Life Is So Good

Friday, January 25, 2013


Life Is So Good
One Man's Extraordinary Journey through the 20th Century and How he
Learned to Read at Age 98
by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman
★★★★

George Dawson is more than 100 years old as he reflects back on his life. He worked on his family’s farm at an incredibly young age. At 12 he was sent to live on another farm so he could help make money to support his family. He has such a sincere and wonderful view of life. The man who wrote the book with him, Glaubman, has “book learning,” but he doesn’t know everything George knows about the way the world works, etc.

He always wanted to learn how to read, but instead he worked so his younger siblings could go to school. The race issues in the book are heartbreaking. He knew how dangerous it was to be a black man growing up in the newly freed south. He grew up listening to the stories of slavery from his grandmother who lived through the Civil War. At one point he meets as soldier that has just returned from fighting in France during WWII. The man tells George that in Paris you could eat in a restaurant right next to a white man, but he couldn’t do that in the country that he was fighting for.

The book is more about his entire life than it is about him learning to read, which is what makes it so fascinating. He worked in dozens of jobs, moved about, tried new things, etc. He just lived such a full and generous life. It wasn’t that he did anything that remarkable, it‘s the sheer fact that he lived such a long life and saw so much. The book is full of the simple wisdom that can only come from a life of experiences.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s a quick read and a beautiful reminder that life really is so good.

“Unless a man asks for advice, he don’t really want it. He isn’t gonna thank you for something he don’t need yet. See, I might think I know what’s best for him, but I don’t know what is really in that man’s heart.”

“People forget that a picture ain’t made from just one color. Life ain’t all good or all bad. It’s full of everything.”

“A man is supposed to work and take pride in what he does no matter what the work is.”

“People that wouldn’t even be speaking to each other can talk on a train.”

“Be generous in your dealings, but always have something saved for rainy weather.”

Image from here.

6 comments:

Alyce said...

That looks like a wonderful book! I like the bit he said about advice - it would be so good to remember that.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Alyce - I thought so too. I know I've given advice to people when I should have just kept my mouth shut.

Jenners said...

I think I need to save this for when I need a bit of a pep talk or perspective on life.

Heather said...

I read this a few years ago and thought it was just the sweetest, most awe-inspiring book. Plus, I just LOVED George. What a wonderful man.

Kat @ NoPageLeftBehind said...

Awww, this sounds like the perfect book to lift the spirits!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jenners - It's perfect for an encouraging pick-me-up.

Heather - Wasn't George just wonderful! I love that he had multiple wives because he kept out living them, but he made it so clear that he was always 100% faithful to his wife.

Kat - It really is. I'm glad my book club picked it, otherwise I might have missed it.