Saturday, June 12, 2010

As you know, I’m working my way through a summer reading list.  I started with The Great Gatsby, an easy 180 page read and a great way to get a quick start to scratching off the first title of my “To Read” list.  But after I finished it, I was left at an intersection scratching my head on where to go next, carefully trying to space out the books I was over-eager to read with the ones I knew would be more difficult.

Until last Sunday when I was checking my blog and noticed a new comment on my summer reading post.  I assumed it would be my mom or my sister, or latent comment from a regular reader.

I stopped mid-sentence on the phone with my mom as I read the final comment, realizing that Jeni Stepanek, Mattie’s mom and author of Messenger had taken the time to leave a comment.

I was shocked and flattered and humbled and excited all at the same time.  (If you read this Jeni, thank you.)  And I no longer needed to debate my next book:  I didn’t pass Go, I didn’t pay $200, I immediately ordered the book from Amazon.  All week I received shipment updates and yesterday it finally arrived!

I was a bit apprehensive to start the book, as I stated in my previous post that his life (as witnessed via Oprah) and his passing in 2004 had a profound impact on me.  But I started reading this morning and have made it through the first 70 pages, albeit a few necessary breaks for the sake of my emotional stability and tear supply (Did I mention I started reading this in public, while reading at the pool?  Not a good idea—don’t do that.)

Jeni was right when she hoped that I would laugh and smile just as much as I would cry (Okay, so maybe I cried a bit more than laughed… But I definitely still laughed).  While the book starts off with his death and funeral, the ensuing chapters delve into the sweet relationship between a mother and son, the hard conversations they share as they each face a progressive disease, and the sweet, deep, introspective thoughts and desires of a boy wise beyond his years.

It’s been a tough read, I won’t lie.  But the life of this little boy, his amazing ability to tackle hard subjects, to choose to make good out of every given situation, to get the last laugh, and to never let his disability hold him back, told from the perspective of his mom deserves every minute of my time, my tears, and my laughter.

I’ll give a full review once I’m finished, but if any of you are looking for a great book with meaning and purpose and inspiration, go grab it.  And if it’s maybe too much for you, still take the time to check out Mattie’s website and learn about his life and his cause.  It’s worth it.

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