Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Review: Will the Circle Be Unbroken by Sean Dietrich

Early tragedy can shape a child's whole life. The death by suicide of a parent is particularly formative, especially as in Sean Dietrich's case, when that parent tried to kill your other parent too. Dietrich has spent years grappling with the legacy of his father and his father's violent death and this memoir is the result of much of that grappling.

Opening with his memory of what he was doing the day that his father shot himself, it is clear that Dietrich is an accomplished storyteller. His stories build up, circling back again and again to his hate and love for his father, each emotion battling it out in his head and his heart. His tone is warm and despite the anger and hurt he feels, an anger and hurt that led him to drop out of school in seventh grade and work years of backbreaking manual labor jobs, he can still find the good and the sweetness in a situation. His stories about his growing up are hard and honest and heartfelt and his arc from furious child to an adult who can extend grace to others, and most importantly to himself, is engaging to read. He has a folksy tone and his essential southerness weaves through the narrative in every word. Readers will come to know his love story with his wife and the bloodhound who was a huge piece of his heart. But most of all, they will come to know a man who is trying to live in hope, to live with his past but still know that he's "going to be okay." The writing is easy and accessible, doled out in vignettes, like sitting on a front porch swing listening to a man tell you all about himself. The first half of the book, when he is still a child, is a bit more engaging than the second half, where he struggles to get out of his own way. And his story of becoming Sean of the South is not as fully written as the earlier stories, perhaps because his avid fans already know who he is. Over all this is a good read for people who like memoirs, who like southern storytelling, who want a positive story about overcoming a sad and hard past, or who want an uplifting story right about now.

1 comment:

I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts