This past year I have been on a voracious memoir kick. I think it started with a list of memoirs on some blog. I’m not entirely clear, because when I was returning to the States, I did my usual routine of looking at my “to-read” list on Goodreads and then requesting a ridiculous amount of books from the library. Often I forget what the books are and view picking them up at the library like a mini-Christmas. So, I was a bit surprised by the amount of memoirs I had. It turns out memoirs have been soothing for the soul as I have been allowed to walk for a while with a person down a path I (hopefully in many cases) will never need to walk.
I admire memoirists because they lift of the curtain and allow us a look behind the scenes. Last month when author Shawn Smucker asked his readers for volunteers interested in receiving an advanced copy of Refuse to Drown by Tim Kreider with Shawn Smucker, I put my hand firmly up in the air (which on the internet means I left a comment saying “YOU BET.”)
Here’s a brief summary from the Refuse to Drown website:
“Manheim Township, PA, was rocked by a seemingly random triple-homicide during the summer of 2007. There were no witnesses, very few leads and no solid suspects. As days turned into weeks and the crime remained unsolved, the small-town neighborhood was filled with sadness, questions, and a growing sense of fear. One month after the murders, Tim Kreider’s son Alec was committed to a mental health hospital. One of Alec’s best friends had been one of the murder victims, and Tim feared that the loss had pushed his long-troubled son over the edge. Tim didn’t realize that his world was about to come crashing down around him. Refuse to Drown is the true story of a father’s despair and the type of perseverance that can lead to hope and healing.”
The subtitle is “a father’s unthinkable choice” and though I doubt any of us have faced the choice he faced, we have all faced hard choices. The reason I wanted to share this book with you, is in our line of work we all need to hold the long perspective in light of the daily grind we face. If you have children who are not making choices you want to see them make, or have family members who struggle with internal demons, have some national friends who are going to need you to be in it for the long haul, or are facing a seemingly impossible situations, it’s easy to forget that others have walked challenging paths as well.
We are quick to share the victories. And I get it, I really do! They ARE exciting and encouraging and package easier than the messes and the disappointments and paths that seems to double-back on themselves so much it’s easy to get lost. Refuse to Drown is not brilliant literature, instead it is raw and real and Tim is able to walk with the reader through the experience from his perspective.
In a time where inexplicable things are happening both in your home and host countries, this is a timely book to say, “hey, bad things can happen to good people, good parents, good families AND God will walk through the valleys with you.”
In light of my love of memoirs and in support of Refuse to Drown any one who leaves a comment of support, a piece of their own story, or a memoir they recommend will be entered in a drawing for a copy of Refuse to Drown! You have all week to enter and the winner will be announced next Tuesday.
If you’re interested in my top ten (or so, I haven’t made the list yet) memoirs I’ve read this year, I plan to share it in my quarterly Messy Middle newsletter that will go out the end of March. It’s easy to sign up for 🙂
P.S. As a brief reminder, this month we are talking all things books! The first Tuesday of March we will start our next book The Gift of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown. You can get read more of the details and watch two (potentially) life altering TED talks Brene gave.
Photo credit from the Refuse to Drown website
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