Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Can a Story Save Your Life?

I read just such an intriguing post today by LuAnn Schindler. She recounts a friend asking, “Have you ever read a story that saved your life?” Schindler notes she’s read many books that resonated with her and believes the answer to her friend’s question may lie in how you define the word “save”.

To Kill a Mockingbird Schindler argues saved her from spreading prejudice and injustice; The Great Gatsby from greed and misplaced love; Macbeth from using ambition in the wrong way. Still, she’s unsure whether those works saved her rather than simply relating to the ideas within a book’s pages and applying them to our lives.

As an author and recovering alcoholic, I thought about Shades of Darkness, Shades of Grace. I do think it’s possible for a book to at least begin the process of saving an individual from something such as alcoholism if the reader is willing to acknowledge the existence of the problem. And quite frankly, I hope that story within the novel does save someone from the ravages of chemical dependency.

So in response to Schindler’s musings, I believe a story at least has the potential to save someone, but as she notes in her examples, a person must be open to a story’s message.

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