Feb. 26, 2015

KUDOS TO DANIEL JAMES BROWN

The writer is hunched over his laptop.

 Knock on the door.

 “I’ve just got to read this to you.” And she plops on the edge of the bed. My wife is not a sports person but on the recommendation of friends she bought, The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown. The sport is competitive rowing.

 She was a soccer mom, and before that a swimming mom, but the sports held no fascination for her. If her kids had chosen differently she could have been a lawn-bowling mom. I know this and I’m curious about what she’s found.

 She’s at 56% when she finds the, you gotta’ hear this, part. She brings me up to date on the protagonist’s struggles and what the coach has done to help him tap his considerable talent. Then, as the first word of the text drops from her mouth, I hear her voice catch.

 As she reads the tears roll, little ones, but they keep coming. No matter, she keeps on reading. “It’s about how these poor boys learned humility through their struggles,” she says.

 Something about this story has reached this point for this reader and she is with the storyteller in the most vulnerable way. It means something to her. No one else has underlined this part. This reader is inventing the story with the author now, and D.J. Brown should be proud.

 “Bookmark it so I can find it later,” I say. She leaves to keep reading.

 Later, I’ve finished the sauté and she stands at the dining table, reader in hand. “Wait,” she says, “I’m right at the end of the race in Poughkeepsie. Washington is at 4o strokes per minute and they are coming up on Cal.” She pulls out her chair, “Well,” she says. “Well, well, well.”

 What more can a writer ask?

 I’ve been writing about the reflective reader over several blogs and I suddenly know why. I’m married to one.

 Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their epic Quest For the Gold at the 1936 Olympics. [Buy Here]