(Some edited for brevity and clarity.)
“Brian, I just want to thank you for writing such an amazing book! I have not laughed out loud as much as I did reading your book! I still can not tell you my favorite part because it’s the whole book! Laughter and tears, it made me remember so much of our home! Thank you! God Bless!” –Bridgotte Keith
“Brian I finished the book and loved it! You are a crack up! I love your style of writing, the way you worded things was hilarious. The story referencing my step brother was pretty funny too. Gave you a great review, hope it’s a huge seller. I already called my best friend from Coco Solo, my sister and mother and told them they had to buy it!” -Dawn Rega Solar
“I have never been a fan of what I call “Prescription Fiction”. I am always drawn to the emerging author and I am rarely disappointed. It doesn’t matter where, when or who the story is about.. a new author has lived and breathed their story for a very long time before it ever makes it into print. Such is the case with Brian W. Allen’s “Paradise Lost” Misadventures to manhood in the Panama Canal Zone. I was pulled in right away and charmed by Brian’s voice. Folksy, humorous, tender and insightful are just a few adjectives that come to mind. I truly was laughing one minute and tearing up with emotion the next. Brian’s journey from boyhood to manhood is the real story here. The setting in the former Panama Canal Zone, with all its historical references, pictures and even recipes is just icing on a very good cake.” – Debra Boswell Sanders
“Just finished reading your book and having lived in Coco Solo, Gatun ,Margarita and knowing many of the people made it very interesting. Very well written and should be enjoyed by all..” – Vernon Mott
“You book is inspirational! Great stuff” – Skip Berger
“You certainly were living in paradise in that picture with a grin on your face surrounded by four beautiful bikini clad women, and one sitting on your head. I finished the book in two days, and have been showing it to friends. My wife has watched me giggling and laughing out loud while reading, and my partner Joe had a belly laugh (unusual for him as he has a great sense of humor but has dry chuckles and never a belly laugh). I learned a lot from your observations and research, observant, accurate, honest and fair. A chef friend of mine from Venezuela was intrigued by the smothered iguana recipe, and may add the mangoes in vinegar to his salad menu.
The chapter about Steve talking you out of enlisting was brilliantly poignant. I could give you a longwinded critique of praise: It was written just as it should have been…a labor of love.
Peace and Love Bro.” –Mike Snider
“I have loved every moment of My Paradise Lost and have really been trying to stretch it out because I don’t want it to end! I love the memories it has brought back, and your experiences, and pics of Bev, Lori and Stu when they were little…you have done an outstanding job on so many levels, Brian. Thank you!” -Nora Ruble Hope
“Brian..just to let you know that I bought your book and absolutely love the book. It brought back so many memories of being a Zonie and a teacher at CHS. Well done and look forward to reading other books by you!” -William Shank
“I received my book today, Brian! My husband and I are fighting over it! haha. (Since its Valentine’s day, we are taking turns) I’m so glad you saran wrapped the book. It looks like the USPS was enjoying a red soft drink that covered the outside packaging. Thank you! Gotta run…it’s my turn again.” -Nora Ruble Hope
“Ugh…the feeling I have on the last chapter of a good book; My Paradise Lost. Don’t stop writing Brian Allen. Sugarcane, saw grass, maids, coconuts….reading my paradise lost…on my kindle and revisiting my childhood home. Thank you Brian you have left my children and grandchildren a glimpse into what was my paradise/home.” -Beth Snider Hutchinson
“Brian, received the book 2 days ago and finished it last night. Wonderful read. I especially liked the chapter on the NIC. I sat in front of Zip in drafting class that year and got to hear all the race stories. I even went down one afternoon and watched them practice and they let me get in the NIC and paddle around. An experience a young freshman will never forget.
Unfortunately, Dad was one of those Special Forces troopers you talk about in the book and we left the CZ in July of ’76. ( We were there from 66-68 and 71-76). We moved to New Mexico, Texas, and Florida over the next 3 years. Playing football at CHS in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades in Panama allowed me to be tough enough to go on and start all 3 years in football in those other places, but I’ll always remember CHS as “my” high school. It is the only school were I still stay in touch with old classmates.
I went back to Panama in 1993 while stationed in the Navy. My uncle still lives there and he showed me around the old haunts. The changes I saw were heart breaking.
Congratulations on your book. It bought back wonderful memories of the 8 years I lived there. You are correct, it was definitely a “PARADISE LOST”. I compared your prose to that of Mark Twain’s TOM SAWYER and enjoyed many of the same experiences you had as a young lad there. I wish you much success and thank you for writing this book.” -Aloha Nui Loa, Hap Belisle