Lessons From the Sidewalk

Encounters with the Discarded

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
237 Pages
Reviewed on 09/29/2023
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Miche Arendse for Readers' Favorite

Lessons From the Sidewalk: Encounters with the Discarded by Barry Robbins takes us on a journey, through the eyes of prominent figures such as Beethoven and Edgar Allen Poe, as they come across everyday objects viewed in a new and philosophical light. From Napoleon's encounter with a toothbrush to Freud and a mask, we see how these legends from years past find reflection and inspiration for life through the most mundane of objects.

I found myself caught off guard once I started reading Lessons From the Sidewalk: Encounters with the Discarded by Barry Robbins. Never did I think that ordinary objects could bring about such deep and thought-provoking ideas and concepts until I read this book. Not only was it inspiring but the contrast of having these ordinary objects paired with such significant historical figures made it even more impactful. Robbins truly has a way of weaving magic into words in such a way that it brings to life new meaning where you never expected to find it. The more I read the more I found myself engrossed in this collection of short stories. I found myself thinking that this is truly what it means for something to be ‘food for thought’ as I sat and contemplated the many ideas brought about within this magnificent book. This was definitely a pleasant surprise and I am glad to have been able to read and review this book. It is most definitely worth reading and I think any person who enjoys thought-provoking and unique tales would enjoy this very much.

Manik Chaturmutha

Lessons from the Sidewalk: Encounters with the Discarded by Barry Robbins is a captivating collection that tells the story of mundane objects encountered by famous figures. The book focuses on how the ordinary can have valuable powers that sway people and the world. The book centers on a Lost and Found exhibition, where once-discarded objects evolve into landmarks of human experience. This highlights the impact of everyday things like the telephone, which changed the course of history. From Napoleon's toothbrush to a feather that once caught Hamlet's attention, Robbins has created a story that challenges the human perspective.

Lessons from the Sidewalk treats readers to a whimsical blend of history, imagination, and human connection. This unique exhibition is a thematic backbone and provides the space where history and fantasy intertwine. Robbins delves into the perspective of both the objects and the people, which gives these encounters a well-rounded finish. The writing style is beautiful and reflective. These stories felt more like a leisurely walk through time and history. Robbins masterfully creates lessons that have a touch of wonder, inspiration, and humor without being too didactic. What I loved the most was that the book ingeniously extended the stories beyond the exhibits. There is a gala where all the fictional and historical characters meet.

Robbins has included memoirs and poems to keep the narrative fresh, with an undercurrent of power, wonder, and potential. There is a section revealing the newfound homes of these objects and the people who adopted them. Whether it's a toothbrush that finds its place in a dental office or a hubcap-turned masterpiece in a suburban garage, the new home provides each encounter with a satisfying conclusion. The book showcases Barry Robbins' storytelling prowess, combining historical significance with fiction. The book is testimony to the potential of seemingly minor events to convey meaningful stories about resilience, connection, and the human experience.

Amy Raines

Lessons From The Sidewalk: Encounters With The Discarded by Barry Robbins encourages you to look deeper at the things that surround you. There is a lesson to be learned or a concept to be understood hidden in the cracks and scars of everyday items. Find a deeper meaning in things that are typically overlooked, such as the marks on a satchel or the significance or meaning a rope, a toothbrush, a lottery ticket, or an abandoned popcorn container can have. How could a human’s choices impact the way a discarded lottery ticket looks at its abandoned lifestyle? What significance is there in the choice of the flavor of a donut? What flavors would people like Alfred Hitchcock, Tonto, Hamlet, or Queen Elizabeth choose and why? What meaning could be hiding in the depths of a frying pan?

I genuinely enjoyed the insightful stories in Lessons From The Sidewalk. Barry Robbins looks at everyday, simple items with a deeper view than what is usually seen with the naked eye. I absolutely love the parallel the author drew between a banana found by John Lennon and the lessons that are learned throughout life. Each story gives several different ways in which something banal, like a toothbrush or a cracked mirror, can contain; with a story of its own that can impact how we view the world around us. I recommend Lessons From The Sidewalk to anyone who enjoys short stories that are as entertaining as they are meaningful. I look forward to reading many more books like this one from this talented author.

Jessica Barbosa

Barry Robbins’ Lessons from the Sidewalk: Encounters with the Discarded is a collection of intriguing stories about common objects found in our surroundings. Here you’ll find a chapter telling a meaningful tale about a toothbrush that has been set aside, a paintbrush and its encounter with an artist, a trash can, a locket, and many more objects that we usually find if we take a moment to observe what’s around us. The chapters are woven with stories connected to some random objects that hold deep emotions, memories, and moments important to the human journey. Experience the magic of everyday moments with this book today.

I found Barry Robbins’ Lessons from the Sidewalk to be truly charming, and imaginative. Robbins artistically teaches a serious lesson through humorous tales of common objects that we see every day. Each story offers profound insights that can be applied in daily life, and each one is sure to make you smile and laugh. I thoroughly enjoyed each chapter and smiled throughout but out of all the stories, Mata Hari and the Fig Newton is undoubtedly my favorite. The mere mention of the cookie now never fails to make me giggle. It is a simple cookie, yet it imparts such a valuable life lesson that I now hold dear. After reading about that cookie, I am fully aware of the significance of embracing my true self which is one of the many important lessons that this book contains. The stories are truly entertaining as they explore the fascinating world of abandoned and forgotten objects. Not only are these tales eye-opening, but they are also incredibly enjoyable to read. Excellent work.

K.C. Finn

Lessons from the Sidewalk: Encounters with the Discarded is a work of fiction in the observational humor, slice of life, and anthology subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Penned by author Barry Robbins, the author has produced a captivating exploration of the extraordinary hidden within the ordinary. Through a series of poignant and thought-provoking chapters, the book invites readers to see the world anew, with a focus on the often-overlooked objects and moments that shape our lives. Each chapter unveils a unique story, breathing life into discarded, forgotten, or lost objects, which, in turn, evoke a sense of nostalgia, reflection, and connection.

Author Barry Robbins has a remarkable ability to infuse significance into the seemingly mundane, revealing the rich tapestry of human experiences and emotions that are woven into everyday life. Reading this book was an enriching experience, particularly because the narrative voice was so unique and in your face. It encouraged me to slow down and appreciate the beauty and meaning that can be found in the most unexpected places and reminded me that every object, every moment, carries a story waiting to be told. Robbins has a gift for humor that travels through every moment of this collection, underpinning the tales so that you can’t help but smile whilst reading, which is a rare gift indeed. Overall, Lessons from the Sidewalk serves as a reminder that there is magic in the everyday. It encourages us to embrace the world with a sense of wonder and curiosity, and I would certainly recommend it to fans seeking unusual and uniquely penned works.