Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Life Is So Good, by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman
George Dawson earned fame by learning to read at age 98. When the book was finished, George had reached 101. He didn't use a wheelchair, he had all his marbles and teeth and he was going to school. He related his life story to Richard Glaubman who helped put together this book. George was studying for his GED when he died in 2001 from a stroke.
He was born in 1898, lived and worked and raised a family and retired (but not really) all through the 20th century and was studying hard into the 21st. Amazing. The book covers mostly his childhood years and early adulthood with brief visits post retirement and when he started to learn to read. Richard isn't just a ghost writer. He's a part of George's story. Richard brings George books, newspaper articles, asks questions about major historic events and how George remembered them. Being illiterate most of his life, he only heard about the stuff that happened that everybody talked about. He worked hard and did his best to keep out of trouble and tried not too worry much.
Reading this book was like visiting a grandmother and just getting a story about her life here and there. It's not an exhaustive auotbiography, it's a collection of snapshots of indelible impressions.
I was impressed that even though George was never what anyone would call "rich", he appeared to be content most of the time. The gratitude he had for everything he worked for and everything he was given was truly humbling.
I wouldn't have any problem with any of my kids reading this book. I think our teens would be better people if they could adopt George's work ethic, his penchant for doing what's right and optimistic though realistic point of view.