This poignant and thoughtful memoir challenged as much as it compelled me. It’s hard to look death directly in the eye, especially when it’s encroaching, with terrifying intensity, on the time that is left for a shy and sensitive seventeen year-old.
Jody White, unexplainably and suddenly diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of leukemia is fighting a battle for his life – a metaphor that will come to mean more as you read this book and witness Jody’s remarkable story.
Without giving the plot away (no spoilers here), now an adult, as Jody revisits, in these pages, with blood-chilling detail, a year in his past which changed everything – it’s clear that this man not only has a story to tell, but oh, can he write.
“Slapped about the face by the stark truth of my own mortality and the fragile nature of this bag of bones that I inhabited”.
“I felt like key aspects of what made me me had been eroded. I wondered if I’d ever get them back.”
Stylistically golden, it’s impossible not to be touched by the beautifully rendered images, emotions, and experiences flooding the pages – many of which are so raw and terrible you wonder how Jody survived them.
But survive he did, to tell his story – and as “the hurricane of his illness swept him up, up and away”, Jody opens his heart, bearing witness, with the bright and temperate eye of his now adult self, providing a decades-earned perspective on young Jody’s unformed, yet undeniably effective coping strategies, as they existed then, and what they have left him with now.
Facing his new world with science, research, facts, humor, and with the love and unconditional support of his family, his friends, and his lover, – young Jody fought his own Hero’s Journey, groping somewhat blindly with the determination to fight to live to see another day.
A fight, in this case, Jody now understands, that must center on the mind and its focus, – an internal quest to open and find the space to detach, providing a frame for positivity and innate healing without any actual direct control. (For which of us has any control at all over the capricious course of illness?)
As adult Jody touches and breaks our heart, it’s clear that he’s accomplished much more here than telling his story – he is also inviting us to share in the many lessons his journey has left him with.
If we have no guarantees of a future, (for after all, do we?) can we consider pausing the focus on fear and it’s suppression, instead using our power to deliberately choose how we live each and every inestimable moment?
Can we consider sitting back, appreciating the beauty of the paradox formed by the immensity and the incredible delicacy of life, where everything we hold dear “can be pulled out from under us in a moment”.
“Every moment now shall be a gift”.
This, the author’s beautifully rendered gift to the reader, is a life-altering story, if we take the time to listen.
A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.
My stop today on the @RandomTTours blogtour for #Chimera by @JodyWhiteAuthor