Saturday, March 14, 2015

At Lake Michigan

One of my favorite places on earth,

but not one of my favorite seasons. I'll take what I can get. :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Zen of Beard Trimming

I haven't blogged in forever, but when I was given the chance to receive an advance copy of The Zen of Beard Trimming: Stories of Punk Rock, Poverty, and the Search for Peace by C.J. Campbell so that I could review it, I  had to take the opportunity and dig out my login information. :)

In this brutally honest "five-year memoir," Campbell tells a story of struggle. Some of it I could not relate to, such as struggling with the realities of living with cerebral palsy, growing up without having a father around, and fighting anorexia. Much of it, however, is truly universal: fear of failure, the desire to be loved, and, simply, life as a struggle. However, if you're looking for a heart-warming tale, I'm not sure this is it. Much of Campbell's story is not overcoming. It's surviving. Coping. Failing. Accepting. Moving on. Understanding.

Where it falls short of heart-warming, it certainly leaves the reader with a renewed sense of gratitude and sensitivity to others. This story is about the struggle for things that we all desperately, desperately want--the things that most of us take for granted once we have them. And through three-quarters of the book I kept hoping Campbell would get them. But, as far as I can tell, he doesn't. If you totally lack in empathy, you might enjoy Campbell's story as a comedy of errors. The right movie director could pull it off. I am neither lacking in empathy, nor the right movie director.

I feel like Campbell has told me half the story--the middle half. He left out some of the beginning, which might just be good editing on his part. However, I really wanted the end, the part where Campbell doesn't have to struggle. Perhaps the end of struggle never happens for Campbell, and the fact that the reader has to accept that is what makes this book compelling and possibly devastating.

Buy it here.