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Reviews Of You Speak For Me Now


  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 Bookpleasures.com      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.

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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.