THE WEB OF LIFE by Richard Louv


Weaving the Values that Sustain Us
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 A collection of gentle reflections on important matters like family, friendship, neighborhood, community, and fishing at sunset. Louv (Childhood's Future, 1990) is a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune and a contributor to Parents' magazine who has edited and augmented this selection of newspaper columns with additional commentary. His theme is that each individual is a strand in a web connecting and supporting not only friends and family, but the larger world. In order of increasing complexity, chapters go from the strand of family through to the strands of time and spirit. Louv draws often on lessons from Native Americans to reinforce his ideas--for instance, how family stories become tribal stories and, ultimately, ancestral myths. Preserve family stories, he urges, even if they seem bland and uninteresting; they will ripen and gain stature in time, strengthening the bonds from one generation to the next. An encounter with Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood highlights friendship, as does a tale of fishing with a friend, where mutual respect and a shared regard for trout streams bridge chasms in their values regarding guns and corporal punishment. In a section on community, he intersperses tales of neighborliness with hopes that America may yet develop a ``great, good place'' where ``people meet by chance . . . [to] sit a spell.'' The surge of coffee bars in urban centers is a hopeful note, Louv believes. Chapters are interspersed with off-beat quotations, including four lines of pseudo-Shakespeare generated by a computer, kicking off a discussion of the possibilities of virtual reality. Louv's interests are diverse, ranging from death to county fairs, Native American witches, and a chili harvest. Simple but not mundane vignettes of an ordinary life with wife, children, dog, and van, enlarged by a sweetness of spirit that turns floating on an inner tube into the essence of fathering. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1996
ISBN: 1-57324-036-2
Page count: 250pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996


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