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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
To Every Page a Turning: One Life's Journey by Carl Buccellato is a memoir-like account of the life and spiritual journey of the author, from his childhood doo bop days in Brooklyn to his current retirement in Florida and all the dramatic hills and valleys in between. The book opens with a heavy battle scene in Vietnam and his disclosure of his emotional repression that leaves him feeling forever isolated from others, always looking out among strangers. This book seems to be his release from that lifetime of loneliness as he pores over long-abandoned writings discovered while clearing out odds and ends in an old filing cabinet. He writes of his Sicilian roots, the military experiences of his grandfather and father, making his way in the streets as a standup guy, a prizefighter, and then as a soldier.
Among the many intensely stirring vignettes of this piece is one about his brief but profound meeting with a nurse who is severely wounded and hauled away after a VC attack, only to reemerge many years later during a parade in NYC. There is a surprising twist to this reunion which I will leave for the reader to discover. Carl Buccellato also includes vignettes of Vietnam fighting buddies in the Special Forces and their later fates, leaving the author the last of the small band of brothers as he peruses their names in an emotion-evoking walk along the Vietnam War Memorial. My impression, though, is the value of lifelong 12-step groups and his eventual moment, when he feels a oneness with God during sunset, is the most salient message. Though not a religious recruitment piece, To Every Page a Turning is about the powerful connection the author has to a higher being and the peace their union gives. This stirring memoir has much to say about an American generation now slowly closing out its days. A wonderful book, truly moving.