Shane's Reviews > Fear and Courage: True stories that reveal the depths of the human experience

Fear and Courage by Renee Hollis
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it was amazing

This is not a review, I’ll be up front. I have one of my stories included in this anthology, so how can it be a review? However, I felt that this book would not have come to be published if the writers of this anthology hadn’t chosen to write about their subjects (many of whom are not writers and would never have been able to tell their stories otherwise), and the best thing I could do as a writer was to highlight to the world, that these kinds of stories also do exist apart from those of the rich and famous, and that they too are well worth reading (and for me, writing) for their authenticity.

These twenty-five, 1500-word pieces come from the English speaking world of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, and the USA. They are written by mature writers (i.e. 60 years and above) and deal with the fear experienced in venturing into the unknown and how the overcoming of that fear lends the doer the mantle of courage, leaving lessons behind for others. Some examples:
1) The 69-year old camping in Florida is bitten by a recluse spider and develops gangrene
2) The 65-year old circumnavigates Ellesmere Island and discovers the difference between pain(unavoidable) and suffering (avoidable).
3) The 21-year old social worker, investigating a case of child abuse, has a shotgun pointed her by the abuser.
4) The 65-year old Canadian-Italian grandmother tells her adult granddaughter how Grandpa wanted to use a condom for more regular sex after the Catholic Church permitted birth control, leading to a schism in the marriage.
5) The 12-year old boy escaping the London blitz to Canada witnesses a Canadian convoy being bombed by German U boats.

There are stories of “first time plunges,” whether that is a gay woman “coming out” in the 1980’s in conservative Toronto, or a swimmer’s first dive off a diving board, or the first time a naturist disrobed in public, or the public singing debut by a 70-year old. There are stories of illness, of cancer not only striking the protagonist but also members of the family at the same time. There are indigenous stories: the Maori woman sailing 800 km over four days in a gale to die in her beloved Chatham Islands; or the Maori man going inside an MRI machine for a shoulder scan, suffering the anguish of incarceration, and fleeing the hospital when he is told that he may have to come back for a retake.

My story was about my father, an 88-year old who has cheated death so many times that I titled it “Outliving the Cat.” I am glad I did, for Dad is not a writer, and this was one of the best gifts I gave him by leaving his life lessons for others to gain from.

Each story is headlined with a quote from a famous writer such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Maya Angelou or Stephen Hawking. But the one that stuck for me was a quote by 70-year old in one of the stories who is dying: “In acceptance lies peace.”

In these times of shortened attention spans and the trend towards non-fiction, this collection makes for a quick and timely read. I told you, this was not a review!
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Reading Progress

April 29, 2019 – Shelved
April 29, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
November 23, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Krista (new)

Krista What a fantastic project.

message 2: by Ronald (new)

Ronald Mackay This must be a really good book, Shane -- you are not one to give five stars on a whim! I must read this one!

Shane Thank you Krista. It is.

Shane Ron, it fits in right with the memoir category, except they are short stories, i.e. 25 short memoirs

message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda Hutsell-Manning Sounds very interesting. Congrats on being part of the anthology!

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