Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review by Midwest Book Review:
Timothy G. Sheridan
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewed by Diane Lunsford
“Side Effects” by Timothy G. Sheridan is a mere 102 pages, yet it took me nearly five days to read — not because it was poorly written, rather its content is riveting.
Sheridan begins his story by describing himself as a troubled, abused kid when he signed up for the Vietnam war. He explains a lot of his motivation in signing on was to right the death of his brother in the same war that took him away forever. What he didn’t know was that while he entered the situation as an angry kid, he would return a broken and haunted man. Sheridan’s raw and telling accounts of actual experiences while in Vietnam are touched upon lightly. The story primarily focuses on his journey upon returning home — home being the Psych Ward of a VA (Veteran’s Administration) hospital located in San Francisco, California.
Sheridan leads the reader through wretched stories of people and the aftermath of the hellish war that lived on in their heads long past Vietnam. He paints the picture of his egregious drug addiction that began in “Nam” and in the back alleys of Saigon and opium dens, only to be reinforced and replaced with prescribed Lithium, Thorazine and whatever other mind-numbing fix available once deposited in the VA. He welcomed the medications in an effort to erase his memories and certainly in the spirit of killing the demons that had captured his mind. He wanted to remember the young soldier who entered the war at the same time repair the broken man he had become upon his return.
What was most engaging, however, is how Sheridan managed to strike a chord of balance as he described accounts and experiences of the many patients (and friends) he met while walking down the road of his own recovery. His periodic and light-hearted infusions of “it is what it is” laissez faire provided the reader some comfort to read on. Yet, on the next page, he would swing his pendulum pen and place strong and direct dialogue about the frenzied mess of the minds (including his own) he encountered. He writes of the schizophrenic torment and delusions of John/Floyd’s multiple personas only to sum up the outcome again, by holding onto the reality that while it may only be in his mind and he is home, the war will always be a part of all of them. It is when Sheridan’s friend Bill imparts a deep-seated and meaningful message to him that the reader gains a sense of strength to continue forward with the final pages of this book— Sheridan’s story.
I have great respect for the way Sheridan delivered his story onto paper. There is an unwritten insistence from beginning to end that he is not a victim, rather he is a survivor. Is the writing a Pulitzer contender? I don’t have the answer to this. Is the story compelling? Absolutely, and it is because of this I would recommend “Side Effects.” I believe it is a story that Timothy G. Sheridan not only needed to tell, but share. As a reader (and writer), sometimes this is why a book is destined to be published.