I adore the times spent with my fellow members of the Paige Turner Book Club...but I have a literary appetite that simply cannot be sated with just one book a month. This blog is a place for me to talk about more of my reading adventures. Reviews, summaries, highlights, warnings, praises and quotes. Because after all, it can be a jungle...er...savannah...out there.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Hand to Guide Me

I’m a sucker for inspiring material, and this book is chock full of it. Denzel Washington is a spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He was active in the program when he was younger, and says “it was where I learned how to play ball, where I learned how to focus and set my mind on a goal, where I learned about consequences, and where I learned how to be a man.” That’s high praise. And in this book Denzel Washington brings together seventy-four others to talk about people who have inspired and shaped their lives. To borrow the words of the book sleeve, “Those voices join in the moving chorus of a book that pays tribute to the love and generosity of people taking time to help one another, lifting one life at a time.”

From a literary standpoint, it’s an “easy read.” The chapters are short. The language is informal. And the stories are very approachable.

But this is a book I will own because of the little “gems” scattered throughout the seventy-four stories. The personalities in the book are from all over. Some of them I instantly recognized. Some I recognized because of the company they keep. Others were totally unfamiliar. Some come from supportive families, and some from troubled pasts. But each and every one had a story to tell about someone who helped to shape his or her life. Some of the inspiration was the “long-term legacy” variety and some was the “random pivotal moment” variety. The presence of both makes this book poignant and relevant. Because you never know who’s watching. And you never know how you might just change someone’s life with a well spoken word or a right action in a difficult moment.

Legacy. It’s a beautiful thing.

"Change happens. The key is to keep reaching for that guiding hand and to keep extending our own. So go ahead. Train up a child in the way he should go...and watch what happens." ~ Denzel Washington