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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Over the Next Horizon: In Retrospect is a nonfiction memoir, which includes a collection of short fiction and nonfiction articles, written by Brian D. Ratty. Ratty is a published nonfiction and fiction author with a special interest in history; he’s also a retired media executive, publisher, and a graduate of the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography. This lifelong Oregon coast resident shares his memories of the war effort as a young boy, watching the shipbuilding that took place in nearby Astoria, Oregon and dreaming of a future where he would be a Navy pilot like the ones he’d see at the Astoria Airport where his father worked. Ratty was a paperboy, starting from when he was twelve years old, and he shares the strangeness of getting up at 4:AM to start his route and the agony of spending his weekend time trying to collect from his customers. After his own military service, the author returned to Oregon and settled into domestic life with a wife and a job as a milkman. His realization that he could be one of those older, disillusioned milkmen twenty years in the future gave him the determination to follow his long-held dream of being a photographer and working in media. Within a week of that decision, he was on his way south to California to study at the Brooks Institute.
Brian D. Ratty’s nonfiction memoir, Over the Next Horizon: In Retrospect, had me hooked from his first chapter on the Tillamook People. Ratty is a gifted communicator whose love of history, especially the history of his beloved Oregon coast, is evident in each of the historical articles and works of fiction found within this book. His memoirs are marvelous and evoke a poignant sense of mid-twentieth century Americana as he shares his first day of school, his paper routes and the effect of WWII on American lives. There’s a particularly hilarious account of his father’s quirky sense of humor and the prank he played on a guest during one of the couple’s parties. I loved benefiting from Ratty’s insights into and knowledge of the local Native American cultures that once flourished along the Oregon coast. Ratty’s fishing articles are also a delight, especially his story of the trip he took with the “catch and release” fly fisherman down to New Zealand, and his salmon fishing experiences up in Alaska. Ratty’s writing style is smooth and conversational, making reading his stories and memoirs feel as though he’s speaking directly to the reader. He’s got a lot to share, and it’s all good. Over the Next Horizon: In Retrospect is most highly recommended.