Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Very Personal Story

We're all pretty much able to deal even with the worst that life can fire at us, if we simply admit that it is very difficult.  I think that's the whole of the answer.  We make our way, and effort and time give us cushion and dignity. And as we age, we're riding higher in the saddle, seeing more terrain. 

So it's an epiphany after all.  You have it in your hand the whole time.

-- from Half a Life by Darin Strauss

This book has a plain dark cover with a gold embossed title on it.  The pages are made of thick paper.  It's heavier than regular books.  Its subject matter is very somber, and it is all very sad.  This book made a couple of must read lists from 2010, and I picked it up because every where I turned it seemed to be there. 

This personal story (what he calls it, instead of a memoir)  is about a  man who looks back to age 18 when he accidentally hit and killed a girl, one of his peers, on her bicycle.  This horrendous act haunts everything he does from that day forward until he has his own children and then he decides he must get help.  He both finds a decent therapist and embarks on a mission to write his story, to share what happened to him 18 years, half a life, before.

I found the writing to be simply magnificent.  I kept writing down sentences and phrases that seemed the very essence of what good writing is all about.  He definitely gets what it means to tell a tale, turn a phrase, describe a crisis, and capture what torment he had been through for all these years.  Forgiveness is nothing unless you can forgive yourself, it seems.

I highly recommend this readable, sad, cautionary tale as a decent lesson for anyone who has been haunted by a questionable action or wonders how to shake off the dead ghosts.  It is a truly remarkable sharing.


Steph said...

Wow, I'm brought to tears just by reading your description.

Anonymous said...

Loved this one too. MKP