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Reviews Of You Speak For Me Now

Unique yet relatable and a thought provoking read. Must read!

By Seetha E.    Reviewed in India on December 31, 2023

Sandy Graham's book "You Speak for Me Now" is a powerful read that is sure to evoke strong emotions in its readers. The unique and relatable premise, along with the primary protagonists, make for an engaging story. Additionally, the supporting characters, such as Peter, teacher Roy, Tom Postman, Cathy, Sally, Charlie, Tommy, and Annie, add depth and complexity to the plot.

As you read through the book, you will be prompted to reconsider the role of government, governance, and the power that comes with voting rights. The plot twists are thrilling, making it a real page-turner. Furthermore, the writing style is simple and clear, which makes it an even more enjoyable read.

The plot twists are captivating, making it a true page-turner.

The writing style is simple and immensely engaging.

By Seetha E., Premium Reviewer, Online Book Club    November 21, 2023

Emma Simon is deaf and lives in a world of silence. Johnny McEwan's world revolves around music. Emma is an introvert, while John is an extrovert. Emma has a strong character and keeps her inner conflicts to herself, whereas John thrives in a crowd. Emma is a keen observer who responds only after thoroughly examining all aspects, while John is highly opinionated and tends to jump to conclusions. Despite their seemingly opposite personalities, these intelligent and attractive classmates grew to become a couple who perfectly complimented each other.

They started a thriving business at a very young age and eventually got married. However, John's strong opinions and unafraid nature to voice them out landed him on the wrong side of the politically powerful groups. Soon, the family got dragged into the mess, and what was once a flourishing business began to suffer. The marriage also started to crumble, and surviving another day was a challenge.

Will Johnny McEwan pursue his aspiration of liberating America or abandon it for his family? Will Emma be his rock of support, or will she flee the sinking ship to salvage what is left of her family? How does the role reversal mentioned in the description find a footing in this plot? You can find out by picking up a copy of You Speak for Me Now, written by Sandy Graham.

This novel takes you on an emotionally gripping journey through a meticulously crafted plot featuring John, a strong-willed character who sets out to tackle real-world issues. Against the backdrop of present-day situations, the story is incredibly thought-provoking. The world is rife with discrimination based on race and gender. Wars are fought for land rather than the people who live on it. The economic disparity allows a rich minority to dominate the world at the expense of the remaining majority, who can barely make ends meet. These aspects act as motivation for the actions of each character. These motivations will make the reader reassess their priorities while voting for a leader. This book also highlights the role of social media and mass media in influencing citizens. Peter’s character is endearing. The author’s writing style succeeds in eliciting emotions, evoking happy and sad tears in several instances.

The strength and courage of the characters to stand up against what is wrong make this an inspiring read. You will be forced to rethink the role of the government, the concept of governance, and the power held by people who can vote. The plot twists are captivating, making it a true page-turner. The writing style is simple and immensely engaging.

It was an added delight that the book had just two minor errors, which did not distract me. I can confidently say that the editors have done an amazing job. I do not have anything negative to say about this book. Hence, I feel justified in awarding it a perfect rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

I would recommend this well-paced novel to all mature readers who enjoy fiction. It is emotional and thought-provoking. This book is not suitable for young readers due to the presence of profanity.

  An enormously engaging romance with strong political underpinnings

By David Reyes, The Book Commentary    December 18, 2022

An enormously engaging romance with strong political underpinnings, You Speak for Me Now by Sandy Graham takes readers on a rollicking ride as they follow an unlikely couple in the struggle to survive against the odds. John McEwan is an outspoken man who is in love with Emma Simon, a deaf, introverted character. John McEwan's involvement in political activities earns him fierce enemies, forcing him and Emma to live in seclusion. With mounting vicissitudes, can their love survive?

Sandy Graham has written a story that is rooted in realism, crafting scenes that reflect the challenges of contemporary Americans and offering an honest exploration of social issues and statuses. It is a fascinating romance set against the chaotic political and social backdrop of today's American world. The characters are finely drawn, and from the opening paragraph, readers instantly get a unique portrait of Emma, a character that is flawed and struggles to get her thoughts out. ''It began when the teacher reading a roll call heard no response to her name. He looked up and told her to say “present” when he saw her raised hand. She signalled her deafness with gestures.'' This romance that spans decades examines this character's resilience and grit as she struggles to rise above her handicap. The couple is really unusual — a deaf person in love with someone musically gifted. You Speak for Me Now sparkles with elegant writing and engaging dialogues, a story that breaks, soothes, and uplifts the human heart. It is a mesmerizing emotional rollercoaster.

  Puts readers through an emotional rollercoaster while at the same time emphasizing music’s ability to heal and bring people together

By Sandra Guerra-Cruz    March 29, 2022

In his new novel “You Speak For Me Now,” Emma and John, a young couple, risk their marriage, their business, and their lives to speak out against inequality, racism, and fascism.

Emma Simon is a brave but introverted deaf woman of color and John McEwan is an extrovert with a passion for politics and singing. When they meet in the seventh grade, John is immediately smitten, proving that opposites do attract. Not only do they find happiness in marriage, but as business partners. They create an app – Sign-Talk, as a way to give deaf people a way to talk to everyone. As the popularity of the app grows, so does John’s public persona. While promoting Sign-Talk on national TV, John turns the conversation into a discussion about politics. He is quickly targeted by a popular conservative commentator who uses his platform and social media following to attack John’s views and his family. John becomes embroiled in this battle and drags Emma in with him. Forces against them turn violent, driving them into seclusion, tearing them apart, and destroying their rapidly growing company. In a world torn between democracy and dictatorship, can America survive the onslaught of authoritarianism and become once again a beacon of democratic leadership? In a dramatic role reversal, Emma reveals how a strong individual can rise in the face of crises.

Romance novels usually have a happy ending when a couple finally ends up together. Rarely do they expand the narrative to include a lifetime of ups and downs and unexpected surprises that come along the way. This is what makes “You Speak For Me Now” a more realistic account of one couple’s struggles and victories. Emma and John’s story is not a typical ‘happily ever after’ account and is both heart warming and heart breaking. Mr. Graham puts readers through an emotional rollercoaster while at the same time emphasizing music’s ability to heal and bring people together. It is an easy read and the action is mostly dialogue driven and since the story spans decades, the character development is excellent. It is worth mentioning that politics and social issues, such as income and race inequalities, as well as the current state of affairs in the United States plays a big part in the story which will no doubt elicit strong reactions, depending on the reader’s political leanings. Regardless, the book’s underlying message of unity and the need for peace and understanding stands out. “You Speak For Me Now” is a must read novel of love and courage in the midst of life’s toughest moments and is recommended for readers who enjoy romance and political fiction.

“Regardless of our political leaning, liberal or conservative, we must come together to right our ship, to return to morality, integrity, and mutual respect.”

  At times I felt real anger, sadness, and empathy. I laughed, and I cried—a lot.

By B. Creech, Premium Reviewer, Online Book Club     March 20, 2022

John and Emma met in high school. Since Emma had come from a school for the deaf, she had a hard time fitting in with the other students and doing classwork. Emma would know the answer to a class question but couldn't communicate it to the teacher. John realized what was happening, and he secretly took lessons in sign language and began to sign the classroom questions to Emma, who would sign the answers back to John. Eventually, John and Emma fell in love. While in college, Emma got an idea to add signing to smartphones to replace texting for the deaf. She and John formed a company called Sign Talk, and it went viral. They got married and had a son named Peter. Peter was a child prodigy when it came to music. He could sing and play the piano with no lessons by the time he was four. He also composed a few songs before he was seven years old. After John's interviews on television shows about his political opinions, Peter and John would sing to end the shows. Democratic Party officials approached John to run for Congress due to his solid political stand. That is when John and Emma's life turned upside down.

Sandy Graham is a talented author, and it showed in so many ways in his book You Speak for Me Now. He writes in a manner that pulls you in emotionally and holds you there throughout the book. At times I forgot the story was fiction. The character development is outstanding. I felt an instant connection to the characters from the beginning. I experienced so many emotions as I read this book. At times I felt real anger, sadness, and empathy. I laughed, and I cried—a lot.

My favorite aspect of the book was Peter. A little boy with talents more considerable than imaginable for a four-year-old, and he wasn't shy about displaying them. He was intelligent beyond his years and seemed to have a unique ability to sense how people felt, especially his dad. He played the piano without any initial lessons and composed a song, with words and melody, to sing to his dad while John was in a coma. His character touched my heart. Another of my favorite parts was how Emma learned to talk after she had cochlear implants. John had been the speaker and singer in the family, but their roles reversed while he was in a coma. Emma started doing the speeches, and when John woke up, he could only hum to the music when Peter sang.

What I didn't like about the book was the political side. Current issues were the political part of the story. I felt the book favored one political party and blamed the other one for all the problems we have in the country today. I would have given the book a top rating for the many vital messages on global warming, voter fraud, the importance of family, and unity in our country. However, there were enough errors in the book to cause me to have to take away one point.

You Speak for Me Now by Sandy Graham is an excellent book. It has suspense, action, tenderness, and much more. Any reader will find it captivating whether they agree with the political side or not. The book is exciting, emotional, and challenging and deserves the highest rating. However, I have to give it 3 out of 4 stars. Because most of the errors were typos, I still believe the book had professional editing. This book is suitable for ages fourteen and up, as there is very minimal cursing and no sexual content. I recommend this book to those who love an emotional read and those who enjoy books about politics.

Author Comment: The reviewer kindly provided a list of ten typo/missing word errors found. All are now corrected and another pass through the story has revealed no others. I deliberately abuse the English language within dialog at times to make it reflect what the character might say. For example, a toddler says his Dad is getting "loster" and an Austrian music teacher uses grammar reflecting a Germanic influence. Also, some unnecessary words are removed from sentences being signed rather than spoken in order to give the impression they are signed.

  Thought-provoking novel that is thoroughly involving and enlightening.  

By D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.     December 7, 2021

You Speak for Me Now introduces young Emma Simon, who is trying to fit into a normal classroom environment after years of attending a school for the deaf. She's entering her teens as a stranger and oddity in a classroom filled with students have shared hearing abilities, but she's also a minority girl of color navigating a sea of possible prejudice.

However, class leader and kind extrovert Johnny McEwan recognizes her as a fellow soul, right away: "Humility came from an empathy that invariably led him to stand up for the less fortunate. That first day, Emma struck him as one of them. Discussing her with his mother introduced him to the world of sign language and like learning to play the piano, he made mastering it a project."

Therein lies the key to changing not just class dynamics, but Emma's life, making it both inclusive and connected in ways she couldn't have envisioned in her years in a school for the deaf.

As Emma traverses 11th grade and grows into adulthood, the support and struggles she experiences in childhood blossom into unexpected controversy as she becomes embroiled in social and racial issues.

Did she deliberately plot to have a US citizen murdered, or was she the victim of a man who tried to kill her?

You Speak for Me Now holds many unexpected twists and thought-provoking moments that move beyond a story of prejudice or a young deaf woman integrating into society—and that's part of its charm.

Sandy Graham could all too easily have made this a predictable story about integration issues. Instead, he creates a masterful inspection of "the American Way" and various challenges to its institutions that arise from clashing perspectives and social strife.

As violence escalates and issues of moral and ethical choices enter the picture, readers are treated to a milieu in which Emma becomes the focal point of social controversy.

Graham's ability to depict his character as representative of the tragedies that divide Americans and challenge hearts, souls, and values creates a story that operates on many levels.

His ability to begin with the nexus of personal experience and perspective and work outward to embroil Emma in the types of social issues that confront Americans today makes for a thought-provoking novel that is thoroughly involving and enlightening.

Collections strong in fictional representations of American cultural and social struggles will find in You Speak for Me Now a powerful story of interconnected lives, ironic twists, and democratic challenges that move from the personal to the political and back again in a compelling, thought-provoking manner.

  A masterfully crafted tale that is wise, yet sad, when we look at the daunting prospect that America may end up like the decline of the Roman Empire. 

By Norm Goldman, Reviewer, Author Interviewer, Publisher, and Editor of      December 7, 2021

Sandy Graham has created a novel using a story format to unleash his frustration regarding the threat to democracy the United States is now encountering.

Graham’s You Speak For Me Now seamlessly weaves a compelling narrative of human resilience and courage featuring three characters, Emma Simon, an African American, who is deaf, Johnny McEwan, a musician, and their toddler son, Peter. The characters first engage the reader’s curiosity, then affection.

Emma and John meet in the seventh grade. They were opposites in many aspects. Emma is introverted, while John is extroverted. Both are exceptionally astute, have sharp senses of wit, and are physically attractive.

Over the years, their friendship strengthens, leading to love and ultimately marriage.

Growing up, Emma was also engaged in computer programming, which prompted her to invent an app called Sign-Talk for deaf people to empower them to communicate with everyone. Emma and John set up a business to market and sell Sign-Talk, which becomes quite profitable.

The pivotal theme of the story is introduced within the initial few pages when John, while in class, questions who actually won the American Civil War?

It is his unwavering conviction that, notwithstanding what the history textbooks inform us, the Confederates won. The Union may have won battles, but not the war.

He pens a class report to justify his stand, where he stresses that the war is nevertheless continuing on and has extended to the northern states.

According to John, “It’s really about those who control wealth fighting against change. In the south, it was rich landowners holding down black and poor whites. It’s spread to Tea Party resistance to change with essentially the same goal. Radical conservatives employ propaganda, character assassination, and intimidation. They use the power of Congress to further goals of a very vocal minority.” Sound familiar? And as one of John’s teachers summarizes: “John has put his finger on one of the most fundamental issues facing society today, the conflict between authoritarian leaderships hoarding wealth and universal welfare and happiness.”

To advance his convictions regarding the peril that the United States is gradually sinking, John takes to social media and personal appearances, employing his musical skills as a songwriter to warn people of the destructive effects that emerge when unchecked economic power rests in the hands of a few individuals and corporations.

It doesn’t take long when John is approached to run for Congress for the Democrats. At first, he hesitates, but eventually, he agrees to run. Unfortunately, his first foray into politics proves to be quite a challenge, both physically and psychologically. His house is burned down and his relationship with Emma is at a low point. Nonetheless, this does not stop John from trying again, placing him and his family in extreme peril which almost costs them their lives.

While plenty happens in the tale, the message communicated through its characters’ mouths is the vehicle for a wake-up call of how the United States is at a pivotal crossroad in its history. Graham portrays a society where a good chunk of its citizens is indifferent or naive of corporate power’s dangers that no longer respond to state controls. Where a modest group seizes power and manipulates everyone to enrich themselves. Where economic inequality is one of the notable causes of polarization.

Where steps taken threaten to make us all poorer,unhealthier, more undernourished, less informed and less able to vote universally. Parallels to the Nazi movement in the 1930s are inescapable.

Storytelling has long been a valued mode of communication. Graham with You Speak For Me Now realizes that the most effective way to influence and inspire people is to tell a story. It is a way to get inside the heads of people. In a way it moves them into a place where they can trust the storyteller. Simply reciting boring facts can rarely sway people. These can easily be twisted and manipulated.

In the end, Graham gives his readers a masterfully crafted tale that is wise, yet sad, when we look at the daunting prospect that America may end up like the decline of the Roman Empire.

  An up-to-the-minute fictional look at the state of American politics 

By The Cyberlibtariancom     November 29, 2021

You Speak for Me Now is an up-to-the-minute fictional look at the state of American politics through the eyes of a couple and their young son. John and Emma were high school sweethearts, overcoming many odds, including race and disability, to marry and develop a successful business. John becomes enamored with the possibility of becoming a politician, causing a great deal of anxiety to their relationship. Ultimately, John becomes a liberal media sensation, and the target of a conservative commentator.

...Spoiler removed...

Interestingly, the story is told almost entirely through dialogue, which I discovered was a little difficult to wade through. I found myself getting lost in the dialogue in much the same way that I can get lost in too much background description.

Ultimately, You Speak for Me Now is a polemic disguised as a novel. While I agreed with most of John’s political aspirations and political viewpoints, the book ended up being too tedious for me. Specific readers, however, will probably be satisfied with Graham’s work.

I am intrigued with the author, Sandy Graham, and his journey to express his political viewpoints through his novels. Here is his website. Also an interview with reviewer, Norm Goldman. I was sent the book via his publicist. I admire Graham’s initiative and the enjoyment he gets from his writings.