Mittwoch, 5. März 2014

[English] Book Review: Out of the Whirlpool


Sue Wiygul Martin has written a deeply honest and moving account of the rebuilding of her life after a desperate, impetuous act in her youth ended in traumatic blindness. Since that day, she has greeted the world with her trademark determination and humor, accepting each new day of challenge while squarely facing the issues attending her post-traumatic adjustment. Now, after more than thirty years of an extraordinary recovery and reconciliation with the past, Martin is ready to share the simple truth of her journey. Martin's truth is a universal truth, one which is so easy to lose sight of-each and every person, man or woman, has a story worth telling. We are all the same, yet so beautifully different. So, fasten your seat belts. Sue Martin would like to take you on a wild ride through this life of hers. Get ready for some joy, sorrow, beauty, a few cosmic slaps of enlightenment, and a thousand other thoughts and feelings along the way.

"Out of the Whirlpool" was actually my first kindle book, dutifully read out loud by my trusted iPhone. I found the experience a little tedious, but the book certainly made up for it.

It's not easy to write about this book. It's a real life person and her story, and quite a story it is. I say the following with the greated respect: not many writers have both the strength of character and the rather unusual experience to give you a detailed description of what it's like to pick up a rifle and shoot yourself in the head. And that's exactly how the story really begins: with a suicide attempt that she miraculously survived, but that left per blinded.

What this book tells you is a very personal story. And while this claim is made by pretty much every autobiography ever written, here it is true. From her frankness regarding her suicide attempt and the emotions that led to it, to her drive and energy in overcoming what followed, from her charming spontaneity to her astonishing lack of self-reflexion, this book is human through and through. Hence the problem of writing a review for it: it's almost impossible to review the book without accidentally reviewing the person who wrote it. And it's not our's to pass judgement.

So let me just tell you that emotionally it's at times a rather tough book (if you haven't caught up on that yet). It's not great literature, but it's life. You can follow the writer on her journey, you can applaude and protest, you can suffer for her and rejoice with her, you may want to hug her one moment and shake her the next, and maybe that's enough. I won't tell you to read it. I won't tell you, not to read it. Make up your own mind.

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