book reviews

featured book review

honoring echo by theophanes avery

Memoirs are tricky things by their very nature. A view of a life through the lens of the subject who will almost certainly lack objectivity on the events and people they describe. As such, I usually take them with a grain of salt, never knowing how much of what is described is a straight retelling of what happened, and how much the writer is attempting to shape the narrative to suit their own view of their lives and their actions.

What I can say about this memoir by Theophanes Avery is that the author is letting it all hang out here: the good, the bad, and the ugly. By turns funny, touching, tumultuous, and even horrifying, there is a lot of ground to cover. Chronic illness, gender and sexual identity, emotional abuse, the confusion and terror of trying to find one's place in the world are all touched on wrapped up in a tale that takes us from childhood through a fraught relationship, a harrowing and humorous road trip, farming adventures and misadventures, all accompanied by stunning photos.

There is a lot of ground covered and for my taste, if it had been edited down a little further, it would have been even more effective, but this is both a very brave document of a life as well as an entertaining page turner. Recommend reading it on a tablet to best appreciate the beautiful color photographs spread throughout the text. For readers who can appreciate an honest and revealing story of a search for wisdom, peace, and meaning in one writer's life and who might benefit from the insight and lessons learned along the way.

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