The Apostle Paul said, “…we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint…” These truths – which are much more easily read on paper than experienced in one’s own life – are given full display in Abigail Wilson’s new memoir The Day Between. The story of a troubled pregnancy with twins is told with an easy pace and sympathetic voice that draws the reader deeper into the life of its author. All the while, the story is continually turned to reveal how God is concerned about the minutiae of every moment. Moving and rich, Wilson’s journey cannot help but make one be thankful for all the good in their life.
A true life account of a mother’s struggle with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome might not make it easily on to your stack of books to read; however, you would be missing on a heartfelt tale of love that is full of suspense and insight. We have all had those moments of waiting – whether it’s for the next shoe to drop or for the next period of life to start. The Day Between shows how even in the most trying times grace and help are able to be found. There are no hollow encouragements here, but strong words borne from experience. The weight of this tough time of life is balanced though by Wilson’s free flowing words and self-effacing humor. The reader never feels like the load is more than they ought to carry even if the author feels that way herself. It’s a testimony to the prayer: “…the nearness of my God is my good…” (Psalm 73:28).
No real spoiler – the story has a happy result. It always does when there’s new life.
8.5 stars out of 10
photo: Anna Middlebrook
Continuing in a nonfiction frame of mind, my latest read is a remarkable true story of a young Australian’s journey across the Outback alone save for her four camels. Ms. Davidson’s story took place over thirty year ago and this book has been in print since then. Somehow, even though I have read plenty of solo travel stories, I missed out on this one until I saw the trailer for the new movie of the same name.
The story is not a story of adventure but one of becoming. Initially Robyn rails against the racism and misogyny of 1970’s Australia, but she continually reveals her own hypocrisy in her jaded treatment of others. She pushes everyone away and is unlikeable. Yet what draws the reader forward is her direct honesty and perspective of her situations. Few memoirs I have read have been able to capture such a level of understanding – even in hindsight. She sees her faults and is able to progress past. Not to never repeat them, but with a constant struggle to best her faults. An admirable pursuit and one that says, “Anyone can overcome with effort.”
Davidson spends years learning the camel trade even though she had no prior experience. She draws together resources and equipment while being flat broke. She allows herself to be followed by National Geographic even though she is a commited loner. These are barriers to be conquered head on. While there is no real peril in the book, even during her walk through the desert, the consistent effort she exerts is a force that makes nature submit to her will. She may say that she submitted to nature’s will.
The animals are worth a mention. They are the underlying heart of the story. Recalcitrant, imposing, yet reliable and faithful, the four camels are the real muscle and sinew that make the walk possible. They are fascinating – whether because they’re portrayed as human or because of their idiosyncrasies. They make an American glad to have horses yet envious of their imperviousness to wearing down. Diggity, Robyn’s dog, is presented as the heart of the tale, but this rings a little untrue. She may be Robyn’s heart, but she plays a key foil of devotion to Robyn’s exclusion.
It seems almost not right to reveal much about the aboriginal characters in the story except to say that they possess a humanity that one aches for.
The film, based on the National Geographic pictures that accompanied the initial article, is a visual delight. Unlike many films, it did not drum up adventures to make it more appealing. It left the story unvarnished. Even if it didn’t capture the essence of Ms. Davidson’s writing, it is beautiful.
Check out the trailer here: Tracks (trailer)
7.5 out of 10 stars