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The Thing about Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead by David Shields
The Thing about Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead

mollymalcolm, February 24, 2008

I turned 35 this year, and I am suddenly very aware of my aging. It's not the physical changes in themselves that bother me so much, it’s realizing that they are the warning signs of my “imminent” death. The Thing About Life has been quite a cathartic confrontation for me. The statistics of how our bodies atrophy were penetrating and persistent. I was seeing my body turning into ashes as I read the chapters and I didn’t want that! The rawness of Shields’ writing, his laugh out-loud anecdotes, and the hope Shields’ father was giving me, as the exception to all the statistics, made all the cold hard facts disappear. As he kept forcing me to stare death in the face, suddenly what had been terrifying and uncomfortable wasn’t so much anymore. He turned death into a well known friend (well, one that you’d like to keep at a distance). I couldn’t put the book down. Shields has such an ability to laugh at himself. His boldness and freedom in the way he exposes himself takes you on a journey as if you where under his skin. And you love the ride. I came out the other end feeling like the weight of death had been lifted off my back, with an acceptance of the bitter-sweet reality of being alive, and the feeling of not wanting to waste another second.
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