Dear Reader, 41qx-zy1ell__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_7

Today I received great news from John R. Davis, my editing client who recently published Finding My Banana Bread Man. He’d received two new 5-star Amazon reviews. Hooray for John! Hooray for his book! And because I’m a proud parent who, along with John, nurtured and trained this book, then sent it into the world with the advice “Do me proud,” I beam as I share these reviews with you.

The first review is by Bob Lind, book reviewer for Echo Magazine, which brings GLBT news to the Phoenix area.

Outstanding, heartfelt story of two lives torn apart by illness. (October 6, 2008)

For 27 wonderful years, the author and his life partner Jack Orler (aka “Jackie O”) had a storybook romance. In their late 20’s, they met at a Halloween party, and each knew immediately they had found their “soul mate,” their muse, the person with whom the ultimate happiness could be achieved. Jack was the mischievous “Lucy” to John’s pragmatic “Ethel,” and they brought out the best in each other and all of those around. They relocated from their native rural Michigan town to Scottsdale, Arizona, where Jack opened a successful hairstyling salon, while John had a good job with the state. Jack’s son from his marriage, Tom, whom John had helped raise since they met, joined their move to Arizona some years later, eventually marrying one of John’s former co-workers, and provided “Papa John” and “Papa Jack” with their first grandchild.

Unfortunately, this “storybook” had an unexpected and devastating development in the chapter that began in 2004, when Jack went to a doctor because of headaches he had suffered for a few weeks. It was diagnosed as a brain tumor, not just cancer but the most aggressive form of malignancy affecting the brain. With the alternative of a life expectancy measured in weeks, Jack and John decided that Jack would have the suggested surgery, which was considered successful if it got “most” of the fast-spreading cancer, with an optimistic prognosis of another year together. But that was the start of a downward spiral in Jack’s previously perfect health, increasing disabilities making him unable to fend for himself, which drafted John into the role of full-time caregiver. Jack’s subsequent operations, treatments, illness-related delusions and behavior problems were all problems they faced together, but actually fell more on John’s shoulders, who strained to keep Jack’s life as full and loving as possible. The eventual death of Jack resulted in a near-breakdown by John, who had been carrying the physical and emotional weight of keeping Jack alive for the past 10 months, and now faced – all at once – his multitude of feelings about the loss of the person who made his life worth living.

Writing this book – which also includes original poems written for and about Jack, as well as their path together – was the way in which John was finally able to verbalize his feelings and regrets, with the hope that their story can help others dealing with catastrophic illnesses and mourning. The book’s sizable epilogue contains valuable advice for caregivers, helpers, friends and medical professionals dealing with similar situations, as well as a personal photo journal of Jack and John together. This intelligent and heartfelt book is well written, and unique in its dealing with this situation for unmarried gay couples. Five stars out of five.

The next review is by Karen Reddick, editor, and author of Grammar Done Right!

Poignant, beautiful and charming (Nov. 08)

I was honored to have a part in the proofreading process of this honestly written, heartfelt book, about true love and devastating loss. The author writes from the depths of his soul after learning the news of his beloved Jack’s brain tumor, through his very detailed illness, and finally his journey through mourning. A poignant, lovely story.

And my 5-stars go to the book, of course, but also to the BEST EVER BANANA BREAD RECIPE in history, the actual recipe John’s banana bread man used. It’s included in the book.

Note: Finding My Banana Bread Man is available for purchase through Wheatmark Publishing or



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December 2008
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Photo Credits: Header - Barbara McNichol, Author - Bernadette Garcia

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