Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: Here, There and Otherwhere Vol. 2

As the final stop on the Here, There and Otherwhere Blog Tour, I want to thank all of the hosts who so kindly helped spread the word about Phyl Manning's new books as well as the readers who took the time to stop by each tour stop and find out more about Phyl and her writing. 

Now, for the final tour stop, a review of Phyl Manning's newest book, Here, There and Otherwhere, Vol. 2: An Ordinary Woman at Extraordinary Times


After reading Manning's first book, I knew that the writing would be beautiful, the editing perfect, and the stories entertaining. What I didn't know was where or not a book that focused on Manning's life in the U.S. would engage me as much as her overseas adventures. I wondered what the stories would focus on in Vol. 2, and I was surprised to see that it did not contain only stories of Manning's life. 

The early chapters of Vol. 2 do indeed focus on stories from Manning's early life. I chuckled at the idea of trying to discuss sex education with a 5-year-old when all young Phyl cared about was the spider she was watching. The story of Uncle Charlie and the tornado was one that I had to pause before going on to the next chapter. I was once again impressed with Manning's ability to draw out the deeper layers of a story and express those thoughts to readers in a way that makes them think. The stories of living in her grandfather's house as a child were both frustrating and heartbreaking. It was difficult to read about the callous actions of her grandfather without being upset by them, but Manning had a way of ending the telling with a more positive note of a lesson learned or life skill ingrained. 

After the stories of her childhood, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself reading Manning's thoughts on a variety of topics that ranged from the proper use of punctuation (She had me giggling - no joke!) and which way the toilet paper should come off the role. These were not chapters I had expected, but I honestly enjoyed each one and was glad to have had the chance to read them and think about each one. 

Later in the book, I was again surprised to read chapters not about Manning, but people she knew, particularly a woman named Roberta Kirshner. Roberta was a woman who spent her life caring for animals and protecting them. This was a woman Manning worked with at the Kirshner wildlife preseve, and it is apparent that Roberta was someone not to be forgotten by those who knew her. Each of Roberta's chapters were engaging and thought provoking. Even though they were not what I had anticipated, I again found myself glad they had been included. 

The stories do return to Manning's life, recounting stories of Fisher cats and crocodiles that readers will enjoy, but really, whatever Manning chooses to write about, I'm willing to read it. I love her sense of humor, her ability to observe so much more than what is on the surface, and her excellent storytelling abilities mark her as an author many readers will enjoy. 

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

Stay up to date on Phyl's books at KalanaPressPhyl'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