Friday, August 31, 2012

13 Years in America - global reading challenge

7 years, 13 years
"Over 7 bridges you have to walk - 7 dark years you have to survive - 7 times you will be in the shadow - but eventually you will be on bright side." - that's the refrain of a song that was popular in Germany once. i had to think of it a couple of times when read Melanie Steele's "13 Years in America".

Steele wrote this book based on the yearly diaries she kept during those 13 years, and put together, the narrative tells the moving story of someone who sets out in the hope and believe that if you follow your heart, you will find happiness at some point. Only that each year comes with the same realizatoin: even if you only look for happiness on a smaller scale, it might be hard to find, and won't come easy. As the book decription puts it:

"A free-spirited Canadian woman rejects the status quo and sets off on a journey in search of happiness and fulfillment in modern-day America -– a journey that spans 13 years and weaves through crises, divisions, turmoil, and discontent. At once a moving personal story and a sharp, hard look at the American Dream."

Not long now...

the book also tells the counterpart story of following one's dream to eventually reach it: it doesn't come with an happy end. which connects to a conversation i had with a friend earlier this year:  that of all the stories of people who try and put energy in good things, it’s only a few that turn into a success story.

but on the other hand, it's mainly the success stories that turn into news and films and biographies, which probably also creates the expectation that there should be a happy end - that all the struggle will be rewarded, and it's just a matter of time. This also is a thought that runs through the book, here's a quote:
"I think of all the things I could be doing, what I would be doing if I wasn't here. But I am here, and all I can do, I guess, is look forward ... and wait for our lives to begin." ... - "Soon," he tells me. I repeat the words to myself. Not long now. Not long now. It becomes my mantra, pushing me forward and getting me through the days..."

that's one of the reasons this book is important: it tells another story, a story that probably is painfully common, but often isn't put into words. and despite all, the book never gives up hope while it questions a common dream that might not be for many after all - a book that in the sum, carries life lessons that probably stand out clearer in those dark years.

here 2 links to the book: at Goodreads: 13 Years in America, and at Smashwords (that's where i came across it): 13 Years in America


Global Reading Challenge + Worlds Apart
This read is a part of the global reading challenge i joined this year. the idea: to read books from each continent of the world / several countries of europe. so far, the route lead from the East to the West, from the North to the South, from cities to deserts, from coasts to mountains, and even back in time. here's an overview of the books: world books. My own new book is a world book, too - written with a friend from Asia: Worl(d)s Apart: 2 friends, 2 journeys, 10 life lessons: a true story.

Review Forward
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