I think I might need to face the fact that I enjoy reading memoirs more than I thought I did. Because, I’ve read a bunch this year, and I can’t think of a single one I didn’t enjoy. The stories they tell are varied and real. When done well a memoir can and should help reveal the truth of the human experience and give the reader something to ponder. I don’t always think I’m pondering exactly the thing that the author intends, but I’m always thinking.
This time I’m reading photographer Lynsey Addario’s It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War. Addario is about a decade older than me, and while I was spending September 11, 2001 huddled in my apartment off campus of Florida State while the capital was on lockdown (Jeb was governor at that time and President George W. Bush was in the state reading to school children) Addario was already into her late twenties and embarking on a career as a photojournalist. That event and the wars it predicated turned Addario, and generations of reporters, into a war journalist while it gave me pause about pursuing my initial field of study. I eventually changed course slightly and now in my thirties work in informal learning. Addario and I are both sure that we made the right choices.
It is a little difficult to describe the scope of Addario’s book. She is telling her own story – how a girl raised by hair stylists in Connecticut turned into a woman self-possessed enough to move around the globe and push her way into her chosen field – and also a story about the political realities of the past 20 years. As she has traveled and photographed the world around her, she has also documented the world for us. I entirely suggest reading this book in its hard cover version, the book is filled with Addario’s work and it is keenly interesting to see the progression of her craft while simultaneously having the visual added to the story. Non-fiction books should have more photographs.
I am thankful for Sophia putting this book on my radar, and suggest it heartily.
This book was read and reviewed as part of the charitable Cannonball Read.