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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Review of Cowboys and Catalans



By MIKE McILVAIN
"Cowboys and Catalans"
iUniverse; on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and other major booksellers, $19.95.
Texan Charles L. Sizemore showed what a person can do for themselves and, potentially, their future in one year’s time in "Cowboys and Catalans."
Sizemore made a few mild errors, but otherwise wrote an outstanding travel literature book for a first-time author.
"Cowboys and Catalans" should be read by anyone who ever considered furthering their education overseas, or thought of sending their grown children there. "Cowboys" is smooth and flows, grabbing the reader and not letting go.
Sizemore makes a reader wish there was another adventure, another country, another girlfriend or another beer drinking buddy to read about.
Sizemore, a Texas Christian University graduate, finds his natural native Texan curiosity for Spain transforms into a love for that country through its people, its language, which he also speaks, and the food. Sizemore’s emotional draw to his Spanish friends and others from around the world adds to the emotional advantage this book has over numerous others in the same genre.
He said goodbye to his Spanish friends last, as the book was arranged, and it wasn’t easy.
"Before meeting each other we had reached a common point in which our lives had become stale. London had given us the fresh beginning we desperately craved, and now it would be time for another major change in my life.
"I had dreaded this moment since my arrival in Spain," he wrote. "It was more than a goodbye to two close friends; it was a sad reminder that the end of my escape was fast approaching. I grabbed Paula with my right arm and José Manuel with my left and gave them both a big Spanish abrazo before boarding my bus to San Sebastian."
Sizemore very wisely realized his unique situation when studying at LSE, living at the Barbican YMCA and traveling Europe. He said he did some work on the book while still overseas before returning to his financial world, and all the daily time-consuming trappings, which don’t allow much time to write a book.
Once in a rare while a book hits its reader right in his own neighborhood. Literally. Sizemore lived about half a mile from where I stayed in London during the 2001-2002 academic year, and I am sure we knew several of the same sites and establishments there and on the continent.
I can say with authority that Sizemore nailed the overseas higher education experience, which deems attention from the U.S. academic community, too.
The only major point Sizemore didn’t press was the cost, which despite the terrible exchange rate with the weak dollar against the almighty British pound, is still cheaper than most master’s degrees here in this country.

1 Comments:

At 8:45 PM, Blogger hb said...

Maybe you could get him to come with us on our 2007 reunion in London.

 

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