Whenever you read a friend’s memoir, you inevitably confront three questions: 1) Is it interesting, period? 2) Is it interesting only because it’s about your friend? or 3) Is it utterly fascinating, no matter who wrote it?
If you are lucky enough to have friends who’ve lived purposeful lives, who also happen to be insightful writers, then the answer will be #3. I am pleased to report that Laurie Gardner’s memoir is a #3. Or, more accurately, #3: WOOHOO!!!
When I first met Laurie many years ago, she was one of the smartest, hardest-working people I knew. She was also quite funny. But since she lived in California and I lived in New Jersey, we didn’t get to know each other as well as we might have. So I didn’t know her whole backstory or later, why she left the job I’d seen her in. I didn’t know anything about her vision quest—why she did it, how it went, or what she learned. I didn’t know about her myriad adventures and courageous attempts to figure out how to live the most meaningful life she could. But now I do. Wow.
THE ROAD TO SHINE is a powerful, suspenseful, often poignant narrative about one woman’s quest for personal meaning. And it is so much more than that. In some ways, it’s a roadmap for the rest of us, exhorting us to be vigilant about our own journeys, to awaken our own spirits to the potential that lies within us.
It’s a potent reminder that we can live fuller lives. But first we must decide that we want to.