FIND THE GOOD by Heather Lende

FIND THE GOOD

Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An unlikely source delivers tidbits on living well.

An obituary writer might be the last person readers would expect to provide wise advice, but Alaska Dispatch News columnist Lende (Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: Family, Friendships, and Faith in Small-Town Alaska, 2010, etc.) turns out to have just the right perspective, as her job centers on finding and writing about the best part of each deceased person's life. In these short observations, the author examines what makes the people in the small town of Haines, Alaska, tick. She follows the intricate weave of relationships between family and friends that creates a close-knit community, and she expands on these ideas to create nuggets of insight universal to everyone. "Find the good” is the essence of living a noble, meaningful life, and Lende explores this mantra in a variety of ways. She writes of the fisherman who refused a good-paying state job so he could spend more time with his family; of the man who drowned because he had no life vest, which prompted the town to raise money for personal floatation suspenders for every fisherman; and of the woman diagnosed with terminal cancer who continued to teach because it brought her the greatest joy and forced her to live in the moment. Each brief life story is a distillation of the highs and lows of that person's life, and Lende considers the many unexpected ways in which ordinary people touched one another, even if they were not always aware of it. Honest and simple yet full of lasting strength, the author’s prose demonstrates what makes a life better rather than worse—including something as simple as picking up heart-shaped stones on the beach with a grandchild.

Optimistic, slightly humorous reflections on living a fully engaged, meaningful life.

Pub Date: April 28th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-61620-167-8
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2015




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