Letters from Ceilia


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Book by Jim Freeman
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5.5" x 8.5" (14 x 22 cm)


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Barkley Press
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Ceilia Lybrand has it all, a design career that’s bringing her money and recognition, along with a live-in stockbroker jock boyfriend. Life is good, or so it would seem. The chance finding of a company document on the copy machine sets her on a path of both self and career assessment that turns her life upside down, bringing her face to face with who she is and testing her willingness to put it all on the line.

Support is half a world away in an almost accidental and continuing e-mail exchange with someone she’s never met, close as her keyboard and as distant as a voice in the night.

Letters from Ceilia touches on issues successful women would rather avoid looking at, much less confront. Like most career women on the rise, Ceilia approaches her life and work with female emotions, despite the fact that she lives in a world largely defined and run by men.

Through her correspondence, we get an intimate look at Celia’s psyche. Searching for strengths and struggling to survive, she puts her relationship and career at risk.

But is it worth it?

Reader Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars From the start, you must know how it will end..., July 13, 2012
This review is from: Letters from Ceilia (Paperback)
Although the idea of a male writer in his 70's attempting to understand the turmoil of a female professional in her mid 20's made me reluctant to start Letters from Ceilia, I found it an instantly engaging story. Freeman's representation of Ceilia and her inner world shows his deep awareness of the female psyche and the insecurities that exist even in the most ambitious and professional of young women.

The hardships Ceilia faced at the office and in her personal life because of strictly enforced gender roles are something that any woman who has 'gone out there and lived a little' has likely experienced. Regardless of education, talent and professional ability, there are men and women who continue to belittle female capabilities. Not only that-all too often, male superiors attempt to blur the lines between professionalism and their own sexual desires and believe that they are in the right.

Freeman tackles this issue in an easy to read story that is difficult to put down. Ceilia's ability to put all she knows and is comfortable with on the line in order to 'do what is right' and maintain her dignity is empowering, enraging, and just plain fun to read. And her intuitive use of technology just makes you want to say, ' you go girl!'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Letters from Ceilia, June 2, 2012
This review is from: Letters from Ceilia (Paperback)
Letters from Ceilia showed up in my hands rather serendipitously but with perfect timing. Maybe it was not the timing but perhaps the way the author conceived Ceilia and revealed her story to the reader that made the book relevant to me on so many levels. I was not only at a point of seeking answers to many of life's questions but really still looking for the questions to ask and there was Ceilia asking them for me. It is said that no two people ever read the same book and I think it is also true that a book cannot be read twice the same way and thus this review stands at an intersection of time, myself and Letters from Ceilia.

Briefly acquainted with the plot from the blurb, I approached the book very hesitantly. What with a guy trying to write about how a woman feels and acts in situations that perhaps do not have one to one correspondence in the male world. Of course, Jim Freeman was not the first to do so, but my only other prior experience with that "phenomenon" came from literature now deemed classic. From a contemporary author, it felt like something begging to be challenged. I examined every word and thought under a microscope hoping to catch him tripping over his own sentences as he tries to infiltrate the female psyche. But in its stead I wound up wondering if he might have been standing outside my bedroom window or peering in through the drapes of my soul.

Although I found some of the"feminist" points in the main story line a little hard-driven, Letters from Ceilia's side themes presented truly human moments with much more subtlety. This subtlety is channeled via language that is part familiar and part suprising, comfortable yet furthering one along a line of exploration.

The novel's plot could be easily spelled out, it is a story after all, but its real value lies with its underlying focus on knowing one's worth and acting in accordance with it. For some characters there is a triumphant journey, while with others we can only sympathize and feel the tragedy of not ever being able to glimpse their own worth.