Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


*****Gift from the Sea

by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Reviewed July 7, 2004.
Vintage Books (Random House), New York, 1975.  First published in 1955.  140 pages. 
Available at Sembach Library (170 LIN).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #4, Nonfiction Old Favorites

Although the words are almost fifty years old, Gift from the Sea still speaks powerfully about women’s lives.  Using metaphors of different kinds of shells she finds on the beach, Anne Morrow Lindbergh talks about solitude, about distracted, busy lives, about being in love, about living with a family, and about moving on with life when the children grow up.  Along the way, she shares meditations about life that are simple yet profound.

I first read this book when I was in college, and now it has whole new layers of meaning for me.  I’m sure I’ll read it again at new stages of my life.

“To ask how little, not how much, can I get along with.  To say—is it necessary?—when I am tempted to add one more accumulation to my life, when I am pulled toward one more centrifugal activity.”

“One learns to accept the fact that no permanent return is possible to an old form of relationship; and, more deeply still, that there is no holding of a relationship to a single form.  This is not tragedy but part of the ever-recurrent miracle of life and growth.  All living relationships are in process of change, of expansion, and must perpetually be building themselves new forms.”

“A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on some of the same rules.  The partners do not need to hold on tightly, because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but gay and swift and free, like a country dance of Mozart’s.”

“The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of creation or the joy of participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment.  Lightness of touch and living in the moment are intertwined.”

“When the heart is flooded with love there is no room in it for fear, for doubt, for hesitation.  And it is this lack of fear that makes for the dance.  When each partner loves so completely that he has forgotten to ask himself whether or not he is loved in return; when he only knows that he loves and is moving to its music—then, and then only, are two people able to dance perfectly in tune to the same rhythm.”

“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach.  One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.”

Gift from the Sea is a beautiful gift to the reader.

Review of another book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh:
Dearly Beloved

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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