Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Review: Tell My Sons

Several things hooked me when it comes to this book.  I'm always eager to read a book about the relationship between fathers and sons and when it comes with an endorsement by Mitch Albom, I'm sold.  Then, I noticed the sub-title: "A Father's Last Letters."  Oh, no.  Another end-of-life missive.  I'm such a sucker for these lately, even though they make me cry.

Lt. Colonel Mark M. Weber's book, Tell My Sons, is chock full of courage in the face of adversity.  With a military career on the brink of an exciting new assignment, Mark is diagnosed with some form of pancreatic cancer.  It is stage four.  I think one of the things I liked about this book was that the author approached his diagnosis in such a fear-less manner.  He is honest and vulnerable, but often unfazed by the cards he has been dealt.  His goal is to "just get on with it."  He returns to work and continues to attempt to keep things as normal for his family as possible.  Of course, normal is difficult when doctors have carved you open and left a giant open wound.  Typical of his fear-less nature, the author takes it upon himself to dress and care for the wound (and even names it "Buford").

Keeping a personal journal for twenty years prior to this gave the author plenty to draw from for inspiration.  The book is full of personal stories and gentle insights.  I think my favorite line in the whole book (because I could relate to it so fully, with a house full of destructive boys) was: "I once heard my dad yell that we owed him at least fifteen thousand dollars for all the doors, vehicle interiors, tools, and home furnishings we damaged or destroyed."  Ha!  I think I've heard something similar to that yelled in our house a time or two. 

While at times, I think the author comes off as a bit too intense, his life-lessons are apt and well-written.  This was a quick read. I was saddened when I learned from his Caringbridge site that he passed away in June of this year. Now if only my sons were devoted readers, I could pass this on to them and know that they would gain some wonderful advice for life.

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