I surprised myself with this one since this is not the kind of book I usually read. I even had doubts whether I would finish it. But 30% (I use Kindle) into the book and I decided to push through.
What I liked about the book is how invested I could get with Dominick. I read about his past hurts, misfortunes and struggles then journeyed with him in his road to “renovation.”
Renovate your life, the old myths say, and the universe is yours – Dominick Birdsey
He was not dealt with the best set of circumstances and I felt for him as I read through the book. I, at times, even had to put down the book since the anger and grief can be overwhelming. In some ways, I shared the same thoughts with Dominick as (a) he tried to go through his grandfather’s story – what was the point of learning about all this pride, self righteousness and arrogance, (b) he tried to deal with his family – schizoprenic twin brother, secret filled family and unknown father, and (c) he tried to navigate his personal life – divorce, death of first born child and career.
But what are stories if not the mirrors we hold up to our fears?
By the end of it, I was rooting for him to find the strength and support to tie loose ends and just live on, which I was glad that he managed eventually in time. I guess there is something about inner resilience of individuals that can be very inspiring, especially for Dominick who has entertained the thoughts of suicide at one point.
Embedded throughout this book was the anger felt by Dominick and how he was able to eventually able to manage it with the help of professionals (i.e., shrink). He was able to navigate his past and reconcile with his present. This is more ably put by Dr. Patel as:
Life is not a series of isolated ponds and puddles; life is this river you see below, before you. It flows from the past through the present on its way to the future.
But my biggest takeaway is how growing up can lead to a lot of eureka moments, which are actually glaring realities but takes time to sink in. As Ray puts it, “things get clearer when you get older”. Some of my favorite quotes in this book are as follows:
Love grows from the rich loam of forgiveness – Dominick Birdsey
To be human is to be humble. What choice is there, really? Let none of us attempt God’s work. – Father Guglielmo
Would it not be futile for you to make such a command? To assume that the river would ignore its inevitable course and bend to your wishes? You are limited, my friend, in what you can and cannot control, as are we all. If you are to become healthy, you must acknowledge the indeluctability of your brother’s course. Acknowledge your limitations in directing it, Dominick. And that will free you. That will help to make you well. – Dr. Patel
Be humble and forgive. Then, peace of mind follows.