3 out of 4 stars
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And Then I Met Margaret by Rob White is a non-fiction novel told through the viewpoint of the author himself. Mr. White recounts several pivotal moments in his life and how these moments changed him and those around him for the better. Every chapter is dedicated to a single pivotal point, and every chapter ends in a bittersweet and/or heartwarming life-lesson. Mr. White has written this book with the intention of passing on the culmination of his wisdom to the readers, so that they might benefit as well.
Each chapter is dedicated to its own theme; however, my personal favorite would have to be the story from the first chapter. In this chapter, we learn of Mr. White’s aunt who became a sort of a small town pariah due to her unmarried status and was deemed an “old maid.” Despite this name that was sure to cause her emotional harm, she always played the old maid card game with Mr. White in his childhood. In his childhood naivety, he would call his aunt “old maid” whenever she (purposely) lost a game. She did this because the game brought great joy to Mr. White. It was only on her death bed that she revealed that she purposely lost each game just to see him smile. Deeply moved by his aunt’s actions, Mr. White then has the opportunity to pay his aunt’s actions forward when he takes the proverbial ax for an employee’s mistake. Although he is fired for this, his boss realized what Mr. White had done and offered a recommendation that would catapult Mr. White’s then dream career of teaching.
However, I do not think that Mr. White was quite done paying it forward with just that instance. This book is dedicated toward helping people. Through this book, Mr. White continues to pay it forward. In these turbulent times, regardless of what your background is, everyone should try to do small acts of kindness. These small acts can sometimes transform the lives around you and they may even transform yours. This particular chapter was all for urging others to pay it forward too. But Mr. White practices what he preaches. Every chapter has a small nugget of wisdom embedded into it. These nuggets are hidden among the short stories of Mr. White’s personal life.
Discovering these hidden nuggets and reading the stories behind them usually left me with a warm feeling in my heart. The only complaint I have was that not all the stories seemed to be realistic. A couple sounded too good to be true. With the credibility of the story in question, often the message behind it also seemed questionable. I was reminded of the cringey time in high school when a motivational speaker was invited. He used the same method as Mr. White to tell stories of his personal lives to convey motivational messages, except most of his stories had clear holes in them. These holes distracted me from the messages that were behind the stories. I felt the same way as I read some of the too-good-to-be-true stories from Mr. White.
Despite this one complaint, Mr. White did a fantastic job with the rest of the chapters. Many were so persuasive that I found myself pondering over my own life after I had read the book. I found myself mulling over each lesson, even if some seemed sub-par. I will have to take down one star for the stories that seemed flaky, but even those were somewhat thought-provoking. Thus, I rate this book a 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this book to audiences of all ages. Its messages are universal in nature, and everyone can benefit from them. Even if you do not agree with each message, you will find this book mentally stimulating.
And Then I Met Margaret
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