Review: An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 3.5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆


What It’s About:

Fifteen-year-old Silver Abelli’s life has been as tumultuous as the punk rock she was raised on. Her divorced parents just don’t get along, even though they’re both musicians who stubbornly spurn the mainstream but secretly crave the limelight. Silver has always lived with her mom, Nicola, but when Nicola is diagnosed with a brain tumor, she must go to live with her obnoxious, hard-partying father, Renz. Because her family is so traumatized by Nicola’s condition, Silver doesn’t know where to turn when she suffers her own trauma. Will the truth set her free, or will it only make a bad situation worse? Find out in this story of family, friends, and young love.

*This Young Adult book does contain some rough language and one scene of violence.

“Wittmann writes in a sharp, funny prose that perfectly captures the angst and humiliation… A clever, well-crafted tale about parents and children.” –Kirkus Reviews

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Guest Reviewer Frannie’s Thoughts:

This book was a smooth, quick read, but it wasn’t as captivating as I hoped it would be. The young adult coming of age story is about Silver Abelli, a 15-year-old girl who is living in a dysfunctional family. Her parents Nicola and Renz are divorced and they live close to Silver’s grandparents, who are her stabilizing force. However, as traditional as her grandparents are, Silver’s parents are just the opposite: very progressive and liberal.  Her parents are former wannabe rock-and-roll stars, and they feel that it is important that our heroine Silver leads a non-traditional life which includes home schooling and very little social finesse. Silver feels very isolated and alone. All she really wants to do is be a normal kid, go to a regular high school, become a cheerleader and become popular.  But be careful what you dream for in life! 

 She meets a boy named Jake who is very popular and plays football at the local high school.  His parents are bland and very uncomplicated. There really isn’t any development of them as characters.  We know that they are “nice” people, and that’s all.  At this point, Silver desires to have Jake’s life, which is so predictable and established.  This is unlike her chaotic life with her parents who are wild, unconventional and have developed an environment that is full of angst. 

 Her mother had brain surgery and is heavily medicated, her father is a radio host for a music station, and her grandparents run a bakery.  She can pretty much do anything she wants, anytime she wants, but what Silver really needs is a well-defined life with rules and parameters.  She wants mainstream – something she is never going to achieve. 

 The story is often not believable. You really want to believe in what is unfolding; however, many of the facts do not connect. The school she is supposed to go to is an inner city school in Milwaukee, not really somewhere a middle class white girl would end up. The beach that Silver and Jake go to in Milwaukee, WI is more like some place you would go to in Los Angeles. The lack of details of their actual surroundings seem a bit inconsistent with the story.  Silver’s cousin starts to become interesting, but you never really get her full story or her boyfriend’s story.    

Then a trauma occurs in Silver’s life and the story picks up in terms of interest and intrigue. It is a devastating incident for her, and she doesn’t know where to turn.  That is when the story becomes believable and interesting.  Where does she go?  Who does she turn to and who can she trust? 


About the Author: Kelly Wittmann began writing books about 18 years ago as a way of coping with living long-term with a benign but debilitating brain tumor. She didn’t know she had a brain tumor; over the span of  about 25 years, she was repeatedly misdiagnosed with various mental illnesses. Eventually, her condition became so alienating and isolating that writing became her only job option, and in time, her career. She is now over 4 years tumor-free, and the author or co-author of 18 books.

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.” –Gautama Buddha

You can find Kelly at WebsiteTwitter | Facebook

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