Genre: Non-fiction, relationship, family
Author: Bob Mack Peak
Reviewed by: Darlene M.
The 85% Man and Lessons from Lucille is Bob Mack Peak’s well-crafted, uplifting, heart-felt romance epic. It’s a lighthearted look at the differences between men and women. Peak hopes to prove the well-known, open proposition that "Everything my mother told me about women is true." The book’s flowing narrative offers the reader a delightful journey toward discovering life's truest reward—unconditional love.
The 85% Man and Lessons from Lucille finds a parallel and rampart through the life of the author’s parents. They were a part of the so-called “Greatest Generation.” Raised during the hardships of the Great Depression, Peak’s parents had a terrific life and beloved children, yet they suffered terrible losses toward the end of their lives. Peak begins his tale at his parents’ homes in the “Show Me State” of Missouri. There his parents meet at a USO function before his father goes off to fight in World War II. Even as a child, Peak is impacted by his mother Lucille’s advice on girls, women, and how to spot a troubled relationship. Readers who adore the films Terms of Endearment and The Help will fall in love with Peak’s book, as the themes from those hit Hollywood epics echo throughout the book.
Peak’s work offers guidelines rather than hard and fast rules in order to assist women, men, and couples to “love long and prosper.” The 85% Man and Lessons from Lucille is uniquely different from similar books of the self-help and romantic genre written by a plethora of PhD’s and celebrities. This is because it draws upon personalized dating experiences supported by the seemingly timeless, sage advice of the author’s mother. In short, the book will help women avoid “sweating the small stuff,” and achieve a useable, workable perspective on what is real in life and men, as well as what’s realistically obtainable.
Displaying his gift for honestly communicating deeply moving experiences, Peak carefully navigates the ups and downs of his relationships. Peak relates his ex-wives to “experimental flights,” since his birthday coincides with Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in the X-1 test plane on October 14th. The author’s “EXs” were not dissimilar to unstable test planes that crashed. Some of his “relationship crashes” left no survivors, while other smashups provided the genesis of a phoenix-like rebirth.
The 85% Man and Lessons from Lucille is divided into four sections. The first section sets forth the premise of the “Unconditional Abyss.” The second delves into “Fifteen Lessons” that guide the reader through their own relationships. Section three explains how to cross the abyss described in the first section—including dealing with tragedy. Part four offers a moving good-bye to the various characters presented in the book.
Each chapter of the book begins with a pearl of wisdom from Lucille. Her immortal lexicon abounds as she says, "The truth starts with a kiss. It may not be the whole truth, but it's a good starting place,” and "Women are like elephants...the most dangerous animals in the jungle, and they never forget anything.” Her words are unforgettable, as is Lucille, who incidentally was declared dead as a little girl after a bout with scarlet fever, only to resurrect for a second chance at a life of inspiring others. Perhaps best of all, the book references a link to the website 85percentman.com featuring a section where visitors can calculate how their man scores, and discover WWLS (What Would Lucille Say).
In the words of Peak,The 85% Man and Lessons from Lucille is "analogous to starring in a scary movie. You're at the top of the stairs and the lights don't work. You think there's something down there for you, while your mother's in the audience yelling, ‘Don't go down there.’ But you go anyway. At the bottom of the stairs you turn, and it's the monster your mother told you about. The theme of the book follows Lucille's lessons, and my missteps, to guide the reader so they don't go down alone.”