Brothers in Arms

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
152 Pages
Reviewed on 06/14/2017
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Author Biography

Elan began writing his memoirs several years ago to document the events of his life. In his spare time, Elan participates in several support groups for families who are casualties of the prison system, and he also donates to animal rescue organizations. Known in his community as a person who always lends a helping hand, Elan today spends the majority of his time with his wife, Pamela, and his faithful companion, Guapo.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Wasabara: Brothers in Arms is an autobiography written by Elan Wasabara. The author made some mistakes as he was growing up. His childhood was dominated by his love of classical music and the close relationship he enjoyed with his mom. He did, however, fall into the trap of drugs as a young man and was taken advantage of by a dealer who used him as an unwitting transporter of heroin. Elan did clean up his act, became gainfully employed and was planning to marry his fiancee within a month when a knock on his apartment door signaled the start of a very difficult part of his life. Within just a few months of the expiration of the statute of limitations on any possible involvement with that dealer, Elan was arrested and offered a choice: cooperate with the feds or go to jail. When he realized that his cooperation would endanger his mom and his family, he chose to accept the mandatory plea offered -- which meant he’d be in jail for five years with supervision for four years thereafter. After his jail term was over, a time when many ex-cons succumb to the stress of reintegration into society and end up back in jail, Elan found an unusual ally in the most unexpected of places -- a shopping mall. He was drawn to the joy and exuberance displayed by the patrons of a pet store where puppies were on display. One puppy, a scrawny, snaggle-toothed boxer pup, snagged Elan’s heart, and they’ve been best friends ever since.

Elan Wasabara’s autobiography, Wasabara: Brothers in Arms, is an absorbing and inspirational memoir of the author’s survival of the harsh mandatory sentence that was the hallmark of the War on Drugs. Unlike so many others, who were never quite able to recover their lives after their experiences during their incarceration, Elan, with the loving assistance of his wife and his 'brother in arms,' Guapo, the boxer, not only stayed out of jail, but he’s prospered as an IT professional. Elan’s accounts of his time in jail are masterfully shared, especially his descriptions of the fellow inmates who gave him advice and counsel, and the books and authors who inspired him. His determination to learn and make something out of the time he was in prison is motivational and moving. This deceptively short autobiography manages to share so much of the author’s life and experiences after his incarceration, especially that part of the account which relates to Guapo and their adventures together. There are two heroes in this story, and reading about them was sheer delight. Wasabara: Brothers in Arms is most highly recommended.

Kayti Nika Raet

 Wasabara: Brothers in Arms by Elan Wasabara is a moving memoir about how the most unlikely of friendships sometimes ends up doing us the most good. Elan Wasabara adopts a two-month-old puppy on impulse and names him Guapo, Spanish for handsome. Wasabara himself is looking for a new start, something to propel him out of his past of substance abuse and jail time. A past that keeps sticking to him, despite his many attempts to shake it off. Guapo is a rambunctious dog at a pet shop and, though he's been passed over by the other patrons, for Guapo and Wasabara their connection is instant and long lasting. Touching and inspiring in its detail, Wasabara describes his life with Guapo, there every step of the way for him from job hunting during the recession to surviving Hurricane Sandy. Through it all, Wasabara shows a resilience of character and both man and dog are filled with with heart and determination.

I really enjoyed reading Wasabara: Brothers in Arms by Elan Wasabara. Wasabara himself is forthright writer and his memoir is filled with a crisp and concise narrative that manages to draw the reader in nonetheless. He doesn't sugar coat many of the more grittier aspects of his life nor does he glorify it, almost allowing the reader to be the judge. I enjoyed reading about Guapo and the unorthodox way he entered their lives. At the end of the memoir, Guapo is currently in his twilight years and as I finished I found myself hoping that he and Wasabara would continue to have more years together. Wasabara: Brothers in Arms by Elan Wasabara is great for dog lovers and those wishing to immerse themselves in second chance stories.

Janelle Alex, Ph.D.

Those who have gone through exceptionally difficult times in their lives need to know they are not alone. They need support, guidance and inspiration. Elan Wasabara has shared just that in his memoir, Wasabara: Brothers in Arms. Elan spent five years in federal prison for his involvement in drug dealing. Throughout his memoir, he shares his experience through a number of stories. Many people seem to realize that going back to living as a valuable member of society after being in prison is not necessarily a simple task. In fact, most suggest it is actually quite the opposite. Upon Elan's release, he found a job, but it didn't pay well, and he dealt with emotional issues surrounding that. He shares the story of how he found a much needed friend, or perhaps, how Guapo, an ugly-duckling of a boxer puppy, found him. His relationship with Guapo transformed both of their lives in a way that nothing else had.

Wasabara: Brothers in Arms is written in a way that gets straight to the point. It is well-written, but without a lot of colorful fluff. Even though it is straightforward, this memoir has a way of involving readers so they will want to keep turning pages. There are really two stories of love within the pages of this tale of imprisonment. In fact, there are numerous directions one can ponder imprisonment from Elan Wasabara's story. From the poor community he was raised in, to living a life surrounded by drugs and crime, to being trapped by the system, to Guapo being turned away due to his lack of superficial beauty. Wasabara: Brothers in Arms is a profound piece of work that needs to be shared with others, so they can recognize there is hope and how man's best friend can help them explore the full potential of their lives.