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Welcome to Litfuse Publicity’s Blog Tour for Real

Some are smooth, obviously well cared-for, the pigmentation even, the manicure flawless. Others are calloused, wrinkled or show age spots, the nails cracked and splintered. Some hold modern electronic gadgets, others grip more traditional tools with which they perform work, some bear the ravages of arthritis. Still others hold the fruits of their labor. One pair embrace a guitar, the musical instrument that provides peace and serenity in an otherwise chaotic world. Some are adorned with jewelry.

All represent the faceless individual whose life experience is spotlighted on the particular page opposite the collection of stunning photographs by Terilee Dawn Ouimette.

The unique premise of comes from the classic children’s story The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. Skin Horse tells the Veleveteen Rabbit:

Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you . . . Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

In a series of chapters focusing on Courage, Hope, Renewal, Work, Dreams, Balance, Wisdom and Acceptance, Inspiration, Purpose, Life, and Love, author Shelley Malcolm has amassed sixty profiles of individuals whose real life experiences serve as inspiration, entertainment, and testament to the values each of them holds dear. Collectively, Real is a moving tribute to the character traits embodied by those whose hands tell the stories of their lives, evincing their hard work, perseverance, and triumphs in the face of unimaginable adversity. Malcolm’s subjects come from all age groups and backgrounds, and include the wealthy and famous, as well as some who have known poverty and homelessness. Most are residents of the beautiful California Central Coast which encompasses the San Luis Obispo area. Malcolm resides in Shell Beach and is well-known for her philanthropic and artist contributions to the region.

I was immediately interested in the book when I learned that its focus would be upon the subjects’ hands and the various ways in which their hands reveal their lives. It is a perspective intricately intertwined with my memories of my father, who was an auto mechanic — a principled man with incredibly large, strong, capable hands. I watched the transformation of his hands after he retired. After years of being perpetually encased in grease stains, splintered by flecks of metal from the transmissions of Lincolns that he overhauled during the day, his nails bearing the tell-tale black line of dirt that he could never make fully disappear, my father’s hands gradually became soft and clean, his nails impeccably cared for. His wedding ring became a permanent fixture on his left hand for the first time in his life, and he would tease me if he ever assisted with a project that required him to dirty his then-pristine hands, feigning complaint and exaggerated annoyance. He was proud that he no longer wore the tell-tale signs of his work with him at all time. Like the hands of those depicted in Real, my father’s hands told the story of his own journey over the years as he segued from working diligently to feed and provide for his family to being a grandfather who enjoyed spending his days at home with his wife, and visiting with his daughters and the four grandsons he cherished more than life itself.

Real is a perfect book to pick up when you are feeling depressed or defeated. The short, but compelling summaries of the experiences of those featured on its pages help restore one’s hope and determination. Real would make an excellent holiday gift, especially in light of the fact that sales proceeds will be donated to several charities, including the Alzheimer’s Foundation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of Real free of charge from the author in conjunction with the Litfuse Publicity Group review and virtual book tour program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This disclosure complies with 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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