Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying

The Bright Hour
Some books are so achingly beautiful they cry out to be read.  This is one of them.  To not read The Bright Hour would be to deny yourself one breathtaking moment after another.  This is a memoir that reveals how to savor every day—even the days, especially the days, we would not typically love.


When Nina Riggs was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37, it was one small spot that seemed fixable.  “No one dies from one small spot,” she reassured herself.  Within a year, though, Riggs was dealing with a terminal diagnosis.  Lest you think the book turns grim at this point, let me assure you that this is not a dark accounting of impending death—far from it.

The question at the heart of The Bright Hour is this: What makes for a meaningful life when your time is limited?  It is an extraordinary individual who can see and illuminate for us the radiance and joy to be found in the seemingly mundane moments that fill our lives with meaning.  Nina Riggs’ poetic eye, and soul, gifts us over and over again with word pictures that not only dazzle, but that enrich our spirits.

What if, like Nina Riggs, we were to live the answer to that question every day?  Isn't that the key to loving our days and living with fullness of life?

The Bright Hour is the most important book I have read this year.  Having recently lost a good friend to cancer, I found this memoir to be a poignant way to reflect on how Susan also lived her life with great meaning and purpose.  It can be healing in many ways to read a book that celebrates a life force that is not diminished by death.  I highly recommend this book.








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

14 comments:

  1. Lovely review of this book, Diana. I am looking forward to reading it. Sometimes a book comes along that is perfect for the time and fills a need.

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    1. Yes... books find us when we need them. This one is so powerful. The writing is beyond exquisite. I found myself filling up my notebook with Nina's quotes.

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  2. Thanks for a wonderful review. It sounds like it would be very inspirational and comforting for those of us who have recently lost someone to cancer. Years ago when my mom got her diagnosis and we were told that she might have 6 months with us, we talked about what to do with the time left. Does one just give up? Should you let the anger take a tight grip on your soul? Does one sit for hours asking why me? Or, is it better to make each of the remaining days better than the one before? Should one seek people out to tell them just how important they have been in your life, make amends to ones you have wronged? It is a struggle for any cancer patient, I'm sure. I look forward to reading this book.

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    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I was inspired by how my mom dealt with her cancer journey. She had such a good outlook and took it one day at a time. Mostly, mom spent time with her friends (doing things that she loved). Despite the three cancers, I think she had a good quality of life right up to the end.

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful inspirational read. Judging by your review these are certainly words to live by. Will have to put this on our list. As always Great Review :)

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    1. Thanks, Sam. It is very inspirational. I appreciate your visit and comments.

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  4. What a beautifully written review! Some people really are inspirations in our lives and teach us how to live. I once heard it said, if you know how to live, then your know how to die. It stems from the knowledge that your soul is immortal. Susan certainly knew her soul is immortal and she truly showed us how to live. She walked through this last year of illness with grace and assurance. Most people never knew how sick she really was because she displayed such peace. She was more of a comfort to us then we were to her.

    I am sure I would enjoy reading this book and like you, I am sure it would remind me of our precious friend.

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    1. Susan was grace personified, that's for sure. At one point I asked her if she was going to write about her cancer journey because I knew Susan had much to teach us all. I'm thankful for what I learned from her over the years. She was a gift to all who knew her and I know her legacy lives on in each of us.

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  5. Fantastically written review! Susan was such an inspirational person that I think we could all learn from and it sounds like the author of this book is too. I will look for it next time I want to read a book. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you! Susan encouraged me to keep writing. That is just one of the many ways she inspired me. This review wouldn't be here had it not been for her.

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  6. I wish I'd had this for Mom when she got the news she only had eight weeks left. Better yet, it would have been wonderful during those years she was healthier and kept saying, "I don't know why the Lord leaves me here so long." What's so strange is that when she got the news he was only giving her eight more weeks she figured out she didn't really want to leave after all. How I wish I'd had this book to give her.

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    1. A book like this makes me appreciate the gift of this day. Sometimes it is easy to take life for granted. Hopefully, this book will fall into the hands of someone like your mom who could be touched in a positive way by its message.

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  7. Absolutely adding this to my list of books and gifts. Your review has me intrigued. It sounds moving and I can also think of a few people in my life who would appreciate the message within. Thanks for the heads up on this book.

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    1. This would be a very meaningful gift book. The author is such an extraordinary writer. Not many individuals would be able to so lyrically and potently deliver a memoir like this while fighting for their lives. To have such clarity of purpose, and prose, is truly astonishing.

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