Letters to Evelyn

Romance - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
164 Pages
Reviewed on 10/15/2019
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Author Biography

I was a navy pilot who followed my dreams of serving the United States in any way I could. In my tertiary education, I was the top student scholastically in my NROTC class. And with my German language and Literature degree and 2 academic minors, I chose to fly airplanes and helicopters for the navy. My flight time has been spent in 10 different types of aircraft and I presently have 1 world record flying them, and I have a Northeast human endurance record from the time I spent visiting with my biological father and his former wife. My world record is for the steepest, highest Sarajevo Approach with the lowest recovery in a T-34C. I flew from 6000 feet down to five feet above the treetops onto Eglin AFB with a sustained and extended eighty-three degree nose down attitude on the dive and with maximum allowable aeronautical gravity uniformily almost exceeded on the wings and tail on the recovery. My U.S. Northeast record is for the longest time spent with no sleep, greater than 12 days once being poisoned with food after psychological threats against me. Notwithstanding these setbacks, I still graduated from University education, and still had managed to fly navy planes. These clear reminisions are perfectly assembled into one volume that I will be using in a court of law against criminals.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

From a young age, John Selman knew there was more to life than what his senses could see, touch and hear. Follow his amazing life experiences as he strives to follow in his father's footsteps into aviation whilst trying to find love and a sense of belonging. A heart-touching love story with intriguing threads of fantasy and science fiction woven throughout. John is witness to many extraterrestrial encounters and premonitions throughout his life, which makes him of considerable interest to those who meet him. Sometimes his gift is an advantage, giving him the upper hand, but other times it is a curse that causes him to feel like an outsider. As John's search for love continues, the story will take a surprising turn, mixing reality with science fiction and a biblical tale. When John eventually finds love, it is with someone he never imagined possible.

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman is an extraordinary book with a unique plot that captivated me from the first chapter. The author takes quite horrific and disturbing events and turns them into great learning experiences. The events in the book are depicted so well and I loved the references to real-life events, such as the Vietnam War and the World Trade Center. Each of the characters, even the minor ones, have been portrayed with care and consideration. I could visualize every one of them. I found Jona especially dark and disturbing. The dialogue was sharp, realistic and revealed the character's personality perfectly. The author's imagination is off the charts. I did not think a novel combining science fiction, romance, and biblical characters could be achieved, but the author has created a story that you will never forget. Letters To Evelyn will never lose your interest and never fail to deliver on tension, excitement and even hints of comedy.

Ruffina Oserio

Lyrical and utterly engaging, Letters to Evelyn by John Selman is a romance that follows the journey of John Selman, born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1976, a man with a singular admiration for his father, a Naval Aviator and an airline pilot, and a man in whose footsteps he wants to follow. He is particularly fascinated by his father’s bombing missions in the Vietnam campaign. He is accepted in the Navy ROTC, but things are not what they always seem to be. He experiences stress, has to learn to be a Navy pilot, but in his journey to becoming like his father, there is the love of a woman, a woman who has been there in his mind at the critical moments of the decisions he has made. Follow a love story with strong biblical underpinnings and elements of a memoir and discover the fun, at times disturbing experiences of the protagonist, experiences that include an encounter with extraterrestrial beings.

This isn’t a typical romance as the author brings into the writing different and powerful elements of style. The narrative voice is confident and strong and I enjoyed the use of the first-person narrative and the richness that the epistolary style brings into the narrative. In fact, it opens with a letter that defines the path the story takes: “I’m so sorry for everything. I understand this whole thing might be a mistake, but here is my letter, the letter I wanted to send to you the moment you touched my hands, and it is the long version. I am only writing to you in hope that you find me in your heart someday and say hello to me sometime in the future.” John Selman tells his story with humor and shares experiences that transcend the ordinariness in life to offer powerful glimpses into what happens when we take a step into the unknown.

Rabia Tanveer

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman is a romance novel that is part confession and part the life story of the author. Letters to Evelyn is exactly that, a letter to his love in which he shares his experiences to try to woo her. The story begins as John talks about how his father was a huge influence on him, how dashing and powerful his father was when he flew his plane. Since then, he wanted to be just like his father and so he went on to follow in his footsteps and joined the Navy ROTC. Little did he realize that this would be the start of a journey he would call life. From learning to fly, becoming a Navy pilot, going to war and falling in love, he lives his life to its fullest potential and shares it with others.

This is such a unique and wonderfully woven story that had me riveted from the moment I started reading it. John is such a complex character; he seems real because the author based him on himself. You can feel the integrity of the author and feel how much emotion he put into this. The narrative was smooth, fast-paced and exceptionally well-written. What I enjoyed the most was how unapologetic and open he is about his story and how he tells it. He is very straightforward, even when he is talking about mysterious happenings in his life. He kept the tension; he allowed it to simmer and made sure that the reader was right beside him as he retold his life story. Enjoyable and relatable.

Alma Boucher

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman will give the reader a look at the 12.5 years of John's life from December 1999 through the middle of 2012. John Jackson Selman grew up in Brunswick from the age of four and was an only child. John’s grandfather was a JAG officer, and his father was a naval officer. It was a family tradition to be an officer in the military, and it was John’s dream to become an aircraft carrier pilot like his father. John’s experience was different from that of other officers. John’s contact with unworldly events made him a person of great interest to whoever came into contact with him. John’s gift sometimes worked in his favor, but it was also a curse that made him feel alone until he fell in love with Evelyn Tuskegee.

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman is fascinating. It was a roller coaster ride of romance, paranormal, science fiction, and reality. Fiction and reality were intertwined in this love story, and at times it was difficult to distinguish between them. I was captivated from the start, and the plot held my attention throughout the story. The events were descriptive, and it was easy to visualize them. The characters were well-developed and unique. Each character was introduced with his background, and I got to know them. They were authentic and relatable. John’s search for love and finding it was exciting, and I enjoyed that. The story was well-written and unusual, with a fitting ending. This story will stay with me for a long time.

Munir Muhammad

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman combines personal reminiscences, romance, and science fiction. It is an unusual and interesting memoir that takes readers with the author on his journey. Inspired by his father, he was accepted into the Navy ROTC while also seeking love and a sense of belonging. The account follows John as he describes his life from childhood to adulthood. He shares his experiences of flying, war, love, and otherworldly exploration along the way. This is a heartfelt message in which John expresses his love for Evelyn and describes his exploits and progress through life. His letters outline his family background, where he comes from, and how he fell in love. He shares his feelings openly and he doesn't seem to be concerned about scaring Evelyn. His letters are honest and show his true self, whether good or bad.

The writing in Letters to Evelyn is clear, concise, and engaging. John Selman has a gift for capturing the reader's attention. The book is also full of beautiful imagery, which helps bring the story to life. I liked the use of the first-person narrative and the depth that the writing style adds. The approach is strong and confident as it begins with a letter that sets the tone for the rest of the story. The author explores some awkward and complex issues, such as real-life events in the Vietnam War. However, he handles these topics with sensitivity and insight, and he never shies away from the truth. This is a touching and mesmerizing book that will have a lasting impact on you even after you are finished with it. It is a story about love, sadness, and looking for purpose in life. If you want a book that will make you think and is challenging, I suggest this work which combines fact and fantasy.

Adanna Ora

John Jackson Selman was a naval pilot who was born in New Mexico. After his parents divorced when he was aged 4, he stayed with his stepmother Lauren, who mistreated him. As an adult working in the Navy, John was poisoned by his stepmother. Following that incident, his life was never the same. He experienced hallucinations, which affected his work and relationship with his colleagues. He was also referred to as the biblical Jesus, a description that he strongly resisted. The most remarkable effect of his hallucinations was the development of a love interest called Evelyn. John believed that there was a soulmate out there for him named Evelyn and imagined he everything that she would be. Would he ever find her, or was she just a figment of his imagination? Find out in Letters to Evelyn by John Selman.

Letters to Evelyn includes a beautifully composed poem dedicated to Evelyn and an account of John’s life, which is narrated engagingly. John Selman introduces us to the wonderful world of flying and gives us an idea of how a plane is piloted. This memoir reflects the pain of betrayal, conspiracy, and the wickedness of people in great measure. It also shows the effort the author made to get back on his feet and move on despite many disappointments. Another important point to be taken from the book is the frequent disregard for mental health issues and the need to take them more seriously. The account is narrated in a captivating and suspense-filled manner. It also incorporates words that can improve one’s vocabulary and teach great life lessons. I recommend this combination of experience, romance, and fantasy to lovers of good books.

Luwi Nyakansaila

John Selman begins his memoir, Letters to Evelyn, with a heartfelt apology to Evelyn. But who is Evelyn, and why is he apologizing? In this book, the author answers these questions. He narrates the gruesome event before going to flight school that caused him to experience premonitions and hallucinations, eventually leading him to Evelyn. For ten months, John did not tell anyone he was struggling to hold on to reality and living in an alternative world filled with aliens, God, and people who call him Jesus. John’s only desires were to become a jet pilot, find a woman who would accept him and his past experiences, and world peace. So, he fought for what he wanted, but did he succeed?

Letters to Evelyn is a memorable book with an intense storyline. The story sucks you in and grabs your attention right from the start. John Selman’s account of events took me on a crazy ride. He blends elements of reality and fiction. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze everything he says. Even in his lucid state, he discusses racism, bullying, service to the country, and wealth inequality. He is well-spoken and delivers moving speeches that will make you see the world differently. Throughout the book, his decision not to tell anyone about his hallucinations and his desire to complete his education was a consistent mantra. They showed his determination but also highlighted his state of pain and anguish. The author’s dreams were in jeopardy because of one unnecessary incident, and staying on course was his only way of winning this battle. I enjoyed this book and hope to read more books by this amazing author.

Doreen Chombu

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman is the author's love letter to a mysterious woman who helped him through a tough time. All John Selman ever wanted was to follow in his father's footsteps to become a naval aviator. Before he began training, John visited his father and stepmother, a woman who despised and abused him as a child. On his final day with them, she laced his food with powerful drugs that made him hallucinate about monsters and aliens for months. Despite his confused mental state, John decided to continue his studies. Amidst all the chaos in his mind, John envisioned the most beautiful woman in the universe and held on to the idea of meeting her one day.

Letters to Evelyn is one of the most unusual memoirs I have ever read because it begins with real-life events and then turns into a science-fiction story midway. The combination kept me glued to the book and left me in awe. John Selman will lead you into the psyche of a drug-induced man and cause you to question reality. Everything felt like an out-of-body experience but also socially familiar. John talks about world problems like the war, loving one another, and stopping racism. Then he goes on trips with aliens and foresees major world events. The book is unpredictable and has many funny moments that make it intriguing and memorable. I also loved the eye-catching book cover and well-organized book format. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves reading mind-bending tales.