As an editor in a digital world, it amazes me how so many papers still find their way to my inbox.

As a self-professed bibliophile, lucky for me, lots of books also find their way to my inbox. Some are good, some are really really bad and (fortunately for me) some have no relevance to my “beat.”

I’m not sure how this book made it my way, but I’m glad it did. It’s the memoir of Joel Siegel called, Lessons for Dylan: On Life, Love, the Movies, and Me.

lessons.gifI took the liberty of taking the book into my pump room yesterday and then again onto the train. Let’s just say, right after I laughed out loud, I started crying on the train; not necessarily out of sadness, but as a result of heartfelt compassion. Siegel’s words, all things considered, are truly moving.

I’m only on the third chapter, but I still feel compelled to tell you all about it. Joel Siegel who passed last June, was a film critic for Good Morning America for over 25 years. He became a father for the first time at 54. Just as he began his journey into fatherhood, he learned he had colorectal cancer. The book documents the things he wants to tell his son, in case he isn’t around to do it personally.
His words, especially the profound anecdotes, evoke the love a father has for his son. (who just so happened to rub elbows with celebrities like the Beatles)

Then one day in his school they were talking about pets dying, and Dylan said, ‘My dad might be dying.’ And that was my motivation for this book. If I died, I didn’t want his memories of me to be of my dying. I wanted him to know me as someone who spent his life living. My best memories of my dad were of him laughing.”

But most importantly, it’s the resilient plight of a cancer patient who remains grounded and can easily find the humor in the mundane.

Dear Dylan,
One day you might remember–maybe triggered by a photograph, or a sense memory of a texture or a color–the soft, grey cashmere sweater I bought for you for your second birthday. As an adult you may wonder, “What kind of schmuck buys a cashmere sweater for a two year-old boy?”

The answer is: A schmuck who tempts fate.

In not so many words, Joel Siegel’s memoir hits close to home. It’s a great read so far and I can’t wait to dive further into it this weekend. My recommendation is a far cry from Oprah’s book club, but if you like memoirs, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one.

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