A novel which goes beyond the broken love story to realistically portray the hovering prospect of homelessness and/or incarceration that exists when dual diagnosis of substance abuse ( use & sale), and the mental illness developed from socio-economic disparity collides.
'Born To Return The Gift' and 'End All To Be All' are novels based on true events from the culmination of many lives. They are both a part of the 'Returned Gift Series' which is based on the premise that "Each life is a gift from God, and what is done with it is a gift to him in return."
At the time of publication, this quote was remembered from a solved cryp-to-quote with 'Author Unknown'. Since then I've tracked the original saying to Eleanor Powell, a Fred Estaire dance partner who famously said, " "What we are is God's gift to us, what we become is our gift to God." R.I.P.
"Born To Return The Gift' and 'End All To Be All' are the beginning of a 'Returned Gift' series based on the premise that "Each life is a gift from God and what is done with it is a gift to Him in return."
This review is from: Born To Return The Gift (Paperback)
Born To Return The Gift by Catherine Johnson is a compelling, incisive novel focusing on a series of episodes in the life of a middle-aged mulatto woman facing the crossroads of her journey. The strains of Irish blood in her veins prove as difficult to redeem as her college education as she seems trapped in the ghetto existence she struggles desperately to transcend. The temptation of substance abuse lurks on every corner, threatening to engulf her at any given time, but the power of her spirit resonates with the message of Scripture as the author takes us along this rocky road of redemption.
Nyima Robbins finds herself trying to free herself from the mire represented by the Oasis Hotel in California, her place of refuge from the chaos of the Oakland suburbs. She is enrolled at City College where she finds difficulty in relating to students half her age, fighting battles over which she long prevailed. Her spirit is exhausted by watching the next generation wading through issues of race and class, though it seems that she is being forced to walk that road over and again. She ends up taking a job at Platinum Financial, a check-cashing company that caters to the type of clientele that she needs desperately to avoid. Johnson provides us with a vivid account of how someone with the maturity, education and best intentions can still be trapped beneath the glass ceiling in a clinging, suppressive environment.
The author's work is reminiscent of Toni Morrison in bringing us into the black experience of ghetto life with an authentic narrative. Nyima's relations with Steffon, a philandering manipulator, demonstrate a need for companionship and to establish a social network. Yet she realizes that it is her dark side that is attracting the kind of people who dragged her into this very quagmire. The storyline eventually brings us into a segue towards the ontological discussion as Nyima experiences an epiphany during a nightmare sequence. A demonic figure appears to her, using the very `hunh hunh' idiosyncracy of speech that we find throughout Steffon's dialogues with Nyima. The demon tells her there is no way out, that the negative energy of her life serves to enhance the ontology of the ghetto experience. She is suddenly able to see the `lines formulating between the dots of her life', and how the events of her life have led her to this time of reckoning with the dark forces absorbing her very spirit.
Johnson's work is an essential piece of black literature that may well act as a guidepost for the next generation of African-Americans struggling with racial and economic issues in finding their own place in today's society. This glimpse into a visceral environment and the story of one woman's battle to transcend it is both uplifting and inspirational. Born To Return The Gift by Catherine Johnson is a modern-day parable you won't soon forget.
‘End All To Be All‘ by Catherine E. Johnson is an insightful work of Christian fiction providing a revealing look into the world of substance abuse and the rehabilitation process. Unlike most of works within the genre, Johnson takes a realistic approach in ripping away the insulation that often compromises the validity of such novels. We are left with an unblinking look at the lives of patients in the Antoine Reed Alcohol and Drug Foundation, and their personal conflicts in navigating along that crossroad in their lives.
Michael, the major protagonist, is a college-educated upwardly mobile black man whose life is turned upside down after a car accident that results in a car wreck that costs the life of his girlfriend. He is sent to the facility at the behest of Turk, a close associate realizing that Michael is in need of help. It is discovered that Michael has developed an addiction to Demerol over the years after an old neck injury grew aggravated over time. Michael, like a significant percentage of the population, is in denial but soon realizes there is a problem that must be resolved.
The author’s insertion of Scripture at the beginning of chapters is a clever reminder that the answers to our problem is often in plain sight. It would be very interesting to conduct an exit poll to see how many readers in her audience are skipping over the passages, just like the characters in the novel. Most Scripture is based on common sense and Divine logic, and we often circumvent the argument to rationalize our actions and justify our mistakes. Michael meets Antoine and Jerry, two fellow shooters who personify the internal conflict facing him. Antoine is reassessing the value of the connections being brought in off the street, while Jerry remains dedicated to slamming the front door on them. Michael eventually turns to Jerry in rejecting his past, and Jerry becomes a beacon of hope in helping Michael find a way out of the abyss.
Johnson’s story winds along a rocky road of hard knocks as Michael eventually begins a relationship with Nyima, a borderline alcoholic. She realizes that the success of their friendship will depend largely on their ability to slay the dragons in their life. When she learns of the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael’s fiancee in the fatal car crash, it helps forge a bond of trust that helps them find resolution over a three-year struggle.
The themes of perseverance and redemption resonate throughout the novel, and End All To Be All reminds us that God is always there to pick up those who are willing to get back on their feet.
To offset an impending world wide depression, the Tea Party proposes a global shift to a gold standard of economy in response to currency wars with Russia and China who are devaluing their currency and buying up as much gold as possible. Meanwhile in Montreal, a Bank Official holds a conference with underground leaders of the world-wide network of narco-terrorism to initiate `Operation Blackout': - a plot to confiscate the United States' gold bullion reserves in order to destroy the International Financial Infrastructure and seize control over the global economy.
The protagonist, William Shanahan, is a 007 prototype - handsome, fit, and the best at what he does. As a Captain in the British Army, he covets a desire to join the inner circle of prestigious and affluent influencers on Downey Street in London. The antagonist, Jack Gawain, aka `Jack the Hacker', is rotting in Her Majesty's Prison in Ireland with a triple life sentence over his head for a rash of murders, insurrection, terrorism, drug dealing, extortion, and robbery.
The Director of The Firm's M16 division pairs them together to operate under the guise of `Universal Exports of the European Council' to subterfuge `Operation Blackout' from within. A man of moral standards, Shanahan has no choice but to work with a man he despises for his atrocities as a rogue agent, knowing that the ramifications of `Operation Blackout' could push the terror of 9/11 into obscurity.
As cartel regimes align with Al-Qaeda terrorists and communist revolutionists, Shanahan operates on the high road as Gawain does what he does best on the low end. Homeland Security, the FBI, CIA, DEA, DHS, and ATF are all actively in play to impede the threat of nuclear terrorism along with the destruction of the illegal network.
Descriptive details of characters, attire, locales, food and wine invoke vivid imagery of opulent lifestyles, jet-setting, clandestine meetings and deception. In contrast, the treacherous smuggling and gang warfare taking place on the streets and borders of North America, as well as the military action in other parts of the world is graphically detailed.
Dizon has created a credulously insightful view of operations relatable to current events; demonstrates renewed allegiance to God and country; and includes a touch of love in this fascinating book.
Born To Return The Gift is an urban novel that takes a raw gritty, sometimes profane look at the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects that often create mental anguish resulting in depression, as thoughts of suicide tinker with the mind that's suffering. It deals with this negative affliction that is commonly aggravated by issues of job insecurity, homelessness, sexual addiction, loneliness, racism, homosexuality, family dysfunction, domestic violence, alcohol/drug abuse, childhood molestation, repressed anger, and undefined FEAR.
Through the experiences of one character and the characters with whom experiences are shared frustration, apathy, and despair alternate its clouds of darkness so failure seems inevitable at every turn. Faith in a Divine Higher Power sustains the main character to guide her understanding to her own purposeful importance. The story is evidence that it is not always the destination that's important, but the journey, as each fall bares lessons to be learned while strength in character and virtue is built as a result of endurance. The power of faith and forgiveness becomes paramount in the process.
Born To Return The Gift is not a how to or self help book. Although faith driven, it is not preachy or judgmental and does not push one to believe, but attempts to bring the concept of spiritual forces into consideration. Biblical scriptures in the content of this book attest to the main character's upbringing in the church and the fact that God's Word is still hidden in her heart even though she wrestles with its correlation to the present world she lives in. As her faith wavers, her personal demons appear more real and larger than life in a recurring nightmare where her history is laid out before her. In facing the condition of her life the darkness that encompasses her is eradicated with light, giving her the strength to stand confidently as she pushes forward leaving the past behind with the conviction that she has the power to make things happen rather than just allowing things to happen.
"A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life." - James Allen
This dramatically entertaining story is meant to incite the spirit within. In looking at an ordinary person whose experience(s) might be recognized as your own or someone you know, it is sure to provoke personal thoughts that will have the power to inspire and empower. If the issues raised are foreign to you as the reader, you'll have the opportunity to learn what it's like for someone who seeks to overcome such impending obstacles regardless of fault. No matter what stage you are in life there's always a higher plane to aspire to and this novel encourages you to elevate your own altitude. We are all capable of rising from mediocrity and reaching a higher excellence in how we live and how we treat each other. Acknowledging the intensity behind other people's perspectives creates a foundation for understanding and helps us all rise in lifting up humanity as a whole.
"To perceive the world differently we must be willing to change our belief systems, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds." - William James
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