Friday, June 7, 2013

Review: Here, There and Otherwhere Vol. 1

Phyl Manning spent much of her 45-year career in education in overseas schools, and the adventures she recounts in her narrative nonfiction novel, Here, There and Otherwhere Vol. 1 shares her experiences with readers in a way they won't soon forget. 

The main reason I don't usually care to read memoirs is that it is incredibly difficult to cover an entire lifetime without the story becoming choppy, or worse yet becoming uninteresting at times and losing readers attention. For those who stay away from memoirs for similar reasons, you will find no such problems with this book. 

Manning approaches her life's story differently than any other memoir-type book I have encountered. Rather than detailing chronologically her experiences as a teacher in Southeast Asia and the West Pacific, she captures moments of her life that impacted her and shares each one individually. The whole book is laid out as a series of short stories. I found this style to be a wonderful way to share her adventures. Because each story was self-contained, it never felt disjointed, and each one was absolutely captivating. 

It would be impossible to share what I enjoyed about each story without this review becoming incredibly long, but I loved how each story held its own particular meaning. Some showed the simple beauty of the wildlife and vegetation, others captured the humanity of a situation. Every time I finished a story I found myself pausing before moving on to the next one, thinking about why Manning included it in her book. The beautiful thing about the stories is that each reader can glean something different from them. They have a way of impacting the reader very personally. 

Manning's writing was impeccable. Not only are her mechanics spot on, but her ability to describe an environment fully immerses the reader in the setting. She is able to communicate emotions very effectively, drawing readers into the experience even more. I also enjoyed the humor she was able to insert into man situations. She is not afraid to laugh at herself for screaming at the top of her lungs in fear only to find out later that she was never in danger at all. It is hard to express in just a few words how this book affected me. I can only say that it is one that will stick with me for quite a long time. 

Here, There and Otherwhere is available now from Amazon and B&N

Stay up to date on Phyl's books at KalanaPress, Phyl'sBooks, email:, Phone (603)654-9240, or Mail: 374 Burton Hwy, Wilton, NH 03086

You can also enter to win a paperback copy of Vol. 1&2 below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AND...stop by Phyl Manning's blog to find out more about the Elephant Themed Contest Phyl is sponsoring. 

Sure, they can paint—but only YOU can write. Yes, about elephants. We’re hosting a two-level contest with (a) modest $$ winnings and (b) possible inclusion in Elephanthology, a planned anthology of elephant lore—short stories of fiction or narrative nonfiction (imaginative writing, not articles per se), poetry, flash fiction . . . all published with author’s name for each piece.

To find out more, check out Phyl’s website