Applauding Life: Poetry and Prose of an Octogenarian by Barry S Savits MD FACS gives us a beautiful glimpse into a life lived to the fullest. 


We only get one chance in life. Very few of us are able to make the best of it. Barry S Savits MD FACS is one of those rare people who have lived life to its full glory. In his eighty-plus years, he has seen war, traveled places, made friends, lost pals, fallen in love, and saved lives. From having a blissful childhood in a close-knit Jewish family in the USA to becoming a doctor and building his own family, Savits has done it all. In Applauding Life: Poetry and Prose of an Octogenarian, Barry S Savits MD FACS relives his eventful life and shares his reflections through poems and prose. 

Consisting of 434 pages, Applauding Life: Poetry and Prose of an Octogenarian is divided alphabetically into twenty-six sections. Each section consists of poems and prose writings whose title starts off with the alphabet in question. This enables the reader to locate any particular piece easily if they are in a mind to do so. Each section starts off with a unique doodle. The doodles are thought-provoking and add a special touch to the book. 

Applauding Life: Poetry and Prose of an Octogenarian is an eclectic collection. There are myriad themes ranging from nature to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barry S Savits is a man who truly loves life. It is evident in his writing. In one of the very first poems, Aging, he accepts the inevitability of death. At the same time, he also asserts that he would not leave this world easily. He would fight to live. Savits believes in legacy. In many of his writings, he talks about his family and grandchildren. He wants to leave memories for his descendants so that they would remember him. There are writings where he reminisces about his childhood and all the friends that he had lost over time. One of my favorite poems is Photos. The lines “Those who make memories possible are not dead or far away./ They are just sleeping silently/ Awaiting being remembered to awake, even for a brief, brief, brief………………” indeed struck a chord for me. Savits reminisces about his romantic relationships. He presents his bisexuality in a natural manner. He talks about the loves that he lost. I especially like the poems where he waxes poetic about meeting the love of his life. Savits talks about his four sons and his experiences of being a father. In the poem, He and Me, he bares to us the challenges he has with his adopted son even to this day. 

Barry S Savits brings to us his Jewish heritage. The poem, Kol Nidre, depicts the significance of this Jewish tradition. Also, I enjoyed reading about the author’s childhood days. In the write-up, July 31 1492, he presents to us the story of a young Spanish girl. She was called Catalina by her father and Lindacita by her mother. Along with a host of other Jewish people, Catalina’s father had to leave behind his thriving Vineyard and take his family on a turbulent journey into the unknown in the quest of finding a home. Written from Catalina’s perspective, the short story made me feel the pain of all those Jewish people expelled from their own homeland only because of their faith. I wish Savits would write a full-fledged story revolving around Catalina. 

Savits cherishes nature and is grateful to Mother Earth. His poems, Thanks, Thank You, and For This I am Grateful, among others, bear testament to this. The poems about autumn, rain, starry nights, rivers, squirrels, earthworms, and lima beans, among others convey his appreciation for the natural world. I loved his comparison between a man and a lion. Through his poems and prose, he underlines the fallacy of discrimination. The line “We must erase the race factor in our race to change” from the poem, Colorblind, imparts a life lesson that all should follow. Savits presents us with a positive attitude about the COVID-19 pandemic. The poems, Celebrate and Quarantine, manage to give hope by portraying happy situations that are indeed feasible in the dire times of the pandemic.  

I have to mention that I learned a lot from the author’s experiences as a doctor. His stints in Ecuador, Crown Heights, New York, and the Vietnam War made me respect him more. I especially found Those Three Months to be very fascinating. 

Authored by Barry S Savits MD FACS, Applauding Life: Poetry and Prose of an Octogenarian is a book that bundles years of experience. It gives us a glimpse into a life well lived in simple yet lyrical words. I truly hope that the author decides to write his own memoir. I recommend Applauding Life: Poetry and Prose of an Octogenarian to all poetry aficionados and lovers of life. People who like reading memoirs would enjoy this amazing book as well. 

Book Details

  • Title: Applauding Life: Poetry and Prose of an Octogenarian
  • Author: Barry S Savits MD FACS
  • Genre: Creative Non-fiction
  • Theme: Poetry, Prose, Life, Love, Nature, Jewish Culture, Travel
  • Publication Date: February 23, 2021
  • ISBN or ASIN: B08XX611KH
  • Number of Pages: 448
  • Minimum Audience Age: 14

Book Themes

(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)

  • Sexual themes: 2
  • Religious themes: 1
  • Violence, self-harm, etc.: 0
  • Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 1
  • Other adult themes: 0


  • Content: 5 stars
  • Writing Style: 5 stars
  • Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
  • Uniqueness: 5 stars
  • Editing: 3 stars
  • Other factors: 5 stars
  • Overall: 4.6 out of 5

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By Kajori Sheryl Paul

Reading is my passion, and writing is my compulsion. I started reading from a very early age. Since then, I have not stopped. I have garnered this addiction from my father. I have always loved reading his books. As you can see, books are my world. I escape this world to traverse the world of my books. Naturally, I have an affinity to create worlds of my own. There are thoughts constantly swirling in my head. These are the thoughts that I jot down. Sometimes, they become poems while sometimes stories. More often than not, they are just reviews of the plethora of books I read and the things I do.

One thought on “A Book Review by Kajori: “Applauding Life: Poetry and Prose of an Octogenarian” by Barry S Savits MD FACS”
  1. Can we ask more from life than to have “traveled places, made friends, lost pals, fallen in love, and saved lives”? I can skip the war part, though I can see how it must enrich the book. Amazing recommendation!