6/4/15

Review of On Your Own by Jonathan Miller

On Your Own
by
Jonathan Miller

This is a book about life as we know it; the nitty-gritty of growing up, the learning of values, the
rising awareness of the meaning of relationships…experiences that every kid endures on the way
to and through adulthood in one form or another. Rather than teaching in parables, Mr. Miller
chooses to use short vignettes about the circumstances of children’s families and the certain fate
of growing up.  Two of the main protagonists, are Fitz and Nate. They are brothers; Fitz is older
and, by turns, antagonizes Nate, his younger brother in the sibling rituals that only growing
siblings can truly understand. Glimpses of the relationship between these brothers are seen
through these vignettes. Other vignettes focus on life in a dysfunctional family, a
developmentally challenged child, the small things a father does to take care of his family, the
detrimental effects of small misunderstandings blown out of proportion, the importance of good
sportsmanship in the face of heated competition and many other real life scenarios. Each vignette
is accompanied by a short story of a situation in the life of a person where circumstances similar
to the accompanying vignette produced a life lesson or illustrated a life value worth learning.
There are fourteen vignette/short story combinations…fourteen life lessons.
Throughout the book, there is a focus on the effects one’s actions have on others and a yearning
for close interpersonal relationships that never quite make it to fruition. It reminds us that no
matter how we are connected, that we are all individuals living our lives separately.
This book is well written and poignant. Readers will have no trouble identifying with the
characters, the situations in which they find themselves, or the lessons they learn. Emotions are
tweaked; there are smiles and snickers, anxious breathing and sighs of relief.  There are moments
of triumph, but more let downs and defeats. After all, people do not learn as much from their
victories as from their defeats.
All in all, a good read, a nostalgic memory of growing up, and even, perhaps, a sneak preview of
our destiny.

Clabe P
4 stars

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