Letters to Evelyn

Poetry - Inspirational
262 Pages
Reviewed on 02/18/2024
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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 Zahid Sheikh for Readers' Favorite

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman begins with a heartfelt poem expressing the poet's deep emotions and longing for his beloved Eve. The introduction provides a comprehensive account of John's family tradition of being in the military. His grandfather was a JAG officer, and his father was a naval officer. The narrative provides a detailed account of John's birth in Albuquerque, NM, his upbringing in Brunswick, ME, and the challenges in his life from his parents' divorce. The subsequent chapters transition to highlight John's life and experiences. The narrative takes a turn when John Selman's memoir highlights personal reflection, past events, and love for Evelyn. The possibility of Evelyn's return in the epilogue and her return in 2015 brings the story to a thrilling conclusion.

Letters to Evelyn is a blend of romance, science fiction, and spiritual exploration. John Selman highlights his family struggles, his aspiration to become a naval officer, and his journey with mental health. Letters to Evelyn discusses the challenges John faced in the military environment. The author emphasizes love, integrity, and leadership throughout the narrative. Selman's writing style is rich in detail, providing vivid descriptions of his experiences and surroundings, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the story. The inclusion of dialogue and emotional disclosure adds depth to the narrative. The author's ability to merge diverse themes and suspenseful story-telling with motivational conversation makes Letters to Evelyn a commendable read. John Selman's life serves as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of love.

Paul Zietsman

Letters to Evelyn is an unusual yet thought-provoking and often humorous memoir by John Selman. John says that he was kidnapped at age four by his father and stepmother, at whose hands he suffered abuse. Several years later, as an adult, he returns for a visit to his stepmother. On the morning that he was due to leave on a bus, he says that his stepmother doused eggs that she prepared for him with 500 to 600 doses of LSD. He says that, afterward, he hallucinated for ten consecutive months. This interfered with his dream of becoming a naval aviator, and he had a tough time in the navy, often seeing aliens as part of his hallucinations. During this time, he conjured up an image of the perfect woman, namely Evelyn, whom he came to meet in later years.

Letters to Evelyn is remarkable in the way that John Selman depicts events so vividly that I could clearly envision them, almost like I was there myself. Much of the book consists of his inner dialogue, offering the reader a glimpse into his mind and a glimpse of what it is like to be under the influence of psychedelic drugs. The comical side of it is exceedingly brilliant, to the point that even when I wasn't busy reading, the story would creep into my mind, and I would start laughing abruptly. John's quirky style of writing, his truthfulness in his thoughts, and the unusual events in Letters to Evelyn make for an interesting and very unique book.

Doreen Chombu

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman is a captivating memoir that seamlessly blends elements of fiction and non-fiction, providing a vivid account of the author's journey. From a young age, John always aspired to follow in his father's military footsteps and become a naval aviator. However, before attending flight school, he visits his father and stepmother, Lauren, in Utica. Out of spite, Lauren douses his food with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and for ten months, John suffers from the after-effects of drugs but chooses to keep it a secret and does not reveal his mental decline to anyone. In this book, he recounts his experiences aboard the naval ship, the hallucinations of extraterrestrial beings, and his love story with a mysterious woman. John also starts having premonitions of major future events, and his colleagues start calling him Jesus.

Reading Letters to Evelyn is a mind-blowing experience that I will remember for a long time. The story is trippy because of the narrator's drug-induced state of mind, but it remains remarkably coherent and engaging due to its intriguing plot and the author's engaging writing. The book has science fiction, time travel, paranormal, comedy, and historical elements, and is unpredictable, blurring the lines between fiction and reality. John Selman delivers one of the most remarkable works I have ever read, delving into profound topics such as racism, equality, patriotism, and love. His writing is laced with poetic verses, song lyrics, and references to iconic movie scenes, elevating the book's overall appeal. The visuals are beautiful, from the eye-catching cover to the elegant fonts and consistent format. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to anyone seeking a truly enjoyable and lovable reading experience.

K.C. Finn

Letters to Evelyn is a work of both fiction and creative non-fiction in romance, metaphysical writing, poetry, and epic subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Penned by author John Selman, this interesting abstract work blurs the lines between fact and fiction, presenting a captivating narrative that seamlessly blends U.S. Navy memoir, sci-fi, and biblical elements. Set against the backdrop of John's journey to become a Navy pilot and navigate the complexities of war, love, and premonitions, the book unfolds as a hard-to-believe true story. The author, drawing inspiration from personal experiences, shares encounters with extraterrestrial crafts, adding a unique dimension to the narrative. The final section takes a whimsical turn into a sci-fi and biblical exploration, culminating in the return of God, Adam, and Eve to Earth.

Author John Selman has crafted a truly ethereal and immersive reading experience, offering a glimpse into the challenges and extraordinary moments of his life alongside some really powerful poetic and philosophical moments. The narrative's unique blend of genres is what makes it special. I was impressed by the crafting of the pace, layout, and organization of the chapters to make the story gel together and weave these elements seamlessly into the overall experience. I also really enjoyed the frankness of the narrative voice, as the author's candid storytelling makes for a compelling stream of consciousness and a thought-provoking read that you don’t want to put down. Overall, I would recommend Letters to Evelyn for readers interested in personal narratives, military memoirs, and speculative fiction who are looking for a truly unique mix of influences and genres to explore.