In Notes to Jacqui, Ronald Tomo weaves stories from his life into lessons he hopes will benefit his daughter.
The book is divided into 28 “notes,” each one comprising a chapter. Chapter titles convey the lesson to follow, such as, “Never Forget Your Roots,” or “Fear Not the Thought of Death.” Throughout, Tomo tells stories about his childhood, a period largely defined by a life or death struggle with polio. Disabled as a result, Tomo learned to be self-reliant and to shake off the opinions of others. Later in life, he had a successful career in technology, specializing in hospitals.
After the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti in 2010, he was able to combine his professional skills with a lifelong passion for ham radio and assist the medical units working there by helping to establish radio communications as a volunteer. (Note #10, titled “You Can Learn A Lot in a Disaster,” emphasizes using your skills to help others). Finding a suitable mate and the love of a good dog also figure into these life lessons.
The book is sweet and thoughtful, but the writing can be wordy and unfocused. For example: “Micro management is far and away another terrible practice that many managers use.” Tomo sums up his theory on the origins of world religions in this way: “These ideas based in the imaginations of our forefathers around the world were created to give us a sedative to relax the fear of death.”
With its abundance of family photos, comments about how Jacqui may someday decide to be a mother, and directions for the disposal of the ashes of various family pets, Notes to Jacqui is far too narrowly focused to be of much interest to a general audience. However, it’s a bold and touching statement of love from father to daughter.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.