!!> PDF / Epub ☀ By the Iowa Sea: A Memoir of Disaster and Love ✈ Author Joe Blair – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk

10 thoughts on “By the Iowa Sea: A Memoir of Disaster and Love

  1. says:

    Hoo, boy Where to even begin trying to describe BY THE IOWA SEA I believe that Joe Blair s memoir will be a rather controversial book But here s my two cents worth This is a very powerful book I had trouble putting it down, which is good But I felt like a voyeur, and I m not quite sure yet if that s good or bad.BY THE IOWA SEA is perhaps the most utterly human and nakedly candid look at a marriage as any I have ever read I started to call it a troubled marriage, but then I decided I di Hoo, boy Where to even begin trying to describe BY THE IOWA SEA I believe that Joe Blair s memoir will be a rather controversial book But here s my two cents worth This is a very powerful book I had trouble putting it down, which is good But I felt like a voyeur, and I m not quite sure yet if that s good or bad.BY THE IOWA SEA is perhaps the most utterly human and nakedly candid look at a marriage as any I have ever read I started to call it a troubled marriage, but then I decided I didn t want to pigeonhole it in any way Sure Joe and Deb Blair have got their troubles after eighteen or twenty years of marriage, but doesn t everyone Doesn t that first flame of passion fade for most married folks after that many years hell, even sooner for many And the Blair marriage is made evendifficult and problematic by their having to deal with a severely autistic son And Joe Blair s descriptions of what that entails hold nothing back Yeah, they have some outside help, with various therapies, special schools and respite workers, but the truth is and both Joe and Deb are all too aware of this having an autistic child is kind of a life sentence.Joe Blair is a pipefitter He s the HVAC guy that comes to fix your furnace or boiler or air conditioning system The plumber s crack is never specifically mentioned, but judging from some of the contortions needed for the jobs described, it must show up now and then But, fortunately for us, Blair is also one hell of a fine writer There s nothing fancy or artsy fartsy in his writing It s plain, direct language, used to its full effect.Joe misses his wife, Deb the go for it girl she was when he met her back at UMass Lowell But it s four kids later now, saddled with debts and the monotony and repetitions that make up real life, so of course Deb has changed So Joe looks around, notices how other women are still attractive, and attracted to him He even tries to get Deb into the game He has a rich fantasy life or he tries to have Deb is mostly tired all the time The inarticulate, exhausted, sometimes angry conversations are recreated here with near perfect pitch what says Deb You want to sleep with other women That s That s not I begin.You want to sleep with other women, she says again.No, I say Absolutely not But what if I did I knew it she shouts, almost victoriously Why do you No No You don t understand It s not about sex It s not It s about love.You want to leave me.No That s not what I m saying I just want us both to choose again To be loved And to love You know I m trying And on and on and round and round until you can nearly feel the pain yourself as you read this stuff it s nearly palpable And I just felt for this guy, for this pipefitter, who was so filled up with the malaise of middle aged disappointment and wondering, Is this it then Is this how it s gonna be for the rest of my life I m pretty sure that men and women are gonna choose sides when they read this book Joe or Deb Because this is perhaps one of the most intimate and real looks into the male mind that s ever been written Guys will get it Women will probably not Most of them will probably think, Why, you BAStard And here, if I try to defend him, I begin to quickly lapse into the same sort of sad inarticulateness that afflicts poor Joe Maybe it s a guy thing, that need to keep on being, being well, a sexual being, ya know I guess the thing that worked me up the most about this book is that it is NOT FICTION It s a memoir, so I gotta believe Joe is doing his confused and inarticulate best to just tell his story And somehow in the process he sets the story his and Deb s against the backdrop of the horrific floods of 2008 which utterly changed and ruined so many lives throughout the midwest The connections come through Natural forces, human desires and dreams, and how they all collide, and how things change.Honestly, I feel like kind of a jerk trying to describe this work But I m not alone Joe Blair himself described it this way to a woman he later had an affair with A book, I said About love Well, not really about love It s about this guy who has lost hope, and then finds it And it s autobiographical, only not And it s about faith And a marriage that has well to be honest, I don t know what it s about It s hard to say And that sort of sums it up You know You just have to read it And I guarantee it ll suck you in, whether you re a man or a woman I ended up liking the guy And I suspect, even though it s very much a guy story, that a lot of women will end up liking him too.Here s a little postscript Joe, if you haven t already read it, you should read Fred Haefele s memoir, REBUILDING THE INDIAN that motorcycle stuff you talked about, ya know And you and Deb both should try to read NEXT STOP, Glen Finland s memoir about her adult autistic son I mean if you have time, which you probably don t even so Sheesh Joe s got me writing like he does now.OnceThis is one very powerful book Read it

  2. says:

    Occasionally I come across a book that I m not immediately interested in, but decide to read anyway because I ve heard good things about it I m so glad I decided to give it a try This story of a man and his marriage and family is heart breaking and beautiful, written in such a painfully honest voice that I sometimes cringed as I read I think everyone, at some point in their life, wonders, Is this all there is Can change whether in location or in who you are with, for example be enough to Occasionally I come across a book that I m not immediately interested in, but decide to read anyway because I ve heard good things about it I m so glad I decided to give it a try This story of a man and his marriage and family is heart breaking and beautiful, written in such a painfully honest voice that I sometimes cringed as I read I think everyone, at some point in their life, wonders, Is this all there is Can change whether in location or in who you are with, for example be enough to make you happy Blair discovers the answer to that question iscomplicated than a simple yes or no There were some lines in this book that stopped me and made me put down the book and think for a moment I love a memoir that s viciously honest and Blair does not mince words It may not be something you d pick up at first glance it certainly wasn t for me , but I m glad I read it

  3. says:

    As an Iowan who experienced the same flooded times in our state as Joe did, I appreciated that aspect of this memoir However, the story of Joe s personal life and struggles left me flat Not everyone has an autistic child to raise I have a son with disorders , but everyone does experience day to day challenges I found nothing special or redeeming about Blair s life tale, and though he may be honest, he impressed me as being rather self absorbed and self pitying.

  4. says:

    Remember the opening to the movie Joe vs the VolcanoOnce upon a time there was a guy named Joewho had a very lousy job Allow me to cut toOnce there was a guy named Joewho had a very lousy job and what he thought was a lousy life a dead end marriage and a tiring job as a father When I first read the blurbs for this book, I was eagerly anticipating reading it Now that I have, I m a bit flummoxed I honestly don t know how to rate it I finished this in less than a day so Remember the opening to the movie Joe vs the VolcanoOnce upon a time there was a guy named Joewho had a very lousy job Allow me to cut toOnce there was a guy named Joewho had a very lousy job and what he thought was a lousy life a dead end marriage and a tiring job as a father When I first read the blurbs for this book, I was eagerly anticipating reading it Now that I have, I m a bit flummoxed I honestly don t know how to rate it I finished this in less than a day so clearly the man can write and is able to pull a reader in The first several pages I was excited, intrigued He was thoughtful, bordering on profound.Several pages later, I think I d changed my mind This wasn t anything special It was the musings of some whiney, bored, approaching middle age man who thinks he s made a mistake and is now missing out on something.Another 10 pages, I m hurting for him as I can t even imagine what it must be like to try and parent a severely autistic child knowing things will never change, he ll never outgrow this He ll be a compulsive, unreachable child forever despite his growing in years and size and strength After 10 years of that, how could one not feel stuck, trapped, mired and question one s choices leading up to that point.But then again, it will flip and I m no longer sympathizing I m irritated.So trying to pinpoint my feelings regarding this man s story of his life is as elusive as trying to give it any sort of rating I think Mr Blair a gifted writer I would try a novel or a short story produced by him But I m not sure I care to hear anyabout his personal life.Perhaps it s all based on perspective Perhaps reading Elie Wiesel s Night was not a good precursor to Joe Blair s somewhat self absorbed memoir.Modern day Coralville and Iowa City even amidst a flood are not Auschwitz or Buchenwald.Perspective

  5. says:

    By the Iowa Sea is a rattling and at times disturbingly accurate story of a man who has stumbled into the middle of his life with only questions to show for his existence Ripped of frills, Blair constructs simple prose that hide within them a special clarity in the face of both natural and personal disasters Readers will find beauty in the small town monotony and many will relate to the internal struggle that grips a man in a small town fearing he will live a small life I caught the overall f By the Iowa Sea is a rattling and at times disturbingly accurate story of a man who has stumbled into the middle of his life with only questions to show for his existence Ripped of frills, Blair constructs simple prose that hide within them a special clarity in the face of both natural and personal disasters Readers will find beauty in the small town monotony and many will relate to the internal struggle that grips a man in a small town fearing he will live a small life I caught the overall feeling of the book by pulling the following quote from page 238 It is possible to grieve for the loss of a thing even as you are in possession of it To crave the very thing you have been blessed with

  6. says:

    I picked up this book because I m an Iowa native with an interest in writing about life on the floodplain I was disappointed to find that these aspects were very peripheral to Blair s lackluster story of parenthood and marriage Blair surprises and provokes sympathy with his frank accounts of life with an autistic son, but that too is peripheral Center stage is really his struggle with marital infidelity Sure, infidelity s a complicated facet of the human experience You and me and everyone I picked up this book because I m an Iowa native with an interest in writing about life on the floodplain I was disappointed to find that these aspects were very peripheral to Blair s lackluster story of parenthood and marriage Blair surprises and provokes sympathy with his frank accounts of life with an autistic son, but that too is peripheral Center stage is really his struggle with marital infidelity Sure, infidelity s a complicated facet of the human experience You and me and everyone we know has some story of it to tell But Blair wants us to hold his hand through it, as if his is the first story anyone s told about men feeling victimized from their own miscommunication with women By injecting some lyricism about the Iowa landscape and flooding into his narrative, Blair attempts to cast a poetic sheen on his personal life, and as a result, prop up an apology or sympathy by way of metaphor But the symbolism only comes off as tired and self important I realize this is a man s lived experience, and I m really not trying to criticize his actions or even his writing I m simply exasperated by publishers and readers continued interest in romanticizing male infidelity and self indulgence Onestory trying to convince us to forgive poor, good old boy Joe Schmo who just can t figure out this fidelity thing just feels like oneway to direct blame back to women Not a book I would ever recommend

  7. says:

    There was moment when I worried that this episodic, semi impressionistic, evocative and beautifully written memoir was going to lapse into a middle age man apologia for infidelity, which I have no interest in hearing, but Joe Blair quickly rights the ship though he does nearly destroy his marriage and lose his family of four kids And, despite because of a willingness to expose his darkest, most unappealing thoughts and feelings, Blair definitely emerges from this surprisingly engrossing, There was moment when I worried that this episodic, semi impressionistic, evocative and beautifully written memoir was going to lapse into a middle age man apologia for infidelity, which I have no interest in hearing, but Joe Blair quickly rights the ship though he does nearly destroy his marriage and lose his family of four kids And, despite because of a willingness to expose his darkest, most unappealing thoughts and feelings, Blair definitely emerges from this surprisingly engrossing, mostly charming journey as a Good Guy Which is fine He is a good guy, it seems Also a terrific writer, from New England, who happens to wind up fixing air conditioners in small town in Iowa for a living And one of his sons, Michael, is profoundly autistic and requires an enormous amount of parental attention and patience So there s a lot of how did I get here going on, but not in a whining way In fact, it s love, acceptance, and gratitude that wins the day which, in my experience as a 54 year old man, are the keys to finally settling in to a happy, useful, meaningful life

  8. says:

    For the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder ChallengeRead a book that is set within 100 miles from your location

  9. says:

    Not sure exactly how I feel about this memoir Joe is a man who had big dreams of living a vagabond lifestyle, where he would never cave in to convention, never settle down Joe meets Deb and they jump on a motorcycle and head west from Massachusetts with 7000 hidden in a gym sock They run out of money in Iowa and buy a small house Deb becomes pregnant and within six years, they have four children one of whom is severely autistic Joe supports his family with his heating and cooling busin Not sure exactly how I feel about this memoir Joe is a man who had big dreams of living a vagabond lifestyle, where he would never cave in to convention, never settle down Joe meets Deb and they jump on a motorcycle and head west from Massachusetts with 7000 hidden in a gym sock They run out of money in Iowa and buy a small house Deb becomes pregnant and within six years, they have four children one of whom is severely autistic Joe supports his family with his heating and cooling business and the years roll by Joe and Deb begin to argue Joe begins to feel restless with his small life, pressured by the demands of his family and job and caring for his special needs son Predictably, he has an affair and things come to a head At this same time, days and days of rain lead to the massive flooding of the Iowa River.Part of me thought Joe was selfish and childish and needed a swift kick in the butt The other part sympathized who hasn t wondered at times, Is this all there is I want something different The parts of the memoir dealing with his autistic son, Mike, were heart rending I can t imagine what that would be like.All in all, it is an honest and truthful memoir, thought provoking and well written

  10. says:

    When you read a memoir, you don t need to love the type of person the author is You don t need to think he or she has stellar character What matters is the voice of the author and their motivation for telling their story I ve read two memoirs within the past few months this one and Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs The two books could not have beendifferent Whereas Running with Scissors was a boastful and showy attempt at shocking readers, what struck me about By the Iowa Se When you read a memoir, you don t need to love the type of person the author is You don t need to think he or she has stellar character What matters is the voice of the author and their motivation for telling their story I ve read two memoirs within the past few months this one and Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs The two books could not have beendifferent Whereas Running with Scissors was a boastful and showy attempt at shocking readers, what struck me about By the Iowa Sea is its utter humility and simplicity Joe Blair is a man who seems to recognize his failings, if sometimes only in retrospect He is someone with a severely autistic child and this fact is something that weighs on him and chisels away at his hope and his happiness I don t think he s written this book to invoke sympathy, as some reviewers suggest He s writing to share something of himself I loved this book And I m willing to forgive an ending that felt maybe a little too pat or idealistic This is a profoundly moving book that beautifully captures all the complexities of intimate relationships

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