Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times: A Memoir of One Citizen Activist appears in two editions: one in color and one in black and white. The colorful photo edition is being reviewed here, and is highly recommended reading for its engrossing story of how Lois Ann Nicolai moved from a 26-year marriage in Indiana that ended with her husband's sudden death to becoming an activist at age 50.
How this New Jersey girl came to be involved with community groups which built the foundations of the unexpected activist role she assumed later in life makes for engrossing reading as she returns to her New Jersey roots and spends years examining her life and its goals.
Her six adult children were surprised by her decision to move to Princeton to become involved in international relations and peacemaking. However, it was a logical progression to this point, as her memoir surveys her background, and led to some 20 years traveling around the world into 33 developing countries in the role of Citizen Activist.
Her inspirational story provides the insights others can utilize to make such changes in their lives. Although Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times is one individual's story, it also serves as a blueprint for seeing how personal involvement effects lasting change, providing inspiration to others at all stages of life who would build a better world for themselves, their children, and humanity.
Discussions of cultures and politics around the world are very nicely described and presume no prior knowledge about these places and peoples in order to prove engrossing.
Although the black and white version was not seen, the power of the color prints in this title is outstanding and are part of what lends a compelling immediacy to Nicolai's story.
From how she worked a day job and, at night, made inroads to realize her dreams and goals to her journeys to remote regions of the world, readers who enjoy travelogues, stories of personal growth and achievement, and the evolution of social and political activist efforts will relish her unique story which proclaims, in the course of its autobiography, "Yes We Can."
That attitude and the story of how one ordinary American can and did forge a different path serves as inspirational reading highly recommended for anyone seeking insights into how personal choices can translate into political and social programs that make a difference.
Reviewed by - Diane Donovan, Editor
Donovan's Literary Services
Midwest Book Review/Bookwatch
Author of San Francisco Relocated
(Midwest does not issue star ratings)