The Book Club

In this week’s edition, I once again decided to go around campus and ask a few fellow Lawrentians for their own book recommendations. After reading the printed copies of The Lawrentian over the past few weeks, I realized that they have all been bursting with recommended fictitious works. This is fine, of course, but there’s no harm in having a bit of a variety, right? So, I decided that this week’s prompt should focus on books that stemmed from true stories, and I asked a couple of Lawrentians about their favorite memoirs.  

The first student I talked to was freshman Alan Garza, who recommended the well-acclaimed memoir The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It follows the author and her strange family as she goes through the numerous trials of childhood. Walls’ father is a brilliant man who loves to drink, and her mother is a free spirit who doesn’t want to bear the burden of raising a family, so Walls and her siblings are left to raise themselves. “The book also feels like a tour of the United States, since they would have to move over and over again because the dad would get sick of his job and want to start over somewhere new,” Garza pointed out. Garza feels that this book is significant and easy for many to relate to since it highlights both the importance of family, the overwhelming dysfunctionality that it can have and the impact this can have on a child as they grow up. If you aren’t afraid to cry, The Glass Castle may be the perfect pick for you.  

Isabella Sutter, another freshman, also tackled the prompt for this week and decided to recommend Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain. Sutter explained that, “The book follows Brittain, who lives in England at the start of World War I, and it documents her journey as she tries to go to Oxford in order to become a writer but her plans abruptly changed. We watch as she struggles with a lot of loss throughout the book as she tries to find her way in the world, while simultaneously doing what she can for the war effort.” It really drew in Sutter due to the beautiful prose that Brittain incorporates into the pages and it is perfect for readers who aren’t too scared of a longer book. This one also happens to be a tearjerker, which seems to be the continuous theme for this week.  

My own recommendation for this week is Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Albom. Readers watch as Mitch rekindles his friendship with his old college professor, Morrie, and they begin to have one final class that provides lessons on how to live. They meet every Tuesday in Morrie’s study as he lays dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and we watch as his condition worsens as the book continues. Together they cover a range of difficult topics, such as death, regrets, money, old age and family. This is a book that you can learn a lot from, so I would definitely recommend it to everyone and anyone who may be in need of some life advice right about now. Though, like the other recommendations, it’ll pull at your heartstrings and make you cry, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.  

That’s it for this week’s recommendations! If you’re in need of a good cry and want to read about someone else’s life story, this may be the perfect week of recommendations for you.