Official Review: And Throw Away The Skins

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bluegreenmarina
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Official Review: And Throw Away The Skins

Post by bluegreenmarina » 13 May 2019, 16:16

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "And Throw Away The Skins" by Scott Archer Jones.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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And Throw Away the Skins by Scott Archer Jones is the story of Rebecca, known as Bec, whom we meet on the tail end of her fight with breast cancer. The book is set in 2008 and 2009, and her husband is sent off to the middle east as an Army chaplain. Even prior to his departure, their marriage is strained, Bec noticing a palpable relief on both of their ends once the physical separation occurs. Due to finances, and with a desire to spend time alone to recuperate after her disease, Bec moves up to a remote mountain cabin on her family’s land in New Mexico.

Life at the cabin immediately sets off differently than Bec had expected. Rather than solitude, Bec finds a small but vibrant community of locals ready to welcome her and involve her in the local affairs. In addition, a small group of war veterans referred to Bec by her husband become fixtures in the town. As she grows closer to some of these new friends, Bec realizes that her own marriage is growing increasingly distant. Her husband struggles with the after-effects of her disease, and the strain drives him deeper into his work. Bec must decide whether to fight through the tension that plagues them, or to surrender fully into her new life, accepting whatever consequences come along.

This is a pensive and psychological novel, and at times the struggle and the subject matter hang heavy in each word. It is a story about illness, war, trauma, grief, and a struggling marriage, and in the midst of these challenges is Bec – a true emblem of a strong and independent woman. Through brief glimpses of her past, the author provides a vivid sketch of her essence, as well as the source of her inner resolve. My only slight complaint about the book was that we were not given more than just a few short scenes of her childhood; I had wanted a chance to get to know Bec a little better, in the past as well as the present.

The writing style is poignant but succinct, and at times the short paragraphs read almost like a poem. Much of the story was almost hinted-at by brief flashbacks into Bec’s past, or by the things that were left unsaid in conversations, which took some getting used-to but also contributed to the overall minimalistic tone. I was particularly moved by the author’s descriptions of the fictional town and surrounding landscape, which set a very specific mood that hung through the entirety of the book. It was almost as if the town into which Bec had moved had a spirit of its own, one that permeated the actions and choices of all the residents that settled there.

Because the subject matter does not make for light reading, this may not be a book for everyone, but I would recommend it highly to those who appreciate raw and emotional stories with complex and nuanced characters. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.

******
And Throw Away The Skins
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ElizaBeth Adams
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Post by ElizaBeth Adams » 18 May 2019, 08:23

Wow! This complex narrative sounds moving. I will occasionally go for a read that is this emotional. Cancer and strained marriages both touch close to home for me, so I could appreciate this as long as the timing was good. Thanks for your thoughts on this one.

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Post by Ellylion » 18 May 2019, 08:31

Sounds like an engaging and very emotional read full with great and thought-out metaphors. I would love to check out Bec's story :) Thank you for an excellent review!

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Post by 8amaseter » 18 May 2019, 10:36

The story is engaging, Bec moved to a new environment as a soothing balm for her ailment and a strained marriage. Though much is not heard of the activities of her husband after both of them left to their various destinations, the book is a good read. Thanks for the review.

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Post by Nisha Ward » 18 May 2019, 11:25

Recovery is a difficult process and having to do so and maintain a marriage in the midst of that pain is moreso. I'm curious as to what Bec's ultimate decision will be.
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.

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Post by Rachel Lea » 18 May 2019, 14:28

This sounds like a well-written book, but as someone who watched a family member go through similar trials to what Bec experiences, I think this might be too heavy of a read for me. But thank you for a great review!
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Post by kdstrack » 18 May 2019, 15:12

It seems like Bec is fighting her own war - with her health and with her marriage. Your review is quite intriguing and I am curious to know how this turns out. Thanks so much!

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Post by sonya01 » 18 May 2019, 16:52

I like the sound of this one. Beck seems to have a lot of issues to deal with and I believe tying these all together in a setting such as you have described could make for a very engaging, dramatic story. Thanks for your comments and recommendations.

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Post by Chrystal Oaks » 18 May 2019, 18:01

The title and cover caught my attention. After reading the sample and your review, I'm convinced that I want to read this book. I want to know what is going on in the town Bec moved to. Thanks for the extremely moving review!
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Post by Uinto » 20 May 2019, 04:14

Quite poignant indeed, the story of Bec. I however think of a survivor of breast cancer who is ready to take advantage of any lemons that life throws at her. Thanks for the review.

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Post by TuyetMai » 20 May 2019, 06:47

Thanks for the review. It must have felt terrible fighting cancer without her partner's support. Bec's story sounds emotional yet inspirational at the same time. I'd love to read it some time.

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