The Forgotten Papers

Non-Fiction - Memoir
606 Pages
Reviewed on 05/01/2017
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Author Biography

This is Jeff Harris’ fourth book (if you count the one he wrote under the pen-name of Michael Houlihan.) Harris was born in Baltimore, squandered a big education, and spent a lot of years traveling around the country getting in minor scrapes with the law and major scrapes with women. He now lives in New York City. He founded the Lefty Jones Band and has released a staggering 40 CD’s worth of music.
This book is the way Harris sees things. It really drifts on and on. It is very wild and unorthodox, and it crosses all genre lines. It does not cross over, however, into total insanity but does veer into poetry and philosophy and fun!
One of my favorite lines in the book (p.130): "Way down in the bottom of the well I saw your smiley face. It doesn't matter if you weren't wearing it. I saw it anyway."

    Book Review

Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite

The Forgotten Papers by Jeff Harris is a collection of a little bit of everything - short stories, poems, and articles, all beautifully written. Some read like riddles, some make political statements, some tackle social issues, some are simply inspirational while others are just hilarious. You will go from a hilarious story about a canceled wedding to one about the need for the GOP to work on its public perception, to a poem, and then to another totally random story. The writings are all very brief with many of them less than half a page long, and yet each tells a complete story with actual depth and lots of humor. You will find in there different genres and different topics, but it all blends into an exciting and very captivating read. The beauty of this book is that you can put it down any time and pick it up whenever. You can even start reading from almost any page since chances are that whatever page you land on, you will be starting a new story.

The Forgotten Papers by Jeff Harris is a unique read. Each of these writings is fresh, very brief, and absolutely compelling - once you are done with one story, you are eager to see what the author throws at you next so you keep reading. The Forgotten Papers is especially suitable for those times when you do not feel like reading one long story but rather enjoying a collection of different writings on a whole bunch of random topics. It is the kind of book I would choose to take with me on a long train ride so I can have something to keep me occupied the whole journey, but without the pressure of concentrating on one long story. The book's beauty is in how random its tales are and the combination of depth and humor with which they are written. Jeff Harris must have had a lot of fun writing it. The tales are random, hilarious, captivating and interesting to read. If you want a book that surprises you at every turn, then you have definitely found one.

Sefina Hawke

The Forgotten Papers by Jeff Harris is a mixed genre book with elements of non-fiction, poetry, and fiction. The book is Jeff Harris's experimental writings all compiled together in one work. This is a book that would appeal most to an audience of young adults and adults who consider themselves to be adventurous readers. Jeff Harris touches on many different topics that range from political to sexual and everything in between. The book opens with Jeff Harris explaining that the stories are presented in no particular order and with no intended reasoning.

I can say with complete honesty that The Forgotten Papers by Jeff Harris is like no other book that I have ever read. The book has no organization and very little in the way of transitions from one story to another. Yet, I found that the disorganized manner of the book appealed to me; it felt like reading it was something of a mystery and an adventure as I never knew what the next page would hold. I liked the fact that I could read a bit of it, walk away, and go right back to reading it without missing a beat. I personally liked the way that Jeff Harris kept the sexual aspects of his book more abstract and did not overwhelm me with sexual content, but instead made it a fun and surprising part of the book. Overall, I found that I enjoyed the unique nature of this book and would recommend it to those looking for something different to read!

Rabia Tanveer

The Forgotten Papers by Jeff Harris is a whimsical little book that defies genre or any set of writing rules. This book has no plot and you will not be able to find one in it, no matter how hard you try. This is a fragmented, "absurd" book that feels very experimental, but this experiment works. Although this book is not for everyone, it is definitely for people who like to read something that defies rules and becomes whatever they want at that time.

There are parts of the book that are fictional with a well-developed character, but then there are parts where Jeff Harris is talking directly with us. Some places, it feels like he is mourning something, and some places it feels like he is celebrating something as simple as life. This book is perfect for people who just want to simply read. They can open any page at random and start reading, and it will make sense. You will get the opportunity to lose yourself in the pages and let your mind wander on the page. This is a form of adventure writing, I suppose. Plus, it feels like this would be wonderful for readers with short attention spans, like Jeff Harris suggested. They can pick it up, read anything like prose or poetry, and in their short attention time, they can read a complete story in a couple of sentences. Jeff Harris wrote a simple, yet very well-written book that will make you feel good.

Arya Fomonyuy

The Forgotten Papers by Jeff Harris is an unusual book. In fact, it doesn’t read like the author intended to write a consistent book. One finds in these pages a blend of many genres — poetry, elements of a memoir, journal entries, random recollections of events, and spontaneous thoughts about life, love, death, and many things in between. It can read as sloppy at times, then there are some serious entries that are beautiful to read. The author warns that this isn’t one’s regular book and he is right. So, before you read, don’t expect to find stellar writing, even if the voice is genuine, light, and jovial; the author seems to have the desire to make the reader edit the work for him.

Jeff Harris’s book is passionate and he seems to have poured so much of his soul into these pages. He says: “These are the forgotten papers that fell out of the sky. Actually they were lost in a closet for many years.” The author offers them to readers just as they were written, with no embellishments of any kind. The Forgotten Papers will lead readers into the life, the joys and pains, the hopes and fears, the music of the soul of a human being like them. I was drawn in by the lack of pretentiousness in the work.