A Book Review From My High School English Teacher

I’m always quick to tell folks that I learned how to write from a collection of incredible high school English teachers. What they taught me in my adolescent years still shapes the words I craft today. I think about their lessons often and fondly recall how they helped me become a passionate writer. Their influence can be found in every chapter of my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf.

Recently, I was delighted to hear that one of my favorite teachers had not only picked up a copy, but also decided to write me a personal review. She delivered her comments to me via a visit to my mom’s salon where she still gets her hair done. When reading her elegant notes, I had a flashback to all the papers she graded for me in the past. It was good to see that handwriting again.

Below are her comments as transcribed from the note she left for me. I think it’s the best book review I could have ever hoped for. I enjoyed her comments so much that I thought it would be fun to share them.


I took your advice and read your book in bits & pieces. Since I will lend my copy to others, I didn’t want to write my comments on the pieces themselves, so Ill just jot notes to you here…

Loved your introduction, especially the first sentence. Nice little tease at the end too. Then I went to the poetry. Imagine that, “Daylight Savings Swings” was my favorite. “How I Got Hooked on Golf” also spoke to me — intro and conclusion framed it so well. Loved the focus on your relationship with your grandfather. The dedication to your daughter Winnie with Chapter 10 about fatherhood was great. Talking about her with your mom is such fun!

The nine virtues you spoke about in your first chapter made me think about how they are also the ones needed for a successful life. One thing I noticed reading through all the pieces was the figurative language you used, like in “One Last Walk.” Mmmm…maybe you are a poet after all.

Your “On Common Ground” piece made me tear up. It was so beautiful. Maybe that’s just the mama in me. I’m sure your brother loves it as well.

“A Simple Game for Trouble Times” was a great conclusion for the book. “Our times may be troubled, but we have to avoid the convenience of isolation.” Wow! ” We must choose to lean in and engage with one another.” Yes, indeed. Engage with our animals like Leon as well, right?

Chapter 8 shows a lot about you and your priorities. It’s nice that you can have a “club in my hand and hope in my heart” all in your own back yard.

“Braggadocios”? Did you make that word up?

Chapter 11 had such great ideas in your strategic plan.

Glad to see the hangover at the Ocean Course didn’t completely dismantle you.

As you noted on page 83, I hope you’ll continue to play “fun, faster, freewheeling, and far from caring too much about the score.” You know my writer self like the alliteration( remember that?) in this sentence.

I enjoyed seeing the connection between golf and technology that led you to the Shindig. Sounds like money well spent.

Jay, I could definitely see that you have found your voice in this book. So glad I got to read it. You did a fine job of writing it.


— Sharon

Writing my first book reminded me of so many things that I learned from teachers like Sharon. I hope what I published has made her and others proud.

If you liked Sharon’s review, you might enjoy reading the book in full. You can pick up a copy at the link below.