Monday, August 18, 2014

Made For You And Me: A Book Review

So what happens when you are an avid reader who accidentally leaves your e-reader at home when you set off for a month long trip? First you bemoan your forgetfulness and think you can forgo reading for the month then in literary desperation, grab the first book you see on the shelf by the checkout line.Yes, this happened to me and the book I grabbed, Made For You And Me by Caitlen Shetterly turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a long time. From the first page this book touched me and as I turned the pages I found myself laughing, crying, relating to the words on the page.

For Shetterly, like so many people of my generation, the horrific events surround September 11th forced her to step back and reassess her life. In the aftermath of it all she left New York City and returned to her home state of Maine to write, act and have that simpler way of life that so many people crave. From the outside it often feels unattainable yet it is the way many Mainers live. She settled into a life she loved but then fell in love and with her husband had a California dream. Unlike like many people who only fantasize about following their dreams, they took the jump only to realize that dreams often fall short of what you hope they will be. With an economy in a downward spiral careers as freelancers is a tough route to take and for the Slatterlys it proved to be difficult. After a year of downs, ups and more downs they headed back to Maine to yet another unknown. And this memoir, which started out as an audio blog for NPR, traces the journey from east to west and back again.

As I read the book I felt myself feeling so many emotions; I was envious of Shetterly for following her dream not only once but twice. Each time she followed her passion through the thick and thin. I only wish I had the same level of daring to do the same. I laughed along with her as she discovered the quirkiness of America. Encountering an (in)famous Chick-Fil-a sandwich for the first time? This Mainer has been there and done that, wondering who a single pickle slice constitutes as dressing up a chicken patty. Living in questionable apartments in strange neighborhoods; done that too as have many people I know. Despite our education and work experience many of us have been faced with tough times during an even tougher economy. While never facing the exact circumstances as Shetterly I've asked myself whether a particular job is worth taking just because it is a job. And the relationship between adult children and their parents; who hasn't been there as well? I could go on.....

But for me this book is a great read because it is real. It isn't sugar coated nor is it a pity party; rather it is a story of my generation, one that many of us can and do relate to. I'll be honest, the older I get the more I find myself thinking about and wanting these same things (sans the acting part) that Shetterly does. Perhaps my recent trip to Maine only reaffirmed these feelings for me but in my mind a good book should make you pause and think and this book did just that. (Of course, any time I go on vacation I find myself thinking about and reflecting upon the choices I have made in life so perhaps my reading this book while on vacation is timely). Don't wait until you are on vacation or desperate for reading material to pick up this book. It is worth seeking out now.

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