Where I Live Now by Sharon Butala
Where I Live Now
Sharon Butala is from my home province of Saskatchewan. She was born in Nipawin and that happens to be 42.8 kilometres from where my wife is from.
Butala's brand new book is an engrossing tale of healing following the death of her husband, Peter, in 2007. It begins with memories and longing in Calgary after a 31 year marriage spent in Eastend, Saskatchewan. When my eyes let go at the end of page 167 I thought I was released from Butala's wise, and empathetic, grasp; I was not and her words swim through my brain still and show no intention of leaving.
Butala observes herself grieving as it happens and reports back like David Attenborough might in a documentary. A big difference being that she does not explain her behaviour so much as wonder about it while commiserating with the reader. The conclusions she comes to are lessons derived from her own bespoke process. A connection between that process and all those that might mourn is established simply by requiring the reader's muscle of interpretation. While reading I found it natural to connect Butala's experiences with my own while necessarily observing the gulf between the two. My own partnership with her words provided great insight into my own grief without having the feeling of forcing the wrong puzzle pieces together. A sympathetic, thoughtful, and honest tale of Sharon Butala's personal journey. I implore you to give it a read.
Year of Magical Thinking by John Didion
--reviewed by Neil Hendry
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