Monday, July 10, 2017

G880 Book Review of appointment with yesterday by Christopher stratakis

Name of Book:Appointment with Yesterday

Author: Christopher Stratakis

ISBN: 978-0-9977212-1-8

Publisher: Indie reader

Type of book: Greece, WWII, America, immigration, school, sea, dreams, fantasies, mother/son relationship, tumult, disease, death 1930s-1960s? marriage, culture, bad blood, small island living

Year it was published: 2016

Summary:

A poignant and compelling first novel, Appointment with Yesterday tells the story of Yanni, a cheeky and delightful Greek boy growing up in a small town on an island in the eastern Aegean.

Left in the care of his loving grandparents, Yanni endures the deprivation and terror of the German occupation during World War II and finally leaves his beloved homeland and family to rejoin the parents who had left him behind to make a better life for themselves in America.

“With a touch of nostalgia and a lot of good humor, Appointment with Yesterday by Stratakis celebrates the passage of time as Yanni reflects back on his life and legacy, his heritage, and his choices and actions over the years. His story offers hope in the never-ending search for the ‘sweetness of life.'” ~ Foreword Clarion Reviews

“Appointment with Yesterday is a moving account of a young man’s coming of age and a well-crafted depiction of immigration, alienation, and triumphant assimilation.” ~ IndieReader

Left in the care of his loving grandparents, Yanni endures the deprivation and terror of the German occupation during World War II, and finally leaves his beloved homeland and family to rejoin the parents who had left him behind to make a better life for themselves in America.

Filled with heartbreaking and heartwarming stories of love, devotion, disenchantment, and dashed dreams, Appointment with Yesterday is, ultimately, the story of hardships overcome and a determined boy's journey toward finding his destiny.

Characters:

Main characters include Yanni, a young boy who at the beginning of the story dreams of running away from school to become a sailor and also seems to take advantage of his grandparents by lying about his homework. He is best described as fanciful and dreamy, although that changes quite a lot when WWII begins and his personality evolves even more when he finally travels to America and learns a lot of painful lessons. Other characters include his beloved grandparents that cared a great deal about his comfort and about him as a person, even spoiling him a lot, along with a plethora of aunts and uncles and some memorable cousins. Most of the other characters seem to have complexity, but it's not explored as I had hoped.

Theme:

Memories are amazing

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from Yanni's point of view. I really feel that the Greek half of the story is very vivid and powerful in storytelling as well as setting and characters, while the American half of the book strikes me more as rushed instead of fleshed out. In Greek part, I felt that I got to know the characters as well as Yanni's family and Yanni's goals and ambitions. Yanni was well drawn and memorable. In American half, it seems, I felt distant from Yanni and felt that I couldn't understand him as well as I could, although the American half is also very interesting.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)



Picture
Meet the Author:

Christopher Stratakis was born and raised in Greece. After moving to America, he graduated from Drexel University in 1951 and New York University School of Law in 1955. Shortly after joining the law firm of Poles, Tublin & Patestides in 1960, he became a partner, specializing in admiralty and corporate law.

He has written and published several articles, lectured on professional and historical subjects, served as Legal Advisor to several non-profits (pro bono), and was an arbitrator in maritime disputes. He is the author of Mnimes “Memories” (2010), a book of essays, short stories, and poems that he wrote as a teenager. In 2015, he co-edited Chains on Parallel Roads, a book published by Panchiaki “Korais” Society of New York. In recognition of his extensive community involvement, he has been the recipient of several awards from religious, governmental, and educational institutions.

Mr. Stratakis lives with his wife in New York City. He is the proud father of three and grandfather of three. This is his first novel.

Opinion:

I am a bit torn in whether or not the story is fiction because I am sure that the characters are fictional (or based on real life) but it reads a lot like a personal memoir and the touches that are in fiction are absent from the story (lack of dialog is one instance.) I enjoyed learning quite a bit about Greece, especially before and during WWII and the images that the author conjures with words are powerful indeed, transporting the reader back to the time that is long lost. However, once the character gets to America, the power that the story held for the reader seems to be lost and a lot of telling instead of showing can be seen. (For example, when Yanni is getting to know his intended bride, the narrator simply says they talked of this and that rather than use fictional dialogue to flesh out the intended woman.) The characters in America, in particular Yanni's parents, although are complex and should have been explored a whole lot more, are only given cursory attention in my opinion, while back in Greece the characters are wonderfully fleshed out. Also as well, the title is extremely apt, and the cover also appears to be awesome.

This is for iRead Book Tours

July 3 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
​July 3 - Essentially Italian - review / giveaway
July 4 - Olio by Marilyn - review / author interview / giveaway
July 5 - Literary Flits - review / giveaway
July 6 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / giveaway
July 6 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
July 7 - Leels Loves Books - review
July 10 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
July 11 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
July 12 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
July 13 - Miracle Milli Reads - review / giveaway
July 14 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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