Life Shattered Videos

Reviews Of Life Shattered

  It Takes a Village to Overcome Adversity.  

By Gerry Steen    Reviewed in Canada on February 25, 2024

How does one overcome bullying in high school? How does one become a test pilot in the RCAF? Can love conquer all? This book answered these questions and more. I was filled with awe and inspiration by this story. Delbert overcame adversity with perseverance, appreciation for others, and by using his God-given talents. This book demonstrates how it it takes a "village" to help someone soar above and beyond.

  I felt like a part of the supportive community that was helping Delbert to excel. I was cheering for him.  

By Gerry Steen, Online Book Club    April 14, 2024

How do children manage to survive bullying in high school? What should be done to help gifted children avoid boredom and underachievement in high school? How does a person's mindset contribute to their likelihood of pursuing a career in engineering? Can high-school sweethearts dedicate their lives to each other and still have a full life? What are the requirements to become a test pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force? How can a university student participate in research projects? If you would like to learn the answers to these questions, you should read the book entitled Life Shattered by Sandy Graham.

Delbert Pillage had a miserable life in high school. His peers constantly teased him about his large and uneven ears, raggedy clothes, and frail body. The school bullies roughed him up, embarrassed him, and stole his lunches. Delbert’s family was living near the poverty line. Despite his miserable existence, Delbert had a few things going for him. He possessed a gifted brain and a unique way of thinking. A shy and lovely girl named Sylvia formed a friendship with him. And, he had a math teacher who recognized his abilities. This heartwarming story illustrates how Delbert overcame adversity and soared to new heights.

While reading this book, I learned about the University of British Columbia, scientific research projects, how a university can assist gifted students, how one can become a test pilot for the RCAF, and how love can conquer all obstacles. Sandy Graham created realistic characters that the reader could believe in. As I read, I felt like a part of the supportive community that was helping Delbert to excel. I was cheering for him. The technical information used to describe Delbert’s scientific research and his flying of jets lent authenticity to the story and illustrated the workings of Delbert’s gifted mind.

I enjoyed reading this positive story. Delbert took stock of his opportunities and expressed gratitude for the support he received. Graham created strong characters who were outliers. Each of them captivated my interest. The story emphasized the values of perseverance, doing one’s best, humbleness, appreciation, loyalty, and kindness. I enjoyed how the author provided insight into the main characters' thoughts, sharing their hopes, doubts, and opinions. I recommend this novel for readers 16+ who love historical fiction, science, technology, and romance. I couldn't find any aspects to dislike about this book. Therefore, I gave it a rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

  I loved how the story came full circle  

By Everydayadventure15, Online Book Club    June 15, 2022

Reluctant to reveal his intelligence, Delbert Pillage barely passes each grade. Yet, the skinny farm boy continues to be bullied by his peers despite his attempts to remain invisible. The gorgeous Sylvia Cairns secretly admires her tormented classmate but is too shy to stand up for him.

As Delbert and Sylvia begin their high school years, they finally have a chance to reveal their feelings for each other. But just as their relationship has a chance to blossom, a dedicated and well-respected math teacher discovers Delbert's intelligence. Delbert's unique way of thinking and his exceptional memory have the potential to take him far when he is offered an early start in the engineering program at the university. However, the further he's pulled into his studies, the less time he has for Sylvia. When an unthinkable tragedy occurs, Sylvia turns to a Sisterhood of nuns who protect her right to privacy and refuse to share her location. Despite his attempts to reach out to her, Delbert's letters remain unanswered. As his own life takes a tragic turn, will Delbert ever have a chance to reunite with the woman he loves?

Take the plunge into the emotional tale of Delbert and Sylvia in Life Shattered by Sandy Graham. While the book had a bit of a slow start, I appreciated how the author detailed the years of torment endured by Delbert. I found myself wanting to defend him from his vicious peers, and like his mother, I eagerly believed in his ability to succeed. It was easy to cheer for him as he began to step out and pursue his dreams at the university, and I loved the intriguing projects he worked on with his professors and colleagues. The author explained the technical details in an easy-to-understand manner, keeping Delbert's contributions interesting and exciting. Watching his transformation into a mature young man was fascinating. I also enjoyed his dedication to solving several intricate calculations for engineering problems that had stumped other professors and students.

The ending was my favorite part of the novel. I loved how the story came full circle, and I adored how much Delbert's status had changed in the end. There were some heart-wrenching moments in the final chapters, but Delbert remained a calm and admirable hero.

Sylvia's character was the part of the story that I liked the least. I felt she lacked any personality, and her descriptions focused only on her beauty. Characters described her as "angelic" and referred to her as a "goddess." Even the Catholic priests couldn't help make remarks about how desirable she was. The number of times men lusted after her or made cat-calls got a bit old even though few chapters featured Sylvia because the story's main focus remained on Delbert.

The weakness of Sylvia's character, which significantly diminished the romantic aspect of the story, reduced my enjoyment enough to lower the rating to three out of four. This young adult novel featured mild sexual content and occasional mild swearing. I would recommend this story to those who enjoy tales of overcoming adversity, romance, and aircraft technology. Delbert's education involved projects with experimental aircraft that were interesting and exciting. While this book is the first in a three-book series about Delbert, readers can enjoy this novel as a stand-alone story.

Reviews While Titled Two Loves Lost

  Really liked this book!  

By Liz    December 28, 2020

Really liked this book! This was a nicely paced story of the maturing of a quiet bullied Canadian boy into a kind, loyal and accomplished young man. I really didn't understand much of the word translation technology or the aviation information but it really didn't matter. What was conveyed was the genius and the passion that he had. Delbert was such a sympathetic character that I was devastated by his injury. All characters around him (but especially Sylvia and Bentwing) are engaging characters as well. It's an uplifting book that left me wanting to read more of his story.

 A good read! 

By S. Stone    August 9, 2020

First of all, I would like to thank Goodreads for giving me the opportunity to win, enjoy and review this book. The reason I gave it a 3 rather than a 4 was all of the technical and scientific information included. I had trouble understanding the physics and the logistics. The story of a couple, seemingly in love forever, until life separates them. Delbert has a brilliant mind, breezes through college and the pilot training for the Air Force, and goes on to ...remainder outlines the story plot and is removed as a spoiler alert.

 Excellent Work 

By Csimplot Simplot    May 20, 2020

Excellent work!!!

 Five stars 

By Mary    May 1, 2020

Enjoyed the storyline and read

 Good story with excellent research 

By John    October 2, 2017

I worked with the author years ago and know his engineering expertise first hand. This knowledge is a very important part of the book. He has developed really likeable characters and combined a love story with a credible engineering project that Delbert worked at UBC followed by his flight training and test pilot experience on the Arrow. Having had a career in aerospace both as a pilot and engineer, I really enjoyed the book and also recommend the second book in the series which has also has a great message.

 Great Book 

By ER    September 3, 2017

Very heart warming story. Keeps you engaged till the end! Would recommend it highly for a good read. Hope you enjoy

 Couldn't stop reading! 

By Van Karin    April 4, 2016

That was a great and well written (love / growing up) story in itself, but I liked especially the Salt Spring Island connection, since I used to live there once for a year. The description of the place (and of BC / Canada in general) in the 50ies brought back lots of memories, despite things happening in a different time.

 I really enjoyed this book!! 

By Leah Ewald    August 24, 2014

I really enjoyed this book!! I loved the characters they were easy to like!! I rooted for them through the whole thing! There were a couple parts in the book that got complicated because I don't know much about science or planes but the story was great!

 Grabbed at my heart immediately 

By Chris    July 8, 2014

I won this book on a Goodreads giveaway. First of all, the two main charachters in the story grabbed at my heart immediately. As one after another obstacle came in their way, I felt both would be robbed of their forever love and happiness. But it goes to show you, true love conquers all. Sandy Graham did a fantastic job of hooking you into the storyline. I highly recommend reading this book. And be prepared to drop everything you're doing as once you start this book, you'll not want to put it down.

 From Heart To Heart 

By Pandorasecho    July 7, 2014

I do not often find books with characters I enjoy getting to know as much as I enjoyed Delbert Pillage. From the time the novel introduces him as a shy, harassed genius of a child - he touched my heart. I told the author that I had received the book but I would not be able to read it this month as I will be busy. But I made the mistake of reading the first chapter. I often read a chapter to decide if a book is worth keeping around, and then put the book aside for later. There was no setting it aside. Sandy Graham has a simple and direct voice. He often tells scenes of great trauma or emotion in a few short lines of print. But simple does not apply to the characters he creates. In simple language he introduces people of depth and complexity and reality.

Delbert Pillage is not only a bullied child, he is strong and brilliant and determined and caring. He does everything better and knows more than anyone else but he isn't simply a comic book hero with a superpower. He is vulnerable and insecure and wonderful. I can't think exactly why he reminds me of Forest Gump but there is a similar feeling.

The love of his life, the parents he must deal with, the mentor and the villain are less fully realized characters but provide believable interactions for the backdrop of this story that goes beyond love story into history and aviation and delight.

Highly reccomend this book. In fact I suspect I have to read the sequel. And I better not read the first chapter before I get to the essential jobs in my own life.

 After I got into it I couldn't put it down 

By Don Watson    June 11, 2013

When I first started this book I thought Oh No I'm Not going to like this book, but after I got into it I couldn't put it down. I walked around the house saying I would just read 1 more chapter and then put it down but I couldn't put it down. In fact one night I got up in the middle of the night to see what was going to happen next and read 2 more chapters. I'm not real big on love stories but I loved this book. I am a big Avro Arrow fan and its obvious the author knows this subject well.

I really hope the author writes a follow up Novel on the Arrow that got away and I will be the first one to purchase a copy and get an update on Delbert & Sylvia, I rate this book with 2 thumbs UP.

Sandy this is the first time I have ever written a review on any book - Don Watson (Author of one of the other Arrow Books)

 A worthy read; could not put it down 

By Peter Morton   April 22, 2012

This is a novel of improbabilities; but it hangs together so well that you have to keep turning the pages. I put off reading it till I was on a business trip, and it cut severely into my sleep time. The development of the Delbert character from a misunderstood child into an almost superhuman genius takes place so gradually that the reader forms a strong attachment of sympathy and affection with the character. The love interest is played out with sensitivity and innocence, touched with tragedy. If the reader has any connection with technology, be that electronic, computing, or aeronautical, it will send you to Google to validate Delbert's amazing accomplishments in an era where the underlying science was just emerging in each of those fields. Perhaps the best aspect of the book is how it illustrates the value of love, empathy, and support in every person's development: if negative, or if positive; how it magnifies the potential of every life. Buy the book, you won't be sorry.

 Two Loves Lost rivets with a great deal of mixed emotions 

By Norman Goldman "Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures"   May 18, 2013

From the very first sentence and over the course of 300 pages, Sandy Graham's debut novel Two Loves Lost rivets with a great deal of mixed emotions.

As a scrawny youngster, Delbert Pillage was the target and victim of bullying from some of his classmates who would ridicule his physical appearance notably his ears, forehead and his torn clothes. Delbert was very shy, frail and poor and thus he became an easy target for incessant taunts. Unbeknownst to his parents, teachers and the other school kids, Delbert was in fact extremely talented. His teachers misjudged his ability, as he would only show enough to scrape through each year and they would constantly complain about his lethargic attitude in class. Little did they realize that Delbert's behavior was only a cover up to avoid further humiliation at the hands of the school's bullies.

Fortunately for Delbert, one of his talented teachers did recognize his superior intellect and was the catalyst in setting in motion a series of events that eventually would lead to far reaching ramifications concerning his life. However, although Delbert agreed to pursue the path carved out for him, he did so with a great deal of trepidation, as it meant being away for extended periods of time from his sweetheart Sylvia, whom he had known since the age of six and whom he had promised to marry. To give away or even provide any hint as to what became of their relationship would certainly be a betrayal.

Apart from bringing to the table a smorgasbord of themes as bullying, unrecognized gifted children, teenage love, and the tragic consequences of rape, Graham cleverly interweaves a backstory concerning Canada's finest aviation achievement, the production of the delta wing Avro Canada CF-105. It was at the height of the Cold War during the 1950s that the Soviets had introduced new long range bombers that had the ability to fly over the North Pole to attack North America. This was extremely serious for fear of a surprise nuclear attack. In 1953 Canada stepped forward to manufacture a delta-winged interceptor aircraft that was designed and built by Avro Aircraft Limited in Malton, Ontario. The aircraft was to serve as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) primary interceptor in the 1960s. Unfortunately, not long after the 1958 commencement of its flight test program, the development of the Arrow was abruptly and controversially halted and this led to a very long and bitter political debate. It also led to a serious brain drain that deeply affected the aviation and electronics industry in Canada.

Graham writes in a spare compact style sketching the life of a young teenager growing up, gaining confidence and coming to terms with his brilliance-something not to be ashamed of or hidden. Both adults and young adults will enjoy the suspense and unexpected twists and turns of the storyline, however, this is not to say that the novel is without its defects. For example, I would have liked to have seen more development of conflict particularly in the relationship between Delbert and Sylvia. In addition, Graham, influenced by his vast amount of experience in the Canadian and American aviation industry, has fallen prey to what the French term, "deformation professionnelle," or the over usage of technical terms and descriptions, and as a result, very little is really added to the development of the characters or the plot. Nonetheless, Graham still manages to weave a gripping yarn and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.