The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life
by Robert Goolrick
I was mesmerized by A Reliable Wife when I read it last month. Mesmerized. That was actually the word I used in the review. I knew this was an author I had to keep up with. So when I found out about his memoir from a couple of years ago I read some of the reviews at Amazon to see what the general buzz was. That's when I read a big spoiler. Now, normally I hate that. I make a point to flag my reviews with brightly colors letters when I might be giving anything away because some people don't want to know before hand. They like to experience it while they read. In this case I was glad for it. I came into my reading time knowing what to expect and it allowed me time to brace myself.
Robert Goolrick's memoir is set up in a unique manner. He starts at the present and works his way backward, making many rabbit trails along the way. The chapters start off lighthearted and interesting as he describes his dad, his mom, his mentally challenged aunt. But soon we see a foreboding. He moves us through his time in a mental hospital because of his breakdown. He tells his readers of his suicide attempt. All of this groundwork is laid out, working backward, toward the one event in his life that would change him irrevocably. This memoir will not be for everyone. For some it will be too much information.
Like I said, I was braced; so when the details were laid out clearly and with a great deal of emotion, I was able to handle it. But I hesitate to pass along spoilers of this type. If you are curious I suggest you read some of the reviews at Amazon. I will say that a great deal of the emotions and inner thoughts in A Reliable Wife came from the author's own experiences. The parts that broke my heart were a lot of the parts that were based on his reality.
The writing for this memoir was completely different than in A Reliable Wife, which at first disappointed me, but soon I saw how it worked. Goolrick tells his stories as if he is sitting around the table with you remembering his life. As the night wears on the memories become more serious and a life is explained in sad detail. It left me sore with sorrow for the ways that a life can be damaged in just a moment.
I am glad that Mr. Goolrick channelled his pain into his writing. I'm sure he found the process therapeutic. I pray for healing and peace for him.
Buy this book at Amazon.