Reviewer Gordon Osmond : Gordon is a produced and award-winning playwright and author of: So You Think You Know English--A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don't Need One, Wet Firecrackers--The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond and his debut novel Slipping on Stardust.
He has reviewed books and stageplays for http://CurtainUp.com and for the Bertha Klausner International Literary Agency. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction. You can find out more about Gordon by clicking HERE
Author:Richard Daniel O'LearyPublisher:Jetty House
Author:Richard Daniel O'LearyPublisher:Jetty House
Expectations are understandably elevated when a non-fiction book told in the first person is titled not a memoir or an autobiography, but rather a "saga." And not any old saga, mind you, but an "inspiring" saga. When the reader finishes Richard Daniel O'Leary's first book, there is a strong sense that these expectations have been plentifully satisfied, for the author's story is indeed a saga, and it is, equally indeed, richly inspiring.
The rags section tells of the author's father's early days in Derryvahalla, Ireland and his later emigration to Maine. The book ends with the author and his wife, both bearing movie-star good looks, by the way, following the sun with luxuriously housed winters in Florida and summers in Maine. For reasons that the book makes crystal clear, the couple is surrounded by a loving family, admiring friends, and neighbors that range from presidents to show business celebrities.
The vehicle used by the author to make this glorious odyssey was a ship. In all of his occupations, from the humble to the Homeric, from serving as an ensign in the Navy to being the founder and head of successful travel concerns, the sea was/is always at the center of his being.
What struck this reader was how the author's epic success was due, not to opportunism or good luck (being in the right place at the right time), but rather to traits of character and wholesome philosophical principles. Outstanding among these are the commitment to do more than what is technically required and respect for workers at all levels of the production chain. It was genuinely, dare I say it, inspiring to see how these qualities directly resulted in successive successes and promotions. As a result, the author's picture-perfect retirement is celebrated by the reader rather than envied.
Richard O'Leary is admirable not only for his ambition, energy, and imagination and consequent accomplishments but also eminently likeable for his humanity. He is modest, generous, and forgiving. For some reason, I was particularly touched by his remembering the agony of teenage acne, the most underrated of all ailments, his willingness to change entire lifestyle patterns to accommodate his beloved and heroic standard poodles, and his gallantry toward those who did not have the good fortune to be included in his ultimate friends and family calling circle. His decision not to pursue the wealth-to-political power segue, followed by some his fellow New Englanders, was totally in character, correct and understandable considering that the few impediments to his upward arc of achievement relate to unions and various forms of government bureaucracy.
Although one of his harbor cruisers sounds a bit like the African Queen, as a passenger on one of his New York entertainment palaces, I can attest to the high quality of his sea-going products. I have previously reviewed on this site a very good book about a seagoing chef and her captain husband. That team and Mr. O'Leary should get together; they clearly deserve each other.
One with the Sea is an impressive and handsome volume that includes many captivating photographs of ships, ports, and people. There is also a comprehensive and cross-referenced index. Toward the end, the book goes a bit aground, weighed down with a fair amount of confetti, but it's all so well deserved as not to be the least bit offensive or overbearing. As a welcome counterpoint to this endless era of good feeling, the author does manage a little dig at the notoriously imperious Kitty Carlisle and a candid and negative assessment of a friend's homemade elderberry wine.
Would that the author's telling of the tale were as remarkable as the tale itself. A confessed non-professional writer, the author's style is more suited to a scrapbook than to a saga. There's a fair amount of "let me tell you," "I'll never forget," and an overuse of pallid adjectives such as "wonderful," "interesting," and "beautiful." The early chapters of lineage in Ireland are about as engrossing as a reading of the begat sections of the Book of Genesis.
The author confesses to having eschewed out of impatience the use of a professional editor in creating this book. We'll never know whether an opposite decision would have enhanced the work or diluted the distinctive voice of the author. Even though an editor would probably have substituted "tranche" for "trench" and realized that inscribing a tombstone is no place to confuse plurals and possessives, I think I'd rather take the book as it is, literary innocence and all.
Click Here To Purchase One with the Sea (An Inspiring Rags-To-Riches Saga of the Son of an Irish Immigrant)