4 out of 4 stars
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And Then I Met Margaret: Stories of Ordinary Gurus I’ve Met is a self-help non-fiction by Rob White that records lessons he had gained throughout his life’s journey.
The author revealed in the first few chapters about the small town he grew up, where most of the men graduate from high school and later work in one of the two factories while women usually get married, give births and contribute to their household. After the introduction the author then brought in the first guru he’s known since little—Aunt Theresa. He described how Aunt Theresa would often ‘lose’ a card game to him while he was young just to protect him from being upset. I realized as I revised the book that this first chapter had intrigued me more than many other first chapters of self-help book, which is what lead to another praise for And Then I Met Margaret.
Despite the rigid picture of deep words and long chapters of non-fiction, this book is divided into short chapters each featuring a lesson. The first few chapters start off with introductions of the town he grew up, for example, ‘Small towns, like the one where I grew up, survive because the pull of tradition is stronger than the outside forces that propel the younger generation into the larger world in search of excitement and prosperity.’ On the other hand, the rest of the chapters begin by the filling in of the circumstances he was in. I absolutely adore the strong and vivid descriptions of the chapters’ beginning in the later parts of the book, but mostly the strong picture in the initial parts that gives off the atmosphere of the traditional small town. I remember how I was intrigued by the fact that men gain recognition by their fathers’ gaits and so young men practice how to walk like their father.
After finished the book, I am most impressed by how the author managed to discover the courage to break the traditions and learn standing on his own feet. The first time he went opposite a tradition was when he felt satisfied by a new haircut called ‘the winner’s cut’, instead of getting the traditional ‘Doyle’s bowl cut’. It was the first event that leaded him to think if he was going to live the defined life in the small town for the rest of his life, that leaded to the today him.
Frankly speaking, I’m more into the first few chapters perhaps because those are the things similar to what I’m going through or have gone through in earlier life. This is also why my favorite—also the one I can relate myself the most with—‘reality I discovered’ by the author is ‘Magic deliberately happens because of me’. One of the author’s gurus, Uncle Fred intelligently used ‘black cat’ as a reflection of negative thinking to hint the author that most of the time because of ‘the black cat’, people are stuck in the moment of not moving forward towards their dreams. I think I might be holding onto this concept for a very long time until it becomes a habit.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Not only are the words easy to get to your heart, but the sometimes humorous way of writing also lures me to continue turning the pages. Most importantly of all, the author reminds us that our gurus can be anywhere and you might learn something in any occasion as long as you keep your eyes open and learn every lesson by heart. In the end, I suppose, the attitude of living a better life and becoming a better person determine if this book work for you.
And Then I Met Margaret
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