Saturday, September 13, 2014

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

     Did you ever read something that touched and retouched your life in some way? Well today I'd like to recommend one of my favorite stories for this month's book selection...Suzanne's Diary For Nicholas by James Patterson. This is not a new book; in fact it was was written twelve years ago. I first read it not long after it was published and chose to reread it this month. I had originally found this book on display at a store that I had stopped at on my way home from work one day. It was a few days before my family and I were scheduled to go on vacation, and I was rushing around trying to get things crossed off my 'to do list' before we left. I was working late hours at work in anticipation of being off the following week, and I had a ton of things that needed to get done at home as well.
 The cover of the book is initially what caught my was of a sandy ocean trail leading to the ocean. A quick glance through the book revealed that it was about a diary written by a mother for her son, and took place on Martha's Vineyard. A friend and I had attended a health care conference in Boston a few years before, and took a tour of Martha's Vineyard on one of our days off. I absolutely fell in love with the place. One of my favorite cook book authors and bloggers, Susan Branch, lives on Martha's Vineyard and always makes it sound like such a quaint place to live. I was sold on the setting of the story already. I also adore doing sentimental things as a mom for my children; so a book about a mother writing a diary for her son was right up my alley. This seemed like the perfect light 'beach read' to bring on vacation, and I decided to buy it. I couldn't help myself, and I started to read the book that night. The story dragged me in and I had to force myself to stop reading or I'd finish it before we even began on our trip.
     The book is a  sentimental love story with a bit of mystery and a surprise ending thrown in. As I was reading it for the first time I became enamored with one of the main characters, Matt. Yet the author threw in some tidbits that made you think you shouldn't trust him...or should you? I won't give the details away but will say it is a quick read and a touching story. I will add that there is a part that made me cry...literally cry with full fledged tears running down my face. Luckily, I had gotten up early on vacation one morning to read as the rest of my family slept. I was glad I had, because otherwise I would have had to explain to everyone why Mommy was crying as she read. Was I just being insanely emotional? Maybe, but a few of my friends who later read the book said it made them cry as well.
     So, why did I choose to reread this story now, and why did I decide to write this post today? Well, today marks the one year anniversary of the accident that I briefly mentioned on my "about" page. I had said that my extended medical leave from work after the accident had afforded me a lot of time to reflect on many things. I had mentioned "juggling the balls" that represented my various roles, and the need to focus more on the meaningful things while trying to achieve a better balance in life. Those statements actually elude to a quote from this book:  "Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends and integrity. And you're keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls -family, health, friends, integrity- are made of glass. If you drop one of these it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life."
     So, as the one year anniversary of my accident approached, I decided to reread this book. With the encouragement of my family and a very dear friend, I also decided to start this blog as a place where I could focus on things that bring me the most happiness...creating a cozy home and great memories with my family and friends.
     Shortly after my accident, one of my friends whose family was also going through a challenging time, gave me an Alex and Ani bracelet. The charm on it was an anchor and the attached card said it represented Hope/Tranquility/Stability and it read "Holding fast and steady despite the elements, the anchor is a symbol of stability, hope and peace. The anchor allows us to keep a clear mind amidst the tides of life. An emblem of good luck, wear the anchor charm for courage, safety and peace of mind." That bracelet has become a staple in my wardrobe over this past year. I had also purchased a Pandora bracelet and  some meaningful charms for another special friend who had gone out of her way to help me and my family in the weeks following my accident. Ironically, while rereading Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, I came across another quote that mentioned charm bracelets and memories..."Good memories are like charms. Each one is special. You collect them one by one, until one day you look back and discover they make a long colorful bracelet". This book was touching me again, even in new ways the second time around.
     There were other parallels in this story that touched my life at this time as well. In addition to the fact that a car accident impacts the life of the characters in the story, Suzanne, the mom, suffers a heart attack at a young age. Well since the first time I read this book, the husband of another long time friend of mine had a heart attack at a young age and additionally had to deal with another serious diagnosis. They had small children at the time. Again, reminders of how special life with those we love is, and how important it is to treasure each day and treat it like a gift.
     So, this post ended up being much longer and much sappier than I had intended. However, I hope you'll take my recommendation and read this James Patterson book if you haven't already. And maybe in addition to a good story, you'll walk away with some pearls of advice too. The opening page of the edition I have says "Don't wait to tell someone you love them."...Great story, great advice, words to live by!

No comments:

Post a Comment