My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Miles Away...Worlds Apart by Alan Sakowitz

Miles Away... Worlds ApartTitle: Miles Away...Worlds Apart
Author: Alan Sakowitz
Available Now
Pages: 223
Source: Provided by author in exchange for a honest review
3 STARS-Good, worth the read

DESCRIPTION (from Amazon)
Alan Sakowitz, a whistleblower of a Madoff-like Ponzi scheme masterminded by Scott Rothstein, fraudster extraordinaire, tells the story of his decision to turn in Rothstein regardless of the possible dangerous ramifications of such a decision. The saga of Rothstein's rise and fall which included a Warren Yacht, two Bugattis, Governor Crist, the former Versace mansion, The Eagles, and even the murder of a law partner, is the stuff that Hollywood movies are made from.

Instead of the mere accounting of such a scandal, Sakowitz uses the Rothstein scheme as a cautionary tale in stark contrast to the stories of humble, ethical individuals living within Sakowitz's neighborhood in North Miami Beach, Florida. Sakowitz's neighbors are people who have spent their lives trying to assist others, not line their pockets, and through these stories Sakowitz creates a sharp dichotomy between the greed, of a Rothstein and its mainstream culture of consumption and the charity, kindness and selflessness of a principle-oriented community. Indeed, Sakowitz speaks to the symptoms of a culture that could create a Scott Rothstein, and, though acknowledging that the easy way out is not simple to dismiss, offers remedies to the growing ills of our entitlement society. The answer, Sakowitz says, lies in thinking first of others, and how one's actions should benefit the lives of friends, not one's short-term gratifications.

This book's title is perfect. Alan describes how his life and the lives of his neighbors are vastly different from the life of Scott Rothstein.  To show this Alan has used stories from his neighborhood and from his own family. This isn't just a book about how he brought Rothstein down. Alan wanted to convey a message in hopes that at least one person can be persuaded to choose a better and more meaningful way to live. Alan does this job incredibly. This book is well written. For me it was hard to understand how someone could fall for Rothstein's scam but I guess some people only see what they want to see. I think because of Alan's faith, family, and friends he was able to see through the scam and find the strength to turn him in.

My favorite story was A Welcome Call on page 52. David Barman lived in Alan's community and is an attorney also. One afternoon Alan received a phone call from him. Not because he wanted anything but to just see how he was doing. This is what David did every Friday afternoon. He makes a point to call two friends that he doesn't normally run into during the week. This is priceless and made me think when was the last time I called someone just to see how they were doing.

One thing that I didn't like about this book or maybe I just didn't understand it. Whenever Alan mentions God he spells it G-d. I don't understand why he does this and it annoyed me. Why couldn't you just add the "o"?


Kelsey said...

The author was kind enough to explain to me why he spelled God the way he did. Thank you!

"Since I did do it, perhaps I should have explained why in a footnote. Certainly I could have added a "O" each time, but I did not for a reason. I book could be thrown around, brought into the bathroom and eventually put in the garbage. In my world, when the reference is written out the document, or in this case, the book takes on a greater level of holiness. It deserves to be treated with a little more respect. Since it is just an ordinary book and will be treated as such, I did not write the word out."~Alan Sakowitz