They Called Him Marvin


Non-Fiction - Historical
329 Pages
Reviewed on 06/04/2021
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Author Biography

I am, by my own admission, a reluctant writer. But there are stories that demand to be told. When we hear them, we must pick up our pen, lest we forget and the stories are lost.

Six years ago, in a quiet conversation with my friend Marvin, I learned the tragic story his father, a WW2 B-29 Airplane Commander, shot down over Nagoya, Japan just months before the end of the war.

Such a man was Marv’s father. A father he never knew. The telling of the story that evening by this half orphan was so moving and full of emotion, it compelled me to ask if I could write the story. The result being “They Called Him Marvin.”

My life has been profoundly touched in so many ways by being part of documenting this sacred story. I pray that we never forget, as a people, the depth of sacrifice that was made by ordinary people like Marvin and his father and mother on our behalf.

My career as an addiction counselor (CDP) lead me to write “The Waterfall Concept; A Blueprint for Addiction Recovery," and co-author "Reclaiming Your Addicted Brain." After my counseling retirement, I decided I wanted to learn more about the craft of writing and started attending classes at Portland Oregon’s Attic Institute.

My wife & I raised seven children, and have eleven grandchildren. We love to travel and see the sites and cultures of the world. I still get on my bicycle whenever I can.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

They Called Him Marvin is a work of non-fiction in the historical, biography, and family history sub-genres, and was penned by author Roger Stark. The work is intended for the general adult reading audience and contains some very mild references to adult themes and wartime life. Told in prose with diary-style sections of narration as well as central figure 1st Lt Dean Harold Sherman’s own personal correspondence, this is a beautiful tale of enduring romance and the heroism of those who fought and flew during the latter part of World War Two during the United States’ conflict with Japan. What results is a touching family saga that also foreshadows the great horrors and sacrifices of life in war.

Author Roger Stark has crafted an emotive work of non-fiction with plenty of historical richness, pathos, and heart to offer readers. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was the heartfelt presentation of the unshakeable bond between Dean and Connie, both through the curation of their own words to one another and the contextual gap-filling which Stark achieves with facts, but also emotionally sensitive additions and details. When you juxtapose this against the bare brutality of war, the incredible innovations of flight, and the dangerous politics at play, what forms is a special capturing of this moment in time, and what it meant for real people trying to raise families and find love. Overall, I would highly recommend They Called Him Marvin to fans of accurate wartime non-fiction accounts and for enthusiasts of World War Two first-hand reports everywhere.

Sasha Hawthorn

I am a fan of historical fiction and this story did not disappoint. It was sweet, tragic, personal, and moving. Gradually and almost imperceptibly, the story of two wartime sweethearts begins circling the drain of of a tragedy you know is coming. The book begins with the ending, but by the time you get there you have convinced yourself that it can't possibly be the case. I enjoyed every moment, even the ones that left me in tears.
The letters between Connie and Dean provided a fascinating glimpse into wartime life. Reading the experiences of people both at home and abroad was very engaging. I found myself eagerly awaiting the next letter, right along with the young couple!
Lastly, the book left me with an overwhelming acknowledgement of the universal trauma and tragedy of war. The Shermans are not the only family we meet in the book and the weaving together of several different narratives added a depth to the story that's hard to put into words.
I definitely encourage anyone to read this book, especially if historical novels are not something you typically read. This is a story about people and you won't want it to end.

Ni Weth

I don’t often find myself reading, much less reading a novel such as this. However, to my surprise, I found myself incredibly entrenched within the pages and the wonderful story. It was often very hard to put down.

The way the story is told is very multifaceted. We’re brought into the narrative through a mixture of historical quotes, letters, and the authors own words to tie it everything together in a natural and engaging way. The story itself also provides a little something for everyone. Love, history, family, spirituality…there is a lot here to make the story feel as human as it possibly can.

This book is wonderfully written, and well worth the time of anyone who reads it. Equally heart-warming and heart-wrenching. Thank you for sharing this story with all of us. I feel like a better person because of it.

Jenn

"They Call Him Marvin" is an incredibly special book. It has a bit of everything, from love to history to drama - and the best part is that it's all true! Author Roger Stark took letters from a real couple and crafted a compelling narrative around their correspondence, filled in with the history of World War II and what going into battle can take from all of us.
I had the honor of getting to see an early version of this project when taking a class with Roger - the scope, detail, and hard work that he's put into this is incredible and very much worth your time. You will be touched by the compelling love story, as well as enraptured by the history. Add it to your list today!