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My Life With Ewa: The Early Years is a happily-ever-after story about the author's courtship of his wife Ewa (pronounced EH-va), whom he met in the 1970s during a trip to Poland with a barbershop singing group from Iowa. (He was part of a Cold War program designed to teach Eastern Bloc countries about the virtues of democracy by sending groups of ordinary Americans to eastern Europe as good-will ambassadors.) As indicated by the publisher’s summary, it is hard to decide what genre this book falls into—is it a romance, a humorous coming-of-age story, a travel book, or a lighthearted autobiography? Actually, it’s some of all of these things, but whatever it is, it’s really fun.
Since I am frequently put off by the stilted performances of first-time authors who read their own books, I was pleased to discover that in addition to being an entertaining writer, Tim Pratt is also a gifted narrator. He’s not afraid to poke fun at himself, and he has a good-natured, I’m-just-telling-a-story delivery that is coupled with a willingness to sing and tackle foreign languages and accents. He handles it all with grace and style.
The book never failed to hold my attention, and at the end, I found myself wanting to know what happened next. Even if married life turned out to be a bit more mundane than the courtship (as it often does), Mr. Pratt seems to be one of those people that unusual things happen to. Or maybe it’s just that he’s a born storyteller with the ability to make sock lint sound interesting (think Bill Bryson). Either way, I’m hoping for a sequel.
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