I don't know if I can write this review. I really don't. It makes me feel extremely vulnerable, to contemplate putting so much of my heart out on view for people on the internet to see. I also don't know if I have the words.
Reading this book was both devastating and awe-inspiring. I was moved beyond words, particularly when I started reading it, started to let the words wash over me, when I realized how familiar they were, not the words, but the meanings behind them. It felt like something I'd been swimming in my whole life and never realized it.
Let me try to explain. I was raised by two people who found great meaning in this book. My mother read from it at my wedding reception. I don't mean they tried to make me read it, because they never did. Or conform to anything in it, because they never did. But having read it, I can see so many of the lessons they tried to teach me, the values they held dear, the ways they made sense of the world reflected in these pages. The way that they thought about love, and children, and work, and the world, I can see how this book was important to them. Whether they took inspiration from it, or found it a reflection of what they already believed, I'm not sure. I could ask my mother. I may.
I can't ask my father anymore. And reading this book made me miss him so much. Not that I don't already, every day for the past year and a half. The wonderful thing about reading this was that it took me out of the memories of those last few terrible weeks, and back to all the times I had before pancreatic cancer took him from us.
It made me think of riding in the car, having the front seat beside him while the rest of the family slept in the back, and talking about finding, not the work you love, but the work that you can't not do, the things that are so important that you would do them even if you weren't paid.
It made me remember how gently my parents pushed me to be an independent, reasonably sane adult, gave the room to make mistakes, never thought they owned me, but were always there when I needed them.
It made me realize how much of this book I already carry in me, how much of my heart is already out there on someone else's pages. That's a terrifying and wonderful thing.
So there is my heart, it's out there on display. I read this book, and could barely breathe.
Crossposted to Smorgasbook