Sunday, 14 September 2008

Life is so good

I was at a friend's place for lunch on a stormy winter's day a few months ago and couldn't help browsing through her bookshelf. We discovered a shared love of biographies, and I borrowed the Iris trilogy off her. We got to talking about biographies which have made a lasting impression well after we've finished reading them and swapped titles to go away and seek out.

One biography she mentioned, and which I quickly found on TradeMe, was Life is So Good, by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman. Very Forrest Gump-ish in outlook, it's the story of 101-year-old George Dawson, the grandson of coloured slaves, born in 1898 in Marshall, Texas. He learned to read when he was 98 when he enrolled in an adult literacy programme. His outlook on life is so refreshing: "Every morning I get up and I wonder what I might learn that day. You just never know." The book's title sums it up perfectly: "Life is so good. I do believe it's getting better."

Growing up in the south during 20th century, in the midst of separatism after the abolishment of slavery in the US, George's life is simple, yet remarkable. He worked hard for more than seven decades, only retiring officially at the age of 65 because that's when the government declared him too old to work. That didn't slow him down, though. "People worry too much" is an underlying philosphy for George, who believes that common sense and a simple life will make people a lot more contented than the complicated life we lead these days. There's a lot of sense in that logic.

It's my friend's birthday next week. Guess what she's going to get from me?


Donna said...

It sounds intresting. I might have to look for it and see if I can find it!

Kelly said...

Oooo thanks for the recommendation! Def adding that one to my wants list!