Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer reading by psychologist, teacher, pastoral counselor Kenneth Weene

Kenneth Weene is an All Things That Matter Press all-star.  He has three books published under this imprint, and has also published innumerable short stories and poems.  Here I'll try to cover each of his three full-length books, any one of which would make good pool-side reading this summer.  Why not all three?!

The first is "Widow's Walk", published in 2009.  Here's author Stephen Clark Bradley's Review:

" Widow's Walk by Ken Weene is a book about tragedy, love, passion, faith and how they seem to get all tangled together at times in the minds of human who seek love, but who are torn by the battles raging inside of us. We all want to find the real meaning of our lives. Faith in God very often plays a primary role in a person's life as they seek to deal with the difficult things that sweep over them and the unexpected moments of euphoria that periodically engulf us us. Mary Flanagan is no different and her needy heart is something that any reader will easily relate to, making it easy to place oneself in the story.

In Widow's walk, Mary Flanagan finds herself caught between her sense of religious faith and compulsion in her own private life in her personal desire for love and life that could sustain her through some very deep trials. Mary's struggle for truth and desire is in emotional conflict, making her struggles even more intense from her feelings of guilt and conviction at having contravened her beliefs that had kept her life walking down the straight path and her need of love and passion.

Perhaps the most dangerous times in one's life are those moments when we cannot understand why all the divergent winds of blow around our heads. Mary Flanagan demonstrates a profound sense of loneliness and sorrow when she is faced with getting on with the rest of her life after becoming a widow. Her crisis of faith, life and identity only relent when she met Arnie Berger, who became her lover and soul mate, and who seems to transform Mary's world by the possibility of finding love and desire, which was like rain for her parched soul.

In Widow's Walk, Ken Weene uses a lot of excellent descriptions to paint some very deep-seated feelings that begin to plague Mary in her new relationship. She begins the most profound of journeys as she seeks to find the true meaning of love while handling her family's own struggles with disabilities and quadriplegia. Widow's Walk gives a very vivid depiction of how rough it can be for a woman, a widow, a mother to get on with her lives as she hunts for ways to control the storms that are tossing her to and fro in her personal life while her children wrestle with their own disasters and who are trapped in their own dilemmas; it is often far more difficult than for a man. Again, this theme and Ken Weene's ability to weave in a good dose of emotion and regret will make the reader look inward and apply the feelings unfairness and personal difficulty to themselves, which makes for a page turner.

Mary's son, Sean, a quadriplegic, is looking for a satisfying life in the midst of great physical and emotion, seemingly fruitless effort. Mary's daughter, Kathleen is coping with infertility and resentment in her search for contentment while feeling cheated by her inability to become a mother. The result is that the lives of Mary and her two children are turned upside down by adversity, pleasure and catastrophe.

If you enjoy reading a story that will touch your inner being and which speaks to all of us who have sought to make our lives something that has profound meaning, then I highly recommend Widow's Walk by Ken Weene. Women who are facing similar circumstances will gain a lot of insight from this story and men will perhaps have a greater appreciation for women who struggle to care for their children after the husband and father are gone, due either to death or infidelity. This book is a true human interest story that will get a reader's reflective powers flowing. I highly recommend Widow's Walk by Ken Weene."

Next comes "Memoirs from the Asylum", in which Kenneth makes good use of his experience and education in Psychology.  Here's a review from J. Knox:

"Many books take on the subject of mental illness, many more are set in psychiatric wards, but usually these are narratives that recount a single story or perspective. What distinguishes Memoirs from the Asylum is the fact that the reader is introduced not only to individuals in a mental institution but the larger community of the institutionalized lifestyle. Ken Weene introduces his reader to numerous, dynamically-drawn characters that absolutely come alive on the page, not only through their private battles but how these patients interact and perceive the institution they've been relegated to. This is a powerful portrayal of what life is in an institutionalized setting and how corruption can and does exist for some residents. He brings up real problems that are often not discussed, and humanizes his characters in a way that few authors have been able to. I hope this book gets the attention it deserves because it is truly an eye-opening tale(s) that demands a reader's attention and empathy for those who are often shunned or ignored by society. Read it." 

And finally, his latest: "Tales from the Dew Drop Inne" is a collection of short stories linked by the setting and interplay between these tale-tellers and their hosts.  Here's a review from Karen H. Vaughan:

"People gather at bars to drink, share stories and sometimes to belong. Meet Ephraim and Calvin and their friends/family. The Dew Drop Inne is full of stories and a feeling of comeraderie. There are a lot of real characters in this book with their own issues but they come together to support each other when no one else will. The story takes a good look at the marginalized members of society but the author gives them substance. There is a Dew Drop Inne in every city and in it there are characters like the ones depicted in this story.

Kenneth has written a poignant tale with a few laughs along the way. Each character is like a sculpture with many dimensions and when you read the story you can laugh and cry with them. I thoroughly enjoyed the story as a whole and the smaller tales within. I highly recommend the book and give The Inne 5 pints of beer."

Ken lives in Arizona.  He is semi retired and devoting his time to writing and enjoying life.


This is the eighth of a short series of Author profiles that features fellow authors in the All Things That Matter Press family.

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