Book Thoughts: A Star Called Henry – Roddy Doyle

A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle is a New York Times Editor’s Choice award winning book is a Penguin Classic that was published over 16 years ago and it still has cache today. 
Doyle has a voice that is compelling and draws you into the life of Melody and Henry Smart who live in Ireland.  Even through the vivid recounting of rough times, heart-wrenching miscarriages and stillborn children you root for this couple.  The reader is rewarded by the birth of baby Henry Smart who is the picture of health in all of the poverty artfully portrayed by Doyle in a colloquial, yet literary manner.
Young Henry Smart’s life parallels Ireland’s campaign for freedom from British rule and Henry is somehow a part of every important phase of the Revolution.  It reminded me of the movie Forrest Gump and how Forrest was inserted in all of the important movements and moments in American history in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  However, A Star Called Henry is nowhere near the campiness of Gump.  It is at once surreal, poignant, literary and gritty due to the Irish brogue voice Doyle utilizes throughout the book.
There’s one passage on page 208 that gripped me and encapsulated the entire struggle for independence and the inner machinations of the British Empire at the time.  This one passage left a great impression on me.  It is:
“And the British would hit back; they’d over-react.  They always did.  Over the next four years, they never let us down.  It wasn’t that they made bad judgments, got the mood of the country wrong: they never judged at all.  They never considered the mood of the country worth judging.  They made rebels of thousands of quiet people who’d never thought beyond their garden gates.  They were always our greatest ally; we could never have done it without them.” – Roddy Doyle, A Star Called Henry
This is the type of book I read – one full of insight, humor, and the realities of life of those less than privileged.  It is definitely rough reading at times however there’s a wonderful payoff when you finish the book.
Rating: 5 Blogairy Notebooks
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Creating a Life Worth Living By Slaying Your Depression Giant

Creating a life worth living is something that happens with each and every decision you make.  You can make your life more exciting — or depressing — if you choose to buy a pineapple passion smoothie, or pick up a can of V8.

Say you’re trying to make a decision about what to read you pick up the popular book (50 Shades…???) instead of delving further into the genre you’re crazy about.  What does that say about how you feel about yourself and your choices?  [Everyone else is more important than your own good opinion.]

What if you choose to do the breast-stroke, or the back-stroke when you do your laps in the pool instead of doing your regular ole stroke? 

Yes, shake it up!  Do something differently than you’ve been doing.  It doesn’t have to be major it can be a small change.  Instead of watching the same programming you watch all the time why not try a new show, another type of movie, another gaming experience?  The only way to create a life worth living is by stepping outside of the box and doing something that — gasp — you may be afraid to do.  Okay, maybe not afraid but you are definitely uncomfortable trying the new/different thing.

What I’m getting at is uncovering your latent talents and gifts that are being hidden by whatever emotions you favor today/this month/this year/this decade.  Our inhibitions and phobias change as we experience new life situations.  Many times, our lives give us even more things to feel uncomfortable about but our job is really simple.  Don’t try and head it off and chop off the head of the giant.  Instead, chip away at the gnarled toenails of said giant until those toenails are super-model gorgeous.  Once you see how silly this giant looks with buffed and fab toenails in hot pink you may start re-thinking some other things about your giant.

[Just in case you didn’t get it, this ‘giant’ is whatever fear/phobia you’re running away from.]

Here’s a little secret, the talents you’re given in this life are yours and yours alone.  If you don’t dust them off/unearth them/excavate them — NO ONE ELSE WILL.  You may feel like you’re life is meaningless or that nothing you do matters (i.e. – you’re depressed and you have no idea why!).

I’m not saying not to seek professional help if you’re feeling blue but you’ve got to start looking at the less obvious to get to the root of the matter.

Here are some links to help you delve further into slaying your personal giant:

http://www.kristensguide.com/Happiness/Managing_Emotions/escaping_depression.asp

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/charting-the-depths/201106/why-do-depressed-people-lie-in-bed

http://www.depressedtest.com/

http://www.myrkothum.com/how-i-suffered-from-clinical-depression-and-came-back-from-it/