Amore and More in Albuquerque: Philip Nork
A face in the mirror it might be yours but do you really understand or know the image staring back at you? Life takes on different meanings and we all receive challenges that we either meet head on or shy away from and hover and hide within a shell that we wrap around ourselves insulating the person that we have become from what the present might hold because the past is too painful to remember.
When your job becomes your mantra and your life it might be the only thing that keeps you company at night. Spending most of his time by day as a business manager whose job it was to assess the work of others and decide on their fate, Paul Summer, went through each day going through the motions, feeling hollow inside and living the life of a middle-aged divorced man dreaming about what might have or could have been and not on what is! Paul’s divorce from his wife Zoey, her image and their time together never left the forefront of his thoughts or mind and hindered him from moving ahead and understanding that life goes on and that he was important and made a difference to so many if he would only open his eyes and really see the reflection in the mirror.
Book signings can be stressful or fun depending on how many people buys your books, wants your autograph or would like to hear a reading from your latest title. Paul Summer has a slow self-esteem, poor self-image and has no real goals or aspirations for his future. But, a trip to Albuquerque and a quick hello with a woman named Kathy just might change it all. Getting to know and understand Paul the author reflects on his past, his childhood and the many women that dated. Getting your title noticed and hooking a publicist or an agent is a difficult feat. So, when Paul someone a plane trip home after a business trip, little did he know that this was just the start of something great. Shelby owned the local bookstore in Albuquerque named The Book Nook and as the story opens Paul is signing books. Having difficulty with compliments yet glad that he was selling books, his imagination runs wild in many different directions and the object of his thoughts is Shelby. But, Zoey and his life before reenters his mind and although he might be middle-aged by the time the reader finishes reading this book many of you will identify with Paul, some of you might think you are Paul but everyone will learn just how Paul might be able to overcome the obstacles that he has placed in his way in order to move ahead.
The next night a woman named Kathy arrives at the signing and something about her rings familiar but he cannot place what it might be. Another signing but this time more people arrived as Kathy padded the audience with many women who seemed excited about his titles, read more than one and the night was successful.
Paul was about to embark on a trip but not one on a plane or a car but a different one. One that would cause him to reflect, remember and discern what is important in life, how to nurture relationships and hopefully tell the difference between love and just friendship. Jumping into a solid relationship would be a mistake yet Paul wanted acceptance so much that he let his feelings and actions towards Shelby overtake his common sense. But, this was due to the signals she sent out and the fact that each one needed the other but not for the same reasons. Each chapter brings to light his past, his ex-girlfriends, his relationship with his family and the revelations that Shelby made about her life and losing her husband. Sometimes people need companionship but are afraid for permanence and as Paul buried himself in his job and his writing she was buried in the stacks on the bookshelves of her bookstore and would never entirely remove herself in any permanent way.
Romance is what he hopes for and women playing a major part in his life and his feelings about himself. Dinners with Shelby, assumptions made and hesitations at first as Paul decides to take it slow at first as Zoey once again popped into this mind and thoughts. Before he can reconcile the future Paul has to reconcile the past. Paul throughout the novel is concerned about appearances, how his image is projected to others and until he faces his inner most thoughts, gets to understand himself, the rest would pale in comparison and images fade, and reflections do not stay the same but the person we are inside should never change. Encouraged to write, encouraged to do more signings Paul returns to the Book Nook, to Shelby and their relationship heats up. But, sometimes words and actions come on too strong and the air begins to get cold and Shelby’s true colors come through. Once again Paul feels isolated and alone but will he remain that way or will something or someone snap him out of his self-pity session and wise him up to face his own realities and forge ahead with his life?
Paul is a loner yet people where he lives that accept him for who he is surround him. Bertha the landlord, Trixie and many others rally round off often and provide support. So, can an ordinary man who feels that life has no meaning, find a way back? Can Paul finally decide on a future? Is writing a real career choice? Will he leave his job and travel the world selling his novels? But, first readers will learn something special from Kathy as she explains why Paul made such a great impact on her life growing up and the true meaning of A Vase of Roses: “ Live a Balanced Life: Just like the balance of roses within a vase. Yellow: to help make good friends who you could trust. Pink: to remind you to give thanks every day for what you have. White: To remember where you started and why on a special journey and Red: to love yourself and to love the God you chose. Take all of these special roses and place them in a vase and you have what the author relates as a Balanced Life! Can he learn to believe in himself? Will he pass up the offer someone makes? What is next for Paul?
Author Philip Nork takes readers on the journey along with Paul back to the past, recreating the middle and forging ahead in the near future. What does life have in store for our writer: Read the next chapter in his life when the author pens it. Amore and More in Albuquerque: A story of self -analysis, self- reflection and raising of a man’s self-esteem and self-worth. Look in the mirror: What do you see? Is that the image you want others to view if not you need to change your mindset and realize that outer image is just part of who we are and what’s inside and how you relate to people counts too.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer