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Review: You Speak For Me Now
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
Montreal, QC
Monday, November 22, 2021


Author: Sandy Graham

ISBN: 9798536818060

Sandy Graham has created a novel using a story format to unleash his frustration regarding the threat to democracy the United States is now encountering. 

Graham's You Speak For Me Now seamlessly weaves a compelling narrative of human resilience and courage featuring three characters, Emma Simon, an African American, who is deaf, Johnny McEwan, a musician, and their toddler son, Peter. The characters first engage the reader's curiosity, then affection.

Emma and John meet in the seventh grade. They were opposites in many aspects. Emma is introverted, while John is extroverted. Both are exceptionally astute, have sharp senses of wit, and are physically attractive.

Over the years, their friendship strengthens, leading to love and ultimately marriage. 

Growing up, Emma was also engaged in computer programming, which prompted her to invent an app called Sign-Talk for deaf people to empower them to communicate with everyone. Emma and John set up a business to market and sell Sign-Talk, which becomes quite profitable.

The pivotal theme of the story is introduced within the initial few pages when John, while in class, questions who actually won the American Civil War? 

It is his unwavering conviction that, notwithstanding what the history textbooks inform us, the Confederates won. The Union may have won battles, but not the war. 

He pens a class report to justify his stand, where he stresses that the war is nevertheless continuing on and has extended to the northern states.

According to John, "It's really about those who control wealth fighting against change. In the south, it was rich landowners holding down black and poor whites. It's spread to Tea Party resistance to change with essentially the same goal. Radical conservatives employ propaganda, character assassination, and intimidation. They use the power of Congress to further goals of a very vocal minority." Sound familiar? And as one of John's teachers summarizes: "John has put his finger on one of the most fundamental issues facing society today, the conflict between authoritarian leaderships hoarding wealth and universal welfare and happiness."

To advance his convictions regarding the peril that the United States is gradually sinking, John takes to social media and personal appearances, employing his musical skills as a songwriter to warn people of the destructive effects that emerge when unchecked economic power rests in the hands of a few individuals and corporations. 

It doesn't take long when John is approached to run for Congress for the Democrats. At first, he hesitates, but eventually, he agrees to run. Unfortunately, his first foray into politics proves to be quite a challenge, both physically and psychologically. His house is burned down and his relationship with Emma is at a low point. Nonetheless, this does not stop John from trying again, placing him and his family in extreme peril which almost costs them their lives.

While plenty happens in the tale, the message communicated through its characters' mouths is the vehicle for a wake-up call of how the United States is at a pivotal crossroad in its history. Graham portrays a society where a good chunk of its citizens is indifferent or naive of corporate power's dangers that no longer respond to state controls. Where a modest group seizes power and manipulates everyone to enrich themselves. Where economic inequality is one of the notable causes of polarization. 

Where steps taken threaten to make us all poorer,unhealthier, more undernourished, less informed and less able to vote universally. Parallels to the Nazi movement in the 1930s are inescapable.

Storytelling has long been a valued mode of communication. Graham with You Speak For Me Now realizes that the most effective way to influence and inspire people is to tell a story. It is a way to get inside the heads of people. In a way it moves them into a place where they can trust the storyteller. Simply reciting boring facts can rarely sway people. These can easily be twisted and manipulated.

In the end, Graham gives his readers a masterfully crafted tale that is wise, yet sad, when we look at the daunting prospect that America may end up like the decline of the Roman Empire.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Sandy Graham



 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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