Let Me Tell A Story by Paul Betit

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 Paul Betit wants to tell you a story. Well, actually, a bunch of stories. And he does just that in his new book, Let Me Tell A Story, published by BeeMan Books in Brunswick.

If you haven’t read Paul’s three novels, you should. They are very good. But it turns out he can write nonfiction too. Well, sort of.

Paul says his new book is “a mix of short fiction and memoir.” He told me, “This book is a big departure from the books I have published in the past. It’s more personal and, I think, much more literary. Basically, the book is about growing up and growing old.”

It is all of that, a relatively short (116 pages) trip through Paul’s interesting life. I would love to know what is fact and what is fiction, but part of the fun is trying to figure that out.

And yes, the book is a lot of fun, filled with compelling stories of growing up and traveling in Maine, attending school, getting his first kiss from a girl, serving in the Vietnam War where he wrote his fiancé and called off their wedding, falling in love with a girl in TaiPai, coming home to become a radio DJ, attending his mother’s funeral, becoming a newspaper reporter and reporting from Taiwan, and moving into old age with weekly walks along the river in Brunswick with his wife.

There’s more to the stories than this, but you get the idea. This is, for sure, an autobiography, apparently with some exaggeration. But the stories all seemed real to me.

“All of the stories are based on incidents that occurred in my own life,” Paul told me. “However, I’ve taken poetic license (in fact, I had to apply for a new one) in how these incidents were portrayed.”

Later this winter Paul hopes to present talks at Hubbard Free Library in Hallowell and the Gardiner Public Library. Next summer he intends to present programs at Cary Memorial Library in Wayne and Belgrade Public Library.

I’ve attended a book talk by Paul in the past, and I can tell you that he is very entertaining. You may remember him as a newspaper sports reporter for more than 40 years. Yup, he’s done a lot of great writing in his lifetime! And you can add Let Me Tell A Story to that long list of great columns and books.

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