So this week we finish up our first Mamatoga Book Club title Lift by Kelly Corrigan. If you still want to read this very quick read and take part in our book club you can catch up here and here. In the meantime, let's discuss last week's comments and questions and then I'll give some final questions on the title for this week's discussion. One of the questions last week had to do with the tragedy of the author's cousin when she lost her son Aaron. Our question regarding this part of the book was "What is the impact of witnessing a tragedy? How do we internalize the things that happen around us? Can there be an element of “lift” in a tragedy or are some experiences of tragedy lift-less?" Our favorite Book Clubber Tess had a great response to this:
By witnessing a tragedy I think a person has no control over whether they will internalize it. My sister and I once saw a motorcyclist get thrown from his bike by trying to avoid an accident. Now whenever I am driving near a biker I am extra careful and leave plenty of space just in case he comes off his bike for any reason. If I hadn’t seen that accident I may not be so careful around them. Of course this is not a tragedy but it could have been one. If a minor accident can affect a person just imagine if a tragedy occured. It would have a person rethink their life. In Corrigan’s case it could be one of the reasons why she is writing to her daughter. Yes she has cancer and she knows her time is limited, but if the unthinkable happens she probably wants her family to know her thoughts and feelings. To let them know she loves them and was always thinking of them. Whether this is a reason Corrigan wrote this book will be unknown, but in a way I think this could be a “lift” moment from Aaron’s tragedy. To be sure your loved ones know for sure that you love and think of them because someone else didn’t get to say it before they were taken,I know I would be lifted by reading something like this from a family member.
I totally agree with Tess, a person has no control over whether they will or how they internalize a tragedy, even if they think they do. Sometimes the effects of being part of or witnessing a tragedy come out years later in ways that aren't even recognizable as being related to the tragedy. I also agree that maybe the "lift" aspect from the tragedy with Aaron is that it made Corrigan want to share things with her daughters she might have waited to share, or might have not shared at all. I got the feeling that Corrigan was a little unsure of how to get these ideas and feelings across to her daughters, and that sense was more because it was perhaps something she thought she would tell them later on in life, or something she never thought she would actually put down in words. The lift aspect of the tragedy is that she takes less for granted, and wants to make sure she at least tried to tell her daughters how she feels about them. My final question for this book relates to my first question about the title and what the word "lift" means to you. Did that change after reading this book or did it stay the same? For me, it changed a little bit. The first thing that changed was that maybe the idea of "lift" isn't something that is always asked for, or wanted. Thinking of little children, sometimes they ask to be picked up, sometimes you have to pick them up without them wanting it, even if its for their own good, and that made me think of Corrigan. In some ways, if you're looking at her reaction to her cousin's tragedy, it wasn't a lift that she was looking for but she got one nonetheless, and it was something that we can assume improved her life, and the lives of her family as well. I also stick by what I said in the beginning, that the word "lift" in some ways implies a new space to fall through, and that there is a scary aspect of that. After finishing the book I still feel that same way, that part of the reason the lift can feel exhilarating is because of the fear attached, which is in a lot of ways what parenthood is all about. Let us know how you felt about the book readers. What did you like, what didn't you like? What would you have changed? Would you read another title by Kelly Corrigan? We are currently trying to decide which title to read next and would greatly appreciate any suggestions, so let us know and happy reading Mamatogians!