A memoir that recounts one man’s confrontations with his mortality.
Debut author Bulone has repeatedly faced life-threatening dangers over the years, but he’s always managed to safely sail his way through them. In 1966, at the age of 2, he tumbled down some stairs and walked away with only a broken collarbone. Since then, he’s faced other perils, including being chased by hornets, being hit on the head with a rock, and fighting a potentially catastrophic fire in his family’s trailer. His memoir is largely a collection of brief vignettes, all sharing the theme of ubiquitous, unpredictable danger. At the conclusion of many of these tales, he sums up the general lesson that he learned, such as “Do not throw rocks when people are in the area. Someone could get hurt.” Along the way, Bulone credits a combination of good fortune and religious faith for protecting him. Some stories involve encounters with the supernatural; for example, he says that he was accosted by a “real demon spirit” and a “dark angel,” and that he once saw a UFO. Throughout, the author presents his recollections as cautionary tales, advocating general sensibleness and vigilant awareness of one’s surroundings. Some of Bulone’s anecdotes are genuinely dramatic, such as one about narrowly escaping an abduction attempt at the age of 13, and another about an attack at a correctional facility, where the author worked as an adult. Others, however, simply aren’t as thrilling; getting stung by hornets is unpleasant, for instance, but it’s not exactly the stuff of high drama. Overall, the author writes in reliably clear and intimately informal prose that invitingly pulls readers into a friendly confidence. However, his lessons are often less than profound: “Never play with fire because you can get burned or, even worse, wind up dead from smoke inhalation.”
An often charming but not always edifying set of reminiscences.