The Contrary Canadian

A review of To Have and To Hold by C.J. “Country” James

To Have and to Hold cover

Title: To Have and To Hold
Subtitle: A Continuing Montana Love Story
Author: C. J. “Country” James
Genre: Contemporary Western/Romance

From the back of the book …
IN THIS BOOK I wanted to show the similarities and differences between Jake and Franklin in their way of thinking and doing things. Old Man Jarvis, Franklin’s dad, knows how similar they are. Franklin doesn’t. Doesn’t see it. Jake doesn’t, either. He thinks he can’t ever measure up, not even to handling the ranch and the businesses, never mind holding the whole family together.

Jake’s young. Hasn’t got it quite figured out. Franklin’s an old hand…but, sometimes, he can’t figure it out, either. Despite their similarities, their personal choices and life experiences see their pathways diverge, Franklin’s hopeful and forward-looking, Jake’s murky and embittered.

I also wanted to show Dree and Catherine—Dree’s rebellion, finally, against years of abusive patriarchal domination as well as her suffering the confounding familial issues which her young, fragile psyche found too much to bear, this compared to and contrasted against Catherine’s plight because she rebelled against a matriarchal society and, in consequence, lost everything—her family, her people, her self-respect, her hopes for fulfillment and happiness, and, almost, her life.

The story is one of parallels, of Franklin’s and Jake’s, of Catherine’s and Dree’s—parallels travelling opposite directions, one towards joy and fulfillment, one towards misery.

This is a love story, a continuing Montana love story, about a family who gives a damn and tries very hard to do the right thing. It’s a story about sacrifice, about hurting and healing. It’s a story of change, of caring, and about surviving challenges that can beset us—our responses to them. Mostly, it’s a story about promises—those to be made, those to be kept, and those that are or have to be broken.

The Review
After having read and reviewed the first book in this ongoing series, I thought I knew what to expect from author C. J. “Country” James. Not! As the author explains in the above passage, Dree’s character goes through a sudden metamorphosis that sends the entire Jarvis clan into a tailspin of epic proportions. No one escapes unscathed, least of all Dree. And yet, amidst the chaos and pain, another romance blooms and reaches for the sun.

But don’t forget: this is a Montana love story. The book is also filled with details of country life, especially life on a working ranch. Details that I suspect come from experience rather than research. They have that kind of authenticity—from how to flush a boss steer from mountainous brush, to teaching someone how to ride, to fixing loose barbed wire on a fence.

I also enjoyed the brevity of the scenes. It keeps the story fresh and moves it along like a galloping horse. Or, perhaps, like an action movie with the frames flashing upon our minds, creating an ever impending sense of closure: to the love affair between Franklin and Catherine, to the life-altering rift between Jake and Dree and to the deep promises each have made—promises that you know will be tested in the next book in this intriguing and heart-felt story about family, values and love.

Short version:
“An intriguing and heart-felt story about family, values and love.”

5 stars

Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye 2016

The Contrary Canadian

Black Light is a Sure Success

black light

Black Light
Patrick Melton,
Marcus Dunstan &
Stephen Romano
Mulholland Books
Hardcover 10/05/2011
ISBN 9780316196710
327 pages

The debut novel from writers of the Saw franchise.

Official Blurb
If you have a supernatural problem that won’t go away, you need Buck Carlsbad: private eye, exorcist, and last resort.

Buck’s got a way with spirits that no one else can match. He was normal, once. Until Something Horrible killed his parents and left him for dead.

Buck has spent years using his gift to trace his family. It’s his only hope of finding out what happened to them–and what made him the way he is.

Now the voices say that something big is coming. Buck already knows what it is–a super high-tech bullet train running express across a stretch of unforgiving desert known for the most deadly paranormal events in history. A place where Buck almost died a few years ago, and where he swore he would never return.

But as the train prepares to rumble down the tracks, Buck knows it can only be the inevitable hand of fate pulling him back to the most harrowing unfinished case of his career at four hundred miles per hour.

About The Authors
Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan have written the screenplays for Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, Saw 3D, and The Collector, which Dunstan also directed. Currently, they are filming The Collector 2, and writing a remake of The Outer Limits for MGM. Stephen Romano is an acclaimed author, screenwriter and illustrator (having written for Showtime’s Emmy-winning original series Masters Of Horror).

The Review
My first thought when I asked myself how to describe Black Light was “Stephen King unfettered,” then I thought of one of Robert McCammon’s lesser known works, Mystery Walk, a tale of good and evil, with the hero cast as a medium destined to meet pure evil in the desert.

The previous descriptions are good places to begin, but they don’t do Black Light justice. This is a book based on a premise I’ve never encountered before. That premise is a unique vision of the underworld: “The place where all souls that ever lived and loved and fought and died had gone to rest… ” They become residents of a plane of existence Buck Carlsbad refers to as the Black Light: a place so bright and clear that you can see everything that has ever happened to a person or to a home throughout its life(by way of an example); “it’s amazing and overwhelming and brighter than a million suns,” and it will literally boil your eyes right out of your head unless you have the proper equipment to protect you.

There are other levels: the further you go down, the darker it gets, until you reach The Big Black. “It might be where they all go, in the end. Might be heaven and hell, all rolled up into one endless stretch of nowhere.”

Buck’s job is to capture spirits who try to come back–as spirits on the down-low, as pissed off poltergeists or by way of possession. In any case, Buck must use a black hole that lives inside him. He calls it the “pull,” because when he gets close enough to a “mark,” whatever kind of spirit it is that has broken through from level 2 (the black light)to level 1 (the land of the living) is pulled into Buck, where it fights like crazy to get out, while Buck digests the thing. Then, once the spirit is under control, or put down, Buck must get rid of it. [Did I mention that Buck is obsessed with the Black Light and has found a way to use his marks to get there?] Anyway, he uses a frightening, home-made mixture that guarantees he’ll puke the spirit(s) up and into the waiting silver urn. Buck then buries the expensive urn in a graveyard on a large lot he owns. The spirits either go back to the black light or they’ll be forever trapped in the urn. Buck uses silver because a copper urn just won’t hold them.

Okay, you have the premise. You know what Buck does and how he does it–when things go right. You’ll have to pick up a copy of Black Light to find out what Buck does when things go horribly, unbelievably wrong.

Black Light is an accessible and unique straight-to-the-top thriller. Fans are sure to want more.

Copyright, Clayton Clifford Bye, 2011


The Contrary Canadian


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Series: A Country James Novel
Book #1
Title: Through Better & Worse
Subtitle: A Montana Love Story
Author: D.L. Keur writing as C.J “Country” James
Kindle Select Exclusive Release eBook ASIN: B013AUZTCK
Print: ISBN-13: 978-0692491751
Print: ISBN-10: 0692491759
420 pages
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance (Semi-Sweet)


The first encounter between Dree Blake and Jake Jarvis couldn’t have been worse. Jake has a teenage mind inside a man’s body. Driving his fancy pickup too fast, he wants to get around the old clunker pulling a horse trailer. But there isn’t room to pass. Narrowly missing Dree’s horse trailer by a hair, he yells insults at the girl driving the rig.

Dree certainly didn’t want a confrontation with the rude cowboy. Jake sure as hell didn’t want to see her anywhere anytime soon. Both go about their business.

But the Fates are fond of creating coincidental meetings. Dree is heading to the Jarvis ranch to help teach the hands a new, more humane method of castrating bull calves. After a demo, Dree and the two men from the Montana Department of Agriculture are asked to stay around for the upcoming roundup of the calves. Just as she’s putting her mule, Cougar, into the stable, who should come driving in all la-di-da except the man who nearly drove her off the road.

Jake figures Dree is at the ranch to rat on him. He waits nervously for the blow up from his grandfather, Franklin. But nothing happens. Relieved, Jake is grateful the blocky little lady has kept her peace about the encounter.

Dree recognizes Jake all right, and figures out he’s the heir to the Jarvis Ranch. It wouldn’t be in her best interests to cause a ruckus. Besides, Dree does not like confrontation…at all. An incident from her childhood, violent beyond measure, gives her horrible anxiety attacks. The result is Dree is too quiet and too easily dismissed.

With this inauspicious beginning, Jake and Dree are forced to learn more about each other. They each find the other isn’t quite as horrible as they first thought.

As the story progresses, a lot happens, but that’d all be spoiler material. However, this is a big R Romance, so you have an idea of how it turns out. What will surprise the hell out of you is how.

Not many books are perfect, but this one’s darned close. The details of cattle ranching and division of property I know to be accurate, however it might be a bit more information than the reader would like. Get on with the kissing! Nevertheless, I very much appreciate a book that doesn’t slide by the setting and circumstances with no more than a howdy along the way. Readers who are sticklers for details will be pleased.

This is not your bare-chested, sexy cowboy romance (though Jake ain’t bad). Those are mere cotton candy representations of real ranch life and real ranch people. Author, C.J. “Country” James, knows the people she writes about far better than most. She’s taken a pen name for the Country series, of which this book is the first.

Not only does the pseudonymous James write truly and honestly about the modern west, but is also an artist and has recorded her own audio versions of the book. With a woman that talented, you can’t go wrong reading or listening to her books.

Hint: Also look for E.J. Ruek’s books “Old Hickory Lane” and “To Inherit a Murderer.” A few more books are in the works.

Find the author at:

About the Reviewer: Marva Dasef has authored a number of young adult fantasies, along with a couple of books in western settings. She was given an Advance Review Copy by the author in return for an unbiased review.

The Contrary Canadian


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The following is based on a commentary from 2012 on this blog.

Stephen King

Stephen King

A few years ago I participated in a discussion about Stephen King. I could not believe the number of people who were bashing the guy. He has now written over 50 books–EVERY ONE OF THEM A BESTSELLER. Best guestimates are he brings in at least 40 million a year. And when he can write a book like 11/22/63 that can move me to melancholy for the better part of a day AND a week later still has me thinking about it, then I say the whole lot are out to lunch, jealous little people of no concern. This man is a great story teller. He HAS to be, to accomplish what he has done.

Read my review, then get the book …



1. Sandra McLeod Humphrey said:

Sounds like another great book–what an intriguing story line! You’re right, Stephen King is an extraordinary storyteller!

REPLY Clayton Bye said:

The idea of preventing Kennedy’s asassination was what originally caught my attention, but when the story turns out to be a treatise on time travel–WOW! I think it’s safe to say there are a few time travel stories better than this one (King mentions a favourite of mine “Time after Time,” a story centred on the idea of Jack the Ripper as a time traveller.), but only a few. I think this may be a book even those who aren’t King fans will enjoy.


2. Sandra Nachlinger said

I agree with you, Clayton. Stephen King knows how to tell a story, and those who bash his work must be envious of his talent. Great post and review.

Reply Clayton Bye said:

Thank you Sandra. It has been noted by smarter people than I that the higher up the ladder you go, the more people there seem to be who want to pull you back down. I’m sure King knows this, but it has been quite apparent in his interviews that these comments bother him a great deal. I think the worst one was the repeated habit so called “literary” pundits had of calling him a hack. That one went on until just a few years ago.


3. Wayne Helliar said:

Lot’s of people hate Wayne Greztky too, probably some of them hate Stephen King as well. But they just can’t understand, success speaks for itself.

REPLY Clayton Bye said:

You’ve got that right, cousin. It’s amazing how many people are jealous of or even harbour malice for those who are more successful than they are. We would all be better off if we could just be happy for what we have and for what we may be able to achieve–leaving other people completely out of the picture. I guess another way to put what I’m trying to say is if Stephen King makes 40 million per year, as reported, I should be happy for the man. There’s no percentage in hating the guy.

Take care, Clayton


Copyright © 2015 Clayton Clifford Bye

Clayton Bye
Chase Enterprises Publishing
1 (807) 466-7642


The Contrary Canadian



Reviewed by Elena Yates Eulo

Clayton Bye’s writing is a power unto itself, a current both deep and disturbing, and he wastes no time in plugging us into his definition of reality. And yes, he will disturb our minds and mess up our radar. After the first story of this eclectic collection, I had already left my own concept of reality and taken up residence in his strange dim world, much trafficked by villains and terrifying possibilities, and occasionally by some spirited and appealing good guys.

He begins with an unspeakable action that can only be hinted at in the beginning of this tale. Such an act creates its own world, one so dreadful and remote from humanity that even speculation of the deed is not an absolute. It is, Bye tells us, an absence of qualities, without speed or light. His words evoke a reminder that the greatest sins of humanity take place inside of unenlightened minds where not a single ray of light illuminates truth.

To read Bye is to be escorted into a shadowy, relentless world without boundaries, where a myriad of dark deeds are committed by intricate, multi-dimensional characters who live in obscure locations most of us have never visited, nor would we go there by choice, save between the pages of a well-written book. It does not hurt to have a recurring guide, in this case likable Mike Money, who takes us to the region of Big Trout Lake in Ontario, with its abiding chill that Bye sends through our bodies, minds and into our very bones while introducing us to the traditions and legends of remote reservations. It is, we will find, a place accustomed to meting out its own justice, and Mike Money well knows the futility of interference.

Yet, these remote cultures are a mere glint in the eye in considering the multiverse that live in Bye’s stories. Neither are all his speculations terrifying. Sometimes, he makes us smile or even laugh, perhaps to prepare our minds more vulnerable for his carving. It’s a delicate balancing act that lures the reader into strange fellowships, from the devil himself to visitations with computers, legendary creatures, or the biological viruses that deform humankind (perhaps to more truly match the quality of our souls?) … while warming us with Mike Money and his reservation of authentic characters.

Illusions or not, it’s enough that Bye leaves us speculating, whether of the nature of evil or the compensations of love, hope and humor. Always, he provides us with good company at our own private bonfires.

The Contrary Canadian

My new book of eclectic short stories, Behind the Red Door, is now available for ordering. or at Amazon.

Behind the Red Door
Clayton C. bye
Chase Enterprises Publishing, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-927915-08-0
!26 Pages
Short Stories/Literary

Kenneth Weene | 5 out of 5 Stars!

As an author I appreciate good writing; and to be successful. short stories as a genre require writing that moves the reader along. Clayton Bye has given us good, fast-paced writing with stories that explore the humor of the mundane, i.e. Big Trout Lake Blues and Regarding Love, the incredible world of science fiction, i.e. Retrovirus, and horror that makes the hair at the nape of your neck stand to attention, i.e., The Speed of Dark and The Last Unicorn. There are ten stories in this book, and my bet is that readers will savor every one of these delights.

Fran Lewis
Just Reviews

Before you open the door and find out what is behind it understand that your world as you see it now will never be the same. The people that you meet, their stories that you will hear and the endings that they meet will not only startle you, surprise you but help you to understand that their world is really not that much different than yours in some respects. Behind the Red Door is a compilation of original stories each with its own theme, message and story yet each linked in some way. The sadness, the tragedies, the deceits, lies and deceptions are there but each main character often justifies his/her actions and the end result is not always what you expect.

A young boy has to cope with a mother who uses her children for food. How does this child survive? In the Speed of Dark, story one, Richard Bartholomew lives in a world that would frighten any child. What is the Speed of Dark and how does he and his brother find their way into the light? As their mother informs them that someone has to go and there is no choice or decision in the matter and her wishes are clear, Richard ponders his fate and that of everyone else. Will he survive? What can he do when it’s his day? What surprise just might change it all?

The next story focuses on a lone police office in a real place called Big Trout Lake, which is followed by Stiletto. Defining the word in graphic detail and helping readers understand the power of this weapon author Clayton Bye takes us further inside the red door inside the mind of a killer who has no qualms about going after his prey. Justice: An eye for an eye! But, will he prevail?

The story that I really got into the most was Retrovirus. How far would a man go in order to be accepted and find love? Men in black cloaks, late afternoon, jet-black stallions and an entire herd. A stranger “more than half believed that he would find a stand of swords in the alders behind him.” What transpires next is right out of an Alfred Hitchcock Movie or an episode of the Twilight Zone as Jim sitting in front of his computer witnesses something that would forever change his life. What would you do if you saw a creature come out of your computer? A snake with a face! Green fluid that felt like oil to the touch and materialized in human form in front of Jim. Wanting to form some type of bond with this person/creature he fails to see through her façade and falls prey to more than just her appearance and words. Her name is Gilada and although she might have acted like a friend to Jim she was anything but. When relationships form, deeds are done and the end result is Jim’s health and physical appearance become so deteriorated that his own doctor cannot recognize what is wrong. How do you react when your whole body turns into blister and sores? What would you do if you were told you had a computer virus? Things come to a full head and Gilada explains his plight but a chameleon can change forms and in this case Jim sees and hears what she wants him to. What is his final fate? What is her primary goal? What happens will make the fires of hell seem luke warm as Jim mistakes deception and lies for love and the men sitting around the fire waiting for the storm to brew listen as the “wind screeched like a dying woman.”

The next is another Big Trout Lake Blues story focusing on Mike Money followed by Regarding Love. Would you forgive your spouse if he was having an affair with another man? Find out the rationale behind that in this unique story.

The next story is really eerie and once again the author takes us beyond the realm of reality into the world of good vs. evil as we meet someone, let’s not give him a name or title whose goal it is to gather souls. Finding himself in need of one and meeting a man named Brad the events unfold, their worlds collide and the end result is quite startling. When he refuses to stay in one of his own worlds, with the “legions of the dead, The Lord goes out of his way to punish me.” Of course he finds that unfair. Getting injured and waking up in a hospital bed is no problem as he can heal himself. Hearing his justification for his actions and learning that sometimes the tables are turned quite remarkable. What does happen when one soul refuses to adhere to his rules? What will happen the next time he searches for a soul? Would you commit a mortal sin? That would be a serious matter and the person committing it “must have reflected however, briefly, on the gravity of the situation before acting.” Will that stop him? Watch as events unfold with Bryan Cole and learn who has the final say: Him or God.

The Maniac and The Return of the Dwarves round out the collection, which ends with The Last Unicorn. A young girl about the age of this man finds her way into his life and explains she’s a unicorn. What would you do? Find out when one young man assimilates into a world that most would shy away or run from, becomes a shape shifter, and thinks he has found love but in reality what he finds is anything but.

Horror, humor, fear, paranormal, ethereal and much more are just part of what you will find when you enter the worlds created by author Clayton Bye. But, make sure that you leave a crack in the door and don’t close it fully behind you as Behind the Red Door you will find worlds that you might want to escape or maybe you too will become part of one. Beware: This is an original collection that draws the reader in from the start and you just might not be able to escape.


The Contrary Canadian


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A Tale of Three Bridges
(Lisbon, Rome, Istanbul)
Lagarto Studio, 2015
Carlos Carvalho

“This book is a work of fact, fiction and fancy.” So says the opening page of A Tale of Three Bridges by Carlos Carvalho. And I can see it all in my mind’s eye. The question, however, is: “Will I be able to explain it to you?” Yes, I have read the book, and I loved it. Rarely have I been moved as this book moved me. I was reminded of the great romances of my life and of the great losses, and I identified with the main character tremendously.

Carlos is an artist who lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and much like (I’m assuming this) his artist creator, Carlos travels a great deal to find inspiration for his work. In these travels both have discovered three great bridges in three great cities. Apparently these bridges form a straight line between all. Even the cities are similar, in that they are each built upon seven hills. But enough about them (you will learn much about these bridges and these cities in the story). What is most important is that each bridge plays a part in the great loves of Carlos’ life. These are loves Carlos feels with an amazing depth of emotion, yet he can’t hold on to them. In fact the greatest love of them all lasted only three days before she left him, moved to another continent and married another man. We could be reading a Harlequin romance here–except that everything is so real it is impossible to tell where the fact, the fiction and the fancy leave off. Even the places and scenes set in each of the three great cities feel real.

I’ve read many Harlequin romances. Never have they given me the experience of love that Carlos Carvalho brings to the page. I’ve read many erotic romances. Never have they left me with such a sense of unbridled passion. I’ve read many great novels, classic and otherwise. So I can say this: Here is a love story for men and women. And I pronounce it good!

5 stars

Copyright © 2015 Clayton Clifford Bye

The Contrary Canadian


Mad River
by John Sandford
Published by Putnam, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-15770-7
Virgil Flowers Novel
Hard Cover
387 pages

In a cold dry spring, the clear air gives the prairie a particular bleakness, if your mood is already bleak.

Virgil had a feeling that there’d be a shooting before the end of the day, that people who were alive and even feeling good right then, maybe asleep in their beds, would be bleeding into the dirt before the sun went down.

Written with his friend Joe Soucheray, John Sandford has penned a terrific Virgil Flowers novel. We get to see glimpses of the fiercely individualistic Flowers while Sanford unrolls a particularly brutal string of shootings by the Bonnie and Clyde style murderers–Jimmy Sharp and Becky Welsh. Much focus is placed on police procedure and the sharp mind of Flowers. The mixture works well and makes for a story I didn’t want to put down.

Flowers’ fight against the mob mentality of the small-town cops after blood makes an interesting backdrop for the killings and poses the question: What do you do with people who throw out the law-book and begin killing their neighbours and even family–just because they can? Do you bring them to justice or do you shoot them like wild dogs in the street? And what about revenge killings by family members of one of the deceased? Do you treat them the same, or is there a different law for those on the side of right?

Mad River is an interesting story about small town folk with big city problems. And no one writes about rural Minnesota and Wisconsin than does John Sandford.

5 stars

Copyright © 2015 Clayton Clifford Bye

The Contrary Canadian


Nothing On the Field: Eileen Rand

When the world looks at you through predetermined eyes what happens when the perception is clouded and wrong? What happens when a huge fog is cast over you and a heavy mist hampers what others might ultimately see if the sun were to shine? What happens when the world expects you to act in a certain way and you don’t? What happens when all you want is to be loved, accepted and understood for who you are and not what others want you to be? What happens will take you deep inside the heart, mind and soul of Eileen Rand who shares a story that I hope will be a wake-up call for teens, young adults, adults and everyone that Anorexia is real, that the battle to overcome the illness takes time, energy and the support of the right people. But first, let’s meet Eileen and join her on her journey from despair and darkness and into the light.

What happens when your family turns a blind eye? What happens when they refuse to help and understand? Eileen’s mom was her champion and her main means of support until she could no longer function. Then there was no one. Beginning with important definitions on pages 7-8 and then followed by a detailed explanation of Eating Disorder Statistics, readers will understand and learn from the start just how widespread this illness is.
Included you will learn the Mortality Rates and discover those at risk.

Imagine being confined to a hospital right before Thanksgiving. Imagine leaving Rhode Island Hospital to be sent to the cold, austere and unfeeling facility at John Hopkins. Some nightmares happen while you are asleep but others will happen during a car trip that set the tone for things to come that would not be what Eileen expected. Left in the hands of the hospital staff, Eileen found out early on that she was no longer in control of her diet, movements or food selection. Her brother Jeff was not sympathetic and the end result was quite frightening as Eileen entered a world unfamiliar to her. At 47 pounds and in serious danger of dying, she no longer had the power to decide or make decisions regarding her care. At UCLA they were kind and helped her when she felt stressed or afraid. But at John Hopkins you might say that a more than tough love attitude was in place and being left to sleep in a cold environment wearing a heart halter monitor and unable to find a comfortable place for herself, Eileen came to realize that this stay was not going to be easy. Afraid that she was going to suffer from refeeding syndrome, which is explained in detail in Chapter 2, Eileen learned just why her food choices and food quantities had to be limited.

At first she thought it would be okay and one nurse was not so bad. But, lunch was a rude awakening when told she had no choices and they would decide for her. Imagine having to earn food privileges. Sounds like a prison environment, doesn’t it? She was 47 pounds and they wanted her to weigh 107. Chapter 3 describes her experiences at John Hopkins, the fact that they treated her like a child using Behavior Modification strategies like a dean of discipline or teacher might implement in a classroom to get Eileen or their students to conform to the behaviors they wanted. Isolated, alone and afraid, Eileen was left to deal with the drugs that she was forced to take, a brother who would not take her home and physical problems that no one took seriously. Constipation, gum disease, told she had to eat at least 3500 calories a day, her blood sugar too high, and from what I could see from what they had her eat, I am sure that more of her bloods had to come back abnormal. She felt disliked, shunned and cast aside, and she wanted to leave but could not. Chapter 4 explains just how bad the constipation became, how it affected her system, lead her to try and escape and to desperately call on a brother who seemed devoid of caring. Added in was the fact that Eileen was the primary caregiver for her mom and her family did not seem to understand the gravity of her illnesses or decline. Eileen’s only anchor was her mother. Chapter 4 continues to explain her struggle with gaining and keeping the weight on. Hoping to leave and go home she begged her brother to get her released but his wife wanted no part of her and the words spoken would and could never be taken back.

The hospital staff was becoming more than annoyed with Eileen’s defiant attitude and the hard time she had following the rules. Learning that if she did not adhere to the schedule and the regime she would be dismissed and understanding her brother would no longer take her back, what was Eileen going to do? Tossed out and left to fend for herself along with bus tokens and a list of homeless shelters that she forgot to take with her and could not longer get, she was blessed in finding help from a bus driver. Her next stop was Karis Home. Chapter 5 tells about Karis Home, the women and children’s division of The Baltimore Rescue Mission, their services, rules and that it is a short-term solution. Learning about the other residents and hearing their stories brought the spotlight on the Karis Home. But, Eileen did not fair too well and with the help of someone she referred to as Miss Jerry she got her coffee which she needed to help her with her stomach problems. Then she got into some serious trouble back at the hospital regarding the food and food choices and the end result she was she was made to leave permanently. Karis Home kept her until her brother Jeff relented and found Cortland Place where she would have her own space. But there were other humiliations, and Eileen missed her mother, her warm hugs and her unconditional love. She has two brothers: Jeff and Greg. One would desert her and cast her aside and the other frustrated, angry and afraid for his sister, appeared to be hanging on to his hard line when it came to her unrelenting attitude, that she got what she deserved and the nagging feeling that she just might die.

Read Chapter 6 to meet Eileen as a youngster, to see her relationship with her father, to discover her punishments and to learn that she is quite smart, does and did well in school and eventually graduated college. A childhood where she felt isolated from other kids and at times bullied and shunned. Rich kids usually got it all but some kids, like Eileen, were victimized and little was done to help them. Chapter 7 focuses on her bout with appendicitis and why her family wanted little if anything to do with her. A father who became angry and cast her aside when he heard that she did something that would change her life. Losing her bedroom, forced to work to live in her own house, Eileen became a prisoner not only of her obsession with weight but within her own family and self too.

Throughout the book we hear Eileen’s voice pleading to be heard, understood and respected. Heartfelt and heartbreaking, this story is being told to send a message to everyone that Anorexia is serious and as she relates can cause you to do things that you might not otherwise consider. Chapter one ends with her trying to explain to her family why her mother needed private care and help and that without her she would not survive. There was the time she ran away to a hotel room, her brothers not wanting any part of her and being told by someone that she was going to find herself in Acute Care in Colorado. But, would this help? What would it take for Eileen to realize the devastation she was doing to herself? The treatment by the doctors, family and the fact that all she wanted was to be accepted for herself, Eileen attempted to make herself sick by taking sleeping pills, wanting the attention focused on her so that everyone would realize just how much she not only needed them but needed help. And eventually she changes, saying, “My approach to getting well: it’s not something you can force. It happens in God’s time.”

Meet Eileen in the first chapter in Part Two, see how she looks now and understand that after years of enduring this illness she “Wears it on my body, on my person, and I can’t escape that.” Looking in the mirror just what does she see? Herself at a young age, now or the person she would like to become?

Women are often misportrayed in the media—news, magazines, ads and on television programs. How is the perfect body, face or person defined? If you look closely at an actress who is featured in a magazine and then seen on a live talk show you might and should see a world of difference because you can photo shop a picture, airbrush away the wrinkles and the test of time but in person it is different. Anorexia is not just Eileen’s problem; there are so many young actresses, actors and teens that want to be thin, super thin and accepted.

Eileen had many doctors, psychiatrists, homes, bouts with weight gains and losses. She was readmitted to UCSD many times, which I know is an excellent hospital since my mom was there and they saved her life, Eileen needed to be on a program that would focus and help deal with her eating disorder. But, the saddest and most horrific scene is the one between her and her brother Greg that you need to read for yourself to understand the gravity of the situation. The entire book focuses on her stays at many different facilities, her loyalty to her mom and her hope to find a way back to being normal. Understand that she had Anorexia and although you might think it meant she did not want to eat all she ever did was crave food. Some anorexics are misdiagnosed, others commit suicide and some are just written off by their family and friends. The chapters are filled with so much information about the illness, her ability to make food choices and her amazing spirit to survive. Can she forgive her family? Will she ever be able to communicate with Jeff and Greg? Will they realize that all she wants is to be loved UNCONDITIONALLY without reservation? Then meet Clayton Bye the author who recorded her words, interviewed her and her brother Jeff and really brought this story and the information needed to light and to the surface in Chapter 20 and Chapter 21.

The research is extensive and the resources at the end valuable and numerous. Added in Eileen has information about the people who helped her along the way, How Page Love; MS RD. CSSD, LD Supported her and worked with her brother really makes this story come alive not just for Eileen but for readers too.

“ I feel like a creature from another planet,” says Eileen. I say, “Eileen: you are strong, smart, courageous and have created a resource that I know will help young teens, parents, doctors, psychiatrists, medical providers, medical staff, guidance counselors, nurses, school nurses, social workers and adults to understand the warning signs of Anorexia, to pay attention when someone appears to be losing so much weight and is eating. You are definitely not a creature from another planet but someone who is working hard each and every day to become the person she wants to see looking back at her in the mirror. Thanking people and giving back is great but we need to thank you for writing this book, Nothing on the Field. You too will complete and accomplish everything you want!”

Fran Lewis: These are my thoughts


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