By: Richard Scharine
Published by: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: July 10, 2021
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: March 29, 2022
America, even though we all get sick and tired and worried on a daily basis, still proves to be that location that allows us to be free, enjoy the variety of people all around us, and learn to live, laugh and cry while doing so. Look back on the documentaries if you don’t believe me. Look back in the history books, while also seeing us make “new” history every day. No. This particular book is not a documentary; nor is it a memoir or biography. This book is pure and utter entertainment with stories that are both fact and fictional. They are stories that bring us back to days where we stood up for something and fought for it. It brings us back to eras that taught us lessons in life, and it allows us to follow a genuine, fun, memorable couple as they walk their own life path through 12 stories, spanning five decades, and covering four continents.
There is no boredom when it comes to this book whatsoever. The narrator begins with a charming story that tells readers about his mother, Margaret’s, people. He speaks about how they emigrated from Ireland during the Great Potato Famine. Great grandmother was exiting church one day when a man rode down the street and stopped his bike in front of her, offering her a ride. Since it was the first bicycle she’d ever seen, she ditched ‘social’ rules and regulations, tucked up her skirt, and rode on the handlebars, making the rest of the congregation basically gasp. The narrator tells us that whenever he thinks of his family emigrating to this country, he thinks of that specific story and envisions that wonderful great grandma tucking her skirts, climbing on the prow of a large ship and finally setting eyes on, yes, the promised land. I have to say, I fell in love with great grandma the second I finished reading page one, knowing for a fact that the entirety of this family was most likely going to be filled with wit, charm, and a passion for experiencing life. I was not disappointed.
Author Richard Scharine opens the doors for everyone to meet up with the narrator’s kin, from his father’s father to his fantastically sarcastic Great Aunt Alma. I ended up wanting to have coffee with Great Aunt Alma very badly. She hit on the nail on the proverbial head with everything she stated, and came across as the “best friend” everyone would love to call their own.
Continuing for twelve interconnecting stories, the narrator takes our hands and we walk with a young couple through some of the most colorful times this world has ever seen. From political changes and upheavals to sexual revolutions to the rise of Civil Rights, and bringing children into the world, Scharine showed it all to us. Self-discovery was occurring on a daily basis, but even when emotions ran deep, there was no “overkill” of grief or pain—the author kept it all balanced perfectly throughout the entire journey. I was riveted to learn more about the Arts, Hiroshima in ‘64 – everything I thought I knew a ton about, I became even more interested when seeing the subjects through the points of view told here. I also loved watching the world unfold across a time period I wasn’t even alive for, to a time period now that involves “virtual” technology and “falling in love” over the Internet.
After reading The Past We Step Into, I feel like my batteries are recharged; it reminded me that no matter the bleakness of a time period (COVID-19, anyone?) the one thing that will always remain is hope.
Quill says: You will not want The Past We Step Into to come to an end! Enjoy!
For more information on The Past We Step Into, please visit the author's website at: https://rscharine.com