Even though I love reading, I find myself going through phases of reading. I can go months without reading a book and other times I can’t even go a few hours. When I walk the seawall, I tend to see a lot of regulars. Some people are probably regulars but there is nothing about them that makes them stand out to me. Other people I notice because I know their dogs or because they have stopped to say hi to April on a walk. There is this one guy I see all the time and he is always walking with a book in front of his face. I would probably trip and fall completely ungracefully. But on some level I can relate to this desire to read, especially when you are reading a good book that you just can’t put down.
When I first picked up Life and Other Circumstances by Kristan Higgins at the library, I was content with just reading a chapter a night. I like spacing out my reading. I tend to get lost in a good book as one should and when it is over it is sad for a moment to leave certain characters behind, until of course you pick up your next book. I am better by far at savoring a good book than I am at savoring a meal. That is until you reach that pivotal moment in a book, that every good book should have, when the reader gets sucked in and cannot put said book down. Those are the moments that I bring the book with me wherever I go in case I have a few minutes to spare, or I find something to hold my pages open while drying my hair, or I stay up too late reading just one more chapter.
I don’t want to spoil anything about this book for you because I thoroughly enjoyed it, recommend it and plan on looking for another book by this author asap, but what I will tell you about this book is that the characters had a depth to them that made you feel like you could know them. The overall theme of this book for me spoke of the human condition. It was so relatable. There are generations of characters in this story, each one made major choices in their lives, and each major choice, each life event, not only affected the character but also their family and their family that was still to come. This really resonated with me because of the truth in it. Humans have thousands of choices to make each and every day. Some small, like if you want coffee from Dunks or Starbucks. Those aren’t the ones that are life changing (although I guess it could be if you walk into Dunks and meet the love of your life and later realize that wouldn’t have happened if you chose Starbucks). The life changing ones are the big ones that set your life on a different trajectory than you thought you would be on. For instance, driving recklessly and severely injuring yourself or another person or even death, alcohol or drug addiction, unplanned pregnancy resulting in a child being fostered, adopted, or aborted, anger that leads to instability or the breaking up of a family. These are some big ones, yes but what about some that we might not put so much weight on but are very real in everyday life? The words we speak to those around us have a lasting impact. When we speak life into our family and friends it creates a beautiful legacy of love. When our tongue escapes us or we have no self-control or filter for the things that come out of it, we show very little regard for human life. Our words, our actions, our choices, all affect others and it is selfish to think otherwise. As human beings though, we are rather selfish. I think about the things I say and do and often times they are selfish because when I said or did things I might blame the circumstance, I was tired or hungry or stressed or overwhelmed. But when it comes down to it, I was considering myself over others and that’s not the life or legacy that I want to live. As human, we make mistakes, a lot of them, but I am a firm believer that we have a choice in each circumstance. We will never be perfect, not one single person on this earth. But maybe we can be just a little more careful in our words and in our actions. I think about the characters in this book and what could have happened if they chose differently. I think that about myself as well. What if I had chose things differently in my life? In my life I am thankful for redemption through Jesus Christ. I still make mistakes, everyday, but I am trying to live a life that puts others first. I love a book that makes me think. I love a book that has the potential to change people for good. This was a good that I really enjoyed.
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