and I cant recommend this marvellous book enough.

  5. says:

    Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery is a great novel, comprising of an excellent dive into American history of the 20th century, with a hint of a very palatable family saga, a kind of personal memoir and a psychological journey into self discovery by the main character Sonia Coming with her own set of problems Sonia is confronted with the ageing of her parents and when she finds diaries of family members in the attic she digs into her family s colourful and intriguing past Mallery takes us back to various eras of recent American history, as experienced by Sonia s family members With great attention to detail and intensive research the author transports us to the 1960ies, the draft lottery, draft dodgers and the actual fighting in Vietnam while in the US the hippies protest and the Beatles are all the rage Bringing the personal into the political and showing how our characters are caught up in the spirit of the times this book does an excellent job at portraying the spirit of the times, to the author much so than many other novels with similar subjects Another great sequence in the book takes us back to Ellis Island in 1913 as the first members of the family are immigrants from Eastern Europe and then settle in Detroit before the Great War.Told out of chronological sequence and with much reflection by Sonia as she is rooted in the present the book serves as a history lessons for us non Americans as well as a psychological exploration of a woman who tries to find answers about her family but so about her own problems, her character and her identity.Warm, thoughtful and with great insight this is a wonderful book that has a lot to offer Well written and cleverly structured it shows great literary talent and comes highly recommended.

  6. says:

    This book is the story of Sonia s ancestors with her current problems in between I loved the historical aspects Each of her ancestors stories were beautifully written and showed a glimpse into that time period But I just didn t care about Sonia s story The writing wasn t as good and the conversations very hard to read They just didn t flow It was almost as if two different people wrote the book.

  7. says:

    Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery is an engaging, informative historical fiction novel that centers on psychology student Sonia reading her ancestors journals Women s suffrage movement, Vietnam, Woodstock, immigrants experience and challenges, and The Great Depression are some of the historical events covered through the journals Sonia also discovers personal behaviors and patterns of her family that tie into her own experiences, such as her compulsiveness.As Sonia delves into the journals, she also copes with her self absorbed rock star boyfriend, Mike, her new friendship with kind hearted Harry and his friend Martha, and her parents fractured relationship as her father never overcame his Vietnam experience The writer expertly weaves parallels between Sonia s present and her ancestral past Sonia is a conflicted, caring young woman trying to figure life out She gets stuck in patterns and behaviors and is at times self destructive Her journey of finding her center is satisfying and interesting, and she is a character I really cared about.

  8. says:

    Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery lives up to its name And the wrapping on that gift peels off layer after layer until the final beautiful gift reveals itself.The book takes the reader on a journey through one young woman s legacy left by her ancestors Sonia feels adrift in her life as she continues her relationship with an up and coming rock star and pursues her degree in psychology.Starting with her parents lives in the 1960s, she goes back through the years of the twentieth century as she unwraps the gifts left her It s not always a glittering and shiny gift, but there s always a secret revealed as Sonia applies the lessons from her parents, grandparents, and great grandparents to her own life The book revisits some of the most significant events of the 1900s going back to its earliest years Immigrants and Ellis Island Detroit and the assembly line the Great Depression and the climb out of it women s suffrage the rumblings of race relations prior to the Civil Rights Movement Woodstock and Vietnam it s all in this gem of a book.Ms Mallery shows the connection to our family ties and the lessons that should be learned from the painful experiences of those who went before.I felt the scenes with Sonia s great aunt Adriana were the strongest ones or at least the ones that held an important meaning for me Adriana is caught up unwittingly or so it seems in so many important causes in the first half of the century Yet, Adriana s sensibilities are all there in the movements, but not finely tuned until she experiences firsthand what it meant to be black in the United States She relates through the prejudice she witnesses and through her own experiences as a woman as she fights for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.The most compelling part of Unexpected Gifts comes from the perspectives presented We are shown the worst side of the characters through the eyes of another Then a short while later the perspective switches as the author changes point of view Then we begin to understand, if not wholly condone, the behaviors and thoughts behind some of the worst characters Sam, Tony, and Andrei, the fathers in each of the decades portrayed, are human, fallible, and often times cruel But when the telescope delves into their minds, the reader is shown that judging others without living their lives, does a great disservice to us all as humans Ms Mallery shows us that the ones to suffer the most are the ones inflicting the most harm on others.If you love history, particularly of the twentieth century in the United States, and if you love family sagas that connect the generations, then Unexpected Gifts is the perfect read, and the perfect gift to give someone unexpectedly.

  9. says:

    Unexpected Literary TreasureApparently, I would not even dare to attempt at describing the great style of this real literary gem I would rather share my personal experience of reading such a remarkable historical fiction novel.First of all, I should disagree that this is only an American novel I feel it is a book about world history indeed However, that is only the beginning and uppermost layer of this author s work The personal, psychological, social and cultural insights of the story really thrilled me They are both specific and universal Her messages about war, evils of modern society and our civil responsibilities are clear, striking and looking into the human side of some inherently major global processes At the beginning of the book, the reader is wondering if those bloody wars and military conflicts of the 20th century might be averted throughout the 21st, especially bearing in mind all the sacrifices and negative consequences people all around the world had to put up with.By all means, the enormous research work the author has done is to be highly acknowledged and respected Moreover, despite the huge socio temporal diversity involved, the plot is so finely and unambiguously developed Apart from being lively, exciting and deeply moving, the narrative of Ms Mallery is strewn with such variegated linguistic devices, her vocabulary range is so wide that inevitably the reader would expand their own general knowledge as well not mentioning the abundant historical remarks and background information Therefore, I could bravely assume her book would make a brilliant movie.On a personal note, regarding the ancestry of Sonia, the protagonist, I was delighted to learn that her great grandparents roots were to be found in Bulgaria, a country which is a relatively small one in Eastern Europe, with a great history, but not as famous as her present homeland In other words, an author from a big and famous country like the US, describing a lovely little one like Bulgaria, is intriguing in itself, at least for myself, as a Bulgarian and European.Moreover, even a less known coincidence is that the author picked a seemingly random Bulgarian family name or surname , i.e Balakov, which happens to be a famous Bulgarian footballer s soccer player s name, again with a history going back to the World Cup 1994 held in the USA.Finally, needles to say, I would definitely look for this author s next books with eagerness

  10. says:

    This book is engaging on so many levels First, it s a journey of personal exploration as Sonia, the young protagonist, struggles to find her own identity and to help her wheelchair bound father fight the demons of his own past in Vietnam That alone would have made for a great novel But this is just the topmost layer of this deeply engaging novel Sonia s journey into her family s past involves an examination of her family s memorabilia that, in turn, leads to an interesting look at many events that shaped the history of the United States in the 20th century The way S.R Mallery presents that history is absolutely brilliant from Woodstock to the Vietnam War battles, from fascination with the Beatles to the Great Depression, she shows these historical events as an integral part of Sonia s family history Not for a second does the book feel like it s presenting history for its own sake, but it s always integrated into the main story line With each historic event, Sonia takes a step closer to understanding herself and making her own life better Many aspects of the US history that have fascinated me for a long time are shown here through the perspective and experiences of well drawn and realistic characters from 1913 Ellis island experience to the draft lottery and attempts to dodge the draft, to McCarthyism to the construction of the Empire State Building and to many others But none of these events ever take over the story The story is clearly and unmistakably about Sonia.The structure of the novel is unique and interesting, its narrative following Sonia s exploration and moving seamlessly between different times and different family members, all of it enhancing the overall effect of the novel.Another aspect of this novel that I really enjoyed is the author s vivid and mesmerizing writing Just take a look to get a tiny taste of S.R.Mallery s style In 1930, the big city breadlines expanded by the hour, snaking around buildings like a cobra slowly choking the life out of its victims the sky was an ominous, mottled gray, and all at once she envisioned the gigantic Dust Bowl of the 30 s The sun flickered through the trees, invading my eyelids with tiny flashes of memory A wonderful book Highly recommended.

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