Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Wisdom of Sam

Since I have absolutely run out of ideas and since there is NOTHING sansanikhez happening at allllllllllll ( Ok Gods and the powers that be, I am not asking for anything from Aaj Tak News. Keep the sansansi else where) But then my blog looks so derelict. So I am going to take the idea of Furobiker and put ahead book reviews. First up - Wisdom of Sam by Daniel Gottlieb.

The book is about the simple lessons on life a quadriplegic grandfather learns from his Autistic grandchild - Sam. Its not life changing nor divinely inspirational and of course it is not a self help book. The book is simply about the Wisdom of Sam. 

The book has a simple narrative. Each page is steeped with Sam's simple charms. Be it forgiveness, happiness, madness, empathy, death or any of the myriad aspects of life. The author has given "our" way and Sam's way - and Sam's is way better :) 

My favourite is one where Sam rakes leaves with his father and at the end of plops into the pile of leaves and muses "Now, this is my kind of place." The author asks us to in a same way "just experience our place" forgetting what we are doing at that moment. He says "Can you forget, just for the moment, the task or the outcome or even the process and just experience who you are right now?" He goes on to state, how we attach a lot of importance to our identity and Who we are. But our identities evolve and so does the sense of comfort associated with those identities. So the important question is not "Who we are?" But it is "What we can contribute while we are at a given point". Just like Sam, being fully aware and concious, awake and alive just experiencing life - knowing that a pile of leaves is his kind of place!

There is another incident where Sam does not fare so well in the school wrestling competitions. When his grandpa asks him "So, Sam why do you think you've lost all your matches?" Sam replies after a brief pause "I don't think I am tough enough. Pop (that's what Sam calls his grandpa) do you think you could toughen me up?" What Sam got was a lesson in resilience which the author describes as "faith that I could get hurt and still be okay." "What Sam needed was trust that he had the resilience, in himself, to meet the unknown, to experience it, and to survive." Don't we all need these lessons? 

I could go on writing excerpts from the book, but there is one staggering piece that I cannot miss. The author says "Before a child is born, God infuses that child with all of the wisdom he needs in life. Right before the child is born, an angel comes and slaps the baby on the face, causing it to forget everything it's learned. But every now and then, there is an uncommon child like you, Sam. You make me wonder if the angel got distracted and forgot to slap you before you were born. Right now you seem to have more wisdom than most boys of your age. You are uncommon, you are a teacher, you are a blessing, you are love."


The Furobiker said...

last para was awesome!

Lekin it contradicts the old time movie dialogue - Main chori karna apne maa ke pet seekh ke nahi aaya tha saheb! :D

Amrita said...

Arre maa ke pet se kahan koi kuch seekh ke aata hai? Wo angel chaanta maarke bhule deti hai na sabkuch :P

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review! Sounds like a great read. Will go look for it myself at the library.

Jack said...


Thanks for sharing this. What little from the book you brought out is so relevant.

Take care

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