Alternate Reality is the comical telling of the mostly true story of how Steve Ross grew up in a dysfunctional family with dysfunctional relationships an overcame the pitfalls of his youth to live a good and prosperous life. Those who have been in an abusive or bad relationship know the doubts and fears we take into the next relationship as emotional baggage. That baggage has a tendency to negatively affect the new relationship and eventually doom the new relationship adding more doubts and baggage to the next. This culminates in an avalanche of bad relationships with seemingly no end. In Alternate Reality, Steve Ross uncovers the secret to overcoming the avalanche in a comical and down to earth way, sharing wisdom about life and how to treat people. Ross is a great story teller with a great story to tell. Join in with his adventure and his mistakes during life.
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BOOK REVIEW by US Review of Books
Alternate Reality: The Mostly True Story of How I Became a Sociopath
by B. Steve Ross
Book review by Eric McDowell
"I was like a cyborg in that I looked and acted human, but inside I was just a calculating machine of manipulation."
The author’s book is both a soul-bearing memoir and a study of how childhood psychological trauma propels into motion a pattern of compulsive sexual behavior. Raised in a broken home with an occasionally drunk and subsequently abusive father—who died when the author was seven—and bullied by his family for years, Ross sets the stage to share an even greater trauma that led to his creation of alternate realities as coping mechanisms. The central action takes place during a family reunion to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of the author’s aunt and uncle. As the reunion gets underway, Ross proposes a game: he will tell personal stories about his past, and the participants must evaluate the percentage of truth contained in each, using evidence and prior knowledge to support their decisions. After the votes are tallied, family members debate the findings and are given a chance to revise their scores based on the input from others. When Ross discloses the correct percentage of truth per story, the reunion becomes unforgettable.
Accompanied by a song playlist that reflects central ideas of a given chapter or passage, Ross’s memoir illuminates a central irony of his story. While his lifelong duplicity may have suppressed his own pain, his behavior ultimately devastates all involved, including the author. At times, the storytelling during the reunion is reminiscent of the kinds of games Martha and George propose in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother in the role of host. While the playlist might at first seem a distraction, it provides the book with additional heart and soul. Ross’s tale questions the possibility of sociopathic behavior among us and others as it encourages self-reflection and analysis. His book is both a fine accomplishment and an intriguing read.
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This review was written by a professional book reviewer with no guarantee that it would receive a positive rating. Some authors pay a small fee to have a book reviewed, while others do not. All reviews are approximately half summary and half criticism. The US Review of Books is dedicated to providing fair and honest coverage to all books.