Monday, January 28, 2008

West Across The Board *****REVIEW

Reads Like A Great Movie Of All Time... Lazaro was a young boy, who lived in Cuba with his parents. His mother died, and his father lost his job. Lazaro's father raised Lazaro during a time when poverty reached its peak, forcing Lazaro and his father to move to Key West. Lazaro's father worked in Florida, where Lazaro became a mariner. While his father worked, Lazaro was fascinated with the ocean, learning about the mysteries of the sea and navigation. Dominic is a talented Chicago engineer whose work introduced him to Key West. Lazaro and Dominic met in Sloppy Joes, a bar where the two men bonded while playing a chess game for the first time, which connected them to a lifetime of friendship. Over the course of many years, the two men played one-thousand games, carved on the back of this beautiful, laminated board. First-time novelist, Andrew Jalbert, takes the reader on a historical journey through the lives of Lazaro and Dominic. History comes to life from the 1930s, as well as the characters in this heartfelt story. The bond between Lazaro and Dominic draws them close like brothers, while sharing their life history over each game played with a chessboard, until Lazaro is eighty-six years old. Dominic suffers a terminal disease to cancer, and their last game is shared days before Dominic dies. The story is not only amazing, but is touching to the soul. An emotional story, packed with happiness, drama, sadness and tragedy. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a story based on history, family ties, and friendship. The description of the mysterious sea, with the palm trees, and the ocean's salty smell makes the reader feel the gentle breezes of Mother Nature when she's calm. The author paints a beautiful, peaceful scenery when the friendship grows through years of events that take place in Key West. Lazaro learns that life is unpredictable, after facing the death of his father and a good friend to a raging hurricane. The storm changes his life, nearly destroying his friendship with Dominic, while Lazaro isolates himself for many years, blaming himself for his father's death. Reading West across the Board is like watching "Gone With The Wind." An incredible journey through history, love, and tragedy. Geraldine Ahearn IOM Author of 6 books

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