March 17, 2016
Find the Good
Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende
Finished on October 29, 2015
Rating: 3/5 (So-so)
As the obituary writer in a spectacularly beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska, Heather Lende knows something about last words and lives well lived. Now she’s distilled what she’s learned about how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life into three words: find the good. It’s that simple--and that hard.
Quirky and profound, individual and universal, Find the Good offers up short chapters that help us unlearn the habit--and it is a habit--of seeing only the negatives. Lende reminds us that we can choose to see any event--starting a new job or being laid off from an old one, getting married or getting divorced--as an opportunity to find the good. As she says, “We are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live. The best news is that there’s still time for additions and revisions before it goes to press.”
Ever since Algonquin published her first book, the New York Times bestseller If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name, Heather Lende has been praised for her storytelling talent and her plainspoken wisdom. The Los Angeles Times called her “part Annie Dillard, part Anne Lamott,” and that comparison has never been more apt as she gives us a fresh, positive perspective from which to view our relationships, our obligations, our priorities, our community, and our world.
An antidote to the cynicism and self-centeredness that we are bombarded with every day in the news, in our politics, and even at times in ourselves, Find the Good helps us rediscover what’s right with the world.
I read Heather Lende’s previous book, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, in the summer of 2012 and wrote about it here. I was thrilled to see her new book on the shelving cart at work and quickly snatched up a copy for a quick peek. I wish I could say I loved it as well as her previous book, but this one fell flat and left me wishing for something a bit more substantial. I love essays and thought this collection might be similar to Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, but alas not. I didn’t even find any passages to mark and share. However, I haven’t given up on Lende and still plan to read If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name.
Start with Lende's earlier books and then grab a copy of this one from your library. You can also find her blog here.