Published: June 22, 2012
Words: 71956 (approximate)
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All the information were taken from the Smashwords website, the Review my own.
This rare and honest first-person account looks at 21st century romance, marriage with children, and divorce from a regular guy’s perspective. The colorful and addictive narrative delves deep into spousal abuse, the hopeless place in which a father finds himself during divorce, new beginnings, and his ordeal’s significance in retrospect. John Emil Augustine’s insight throughout, the result of his own tragedy and redemption, is nothing short of eloquence itself written in a very down-to-earth, casual way. This heart-jerking, wisdom-flecked story is a must read for lovers of fiction and non-fiction alike.
John Emil Augustine has been a landscaper, musician, English professor, welder, forklift operator, and is the father of four boys. John writes and performs in his spare time. “Love Seen from Hell” is his first novel.
"What first prompted me to start writing this was my friend whom I have always thought of as my kid sister. She had recently gone through some tough shit and I wanted to do something to help. She was living away from home and was trying to process her own episode while dealing with home sickness. I thought by giving her my story in small installments, about a chapter a day, she would have something to look forward to each day and to which she could possibly relate. Had it not been for her encouragement throughout the process, this book would not have been written. She seemed to like the story enough to encourage me to keep writing as I went, rough as my writing was in its rushed state.
An excellent writer in her own right and of a far more literary background than I, her admiration and thoughtful reactions as the story progressed were what kept me at it. I typed it up in the warehouse where I work, on breaks and in the few quiet moments between shipping and receiving, then sent it to her each day at the end of my shift. It was interesting that when my mind was already on the topic, doing the manual labor gave me a chance to arrange my thoughts before I sat down to write. I ended up working on my warehouse tasks specifically because I needed time to process what I was going to write next...oh, and because that's what I'm paid to do, though the pay was admittedly secondary at the time. I came to realize that neither act, the manual nor the intellectual labor, was much different than the other. They both were harmonious, simultaneous actions. One gave my mind a break, and the other, my body a break. In so doing, I never got tired of my work, the warehouse nor the writing. How strangely complimentary, though seemingly unrelated, some things can be!
While I was learning about my own writing process, I figured I was helping my friend out, too. I think what I was writing perhaps helped in some small way, but by the end she pretty much said my conclusions didn't really apply to her situation. So much for my finding an applicable story! The thing is: everyone walks away from a story with something different, so I don't mind that my conclusions were not hers. Everyone sees the same thing in a different way, and the importance of storytelling has a lot to do with the ensuing discussion. We need such discussions as a larger community to collectively better ourselves as inhabitants of the planet. Our stories can serve multiple purposes, and thus far this one has served a couple. Perhaps it will serve a purpose for you as well. Please feel free to let me know if it does. As I once did with the stories I used to tell in my own English classes, I certainly welcome discussion from you in this forum.
Enjoy the story. It is true and it is here almost exactly as I sent it to my friend, my kid sister, from late March to early May 2012 in chapter installments."
-John Emil Augustine, July 2012
John Emil Augustine grew up in Minneapolis, MN and toured in his twenties and early thirties with local and national acts; writing, arranging, and performing on the road with well-known Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Reggae, Post Funk, Prog Rock, and Folk Rock groups. John has also been a landscaper, welder, English professor, and forklift operator. He currently lives in Moorhead, MN with his wife and four boys.
This was such an amazing biography that it felt unsincere to say this is my review. Since you can not rate a persons life by the measure of stars. It would not be honest nor truthful on my part to distinguishing the author's life lessons as a mere story. Then we have learned nothing from his perspective. His main reason for starting this book to help a dear friend and sister. We are all connected like a puzzle. Each brings a piece to complete the picture. Some pieces are skew with indents that just does not make sense but when the image unfolds the piece fits perfectly. This is one piece to be cherished until it fits in your life. Lessons learned comes with a price. Not everyone is willing to pay that price. It can bring out the best or the worst it all depends on your point of view. In John's life it turned for the best but I believe this is not the end. Age has taught me that. Trails shapes us, refines us and at the end the result is what God intended all along. His image incarnated in out very soul.Humbleness, Honesty, Courage and a good measure of wisdom revealed a world of abuse and bullying from a man's view in a failed marriage. Mistakes was made on both sides but yet not once I saw a man that said this was your fault. He never shifted blame in it self that speaks of integrity.
He looked within him self where he could change, not only for himself but his son. His main concern. At the end it cost him heaven on earth but yet it was only a shadow with what he end up with. John's life is an open book for those who is seeking answers with their own questions, their own struggles. I saw a lot of myself in both John and Cindi. It brought me to tears."Your life is a process to be enjoyed." he has learned the hard way. Sometimes we miss that lesson in our own trails. It is easy to say Cindi was manipulative[and she was, no doubt] a bully but yet John never blamed her and moved on.
Expert:“My great-grandma is dying.”
“What did they need you for?”
“She wouldn’t stay in her chair and then she would fall in the hall and we would have to
carry her back. They were trying to keep her in her room.”
“So you held her down!?!”
“No. I carried her back.”
“You know what, forget it! You and your whole family are so sick. I can’t believe I am
“I CAN’T BELIEVE I AM STILL HERE!!!” She screamed. Charles cried and twisted in my arms
as I moved this way and that to hold onto him. I had nothing to say to that.
Cindi went to the kitchen, twisted her feet into her sandals, and opened the door. “FROM
NOW ON, YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN!” She screamed.
I stood there with a crying baby and watched her open and slam the door. I moved to the
kitchen window to see her run through the back yard.
Where was she going?
She opened the gate, went into the driveway, quickly got into the car, backed away from
the garage, and screamed away.
As I was watching, I had set Charles onto the counter and against my chest as he cried. I
picked him up, sat down on the kitchen floor, vexed, and held him up near my face. “Hey,
little boy,” I half-whispered, “You’re ok. Hey, Charlie, no worries. What you wanna do? You
tired? Hungry? I suppose you’re going to need something to eat, huh bud?” He was calming
down a bit. Those big baby-sobs started to come as he reversed his own crying. “Well, what
do ya say? Should we get some food? At least we can try to eat something; and if you don’t
want to do that, you can sleep, huh?”
He had begun to calm down as I slowly got up and held him close, all the time looking at
him and talking quietly. “I know, Charlie, I know. It’s tough all over, isn’t it? Well, we won’t
let that get us down. Nope, not us. We’re gonna be just fine.” He began to close his eyes. He
was tired, the poor guy. I lay him down in my left arm. “There ya go. You sleep a little and
I’ll see what I can do, ok? Yeah, you’re tired, huh? Just have a little break there, guy. Now
we’re cookin’. Now we’re cookin’.”
He was beginning to fall asleep and I was shaking uncontrollably.
With each step he came closer to where he is right at this moment. Tricked? maybe into a marriage the woman knew where this was headed but what stood out the most was John's strong character of responsibility towards his son. To be there for him even if it cost him. He was willing to lay down his own desires and needs to make it better for Charles. What a Blessing to have great grand parents and grand parents that instilled this truth in him from a young age. As if he was prepared for this.
'I vowed to stand with her for better or worst. For better or worst'
To learn life's lessons at such an early stage in life and still speak about it without any bitterness is another good character trade. In a world that we could speak our minds, have humantarian rights, to have your way without the consiquences of your actions is rare and far apart. Discipline teach us that but yet is removed to create a selfish and narcistic world revolved only around one; Me. We can remove discipline in the home or even in the class room but life does not work like that. Life is still working on the old rules. Here is today's lesson..., don't get it right discipline will follow. If you deserve it or not, if you are priviledge or not. If you are poor or rich, black or white. Man or woman. Life does not look at those carnal fleeting things. Life change you, shape you until you bend and get it right.
Just seeing the process as it is takes courage. Admitting your own mistakes and flaws and allow time to heal you. Send people on your path to help you in this process. We can not do it alone. In John's case Kim was his help, his piece of heaven in hell. I love the name of the book. It gives hope and focus even if things seems bleak. She was his shoulder to cry on, ear to listen with out judgement. Confidant and Comforter. But it was only for a season. Life once again works in seasons. Not according to your agenda. Seasons, Cycles. Death, New Beginnings, Fruit, Harvest and every one can experience or participate in this seasons as they come and go. Their coming and going leaves something behind to help you. That is if you are wise enough to see it and take it for what it is. Maybe one day I would be able to share my story as John did with us. But it takes guts and frankly I am not there yet. Still living with the consequences of my own actions.
Tears often fell during the reading of this book because I could understand the loss and pain, the heart ache. The absolute destitution and loneliness when all seems lost. Then a simply thing like being invited to some one's home is something to cherish, to keep in your heart. The knowing that you are not alone.
The self searching to understand all of this: Life
I really hope John that you can find away to return to your class room and instill the values that you have learned in your students. If it was possible I would be the first to sign up for your class.
Thanks for sharing your life story.