|Book Reveiw 7-17
Saturday, September 13, 2008
By Denise Turney
I saw the movie first. It moved me, scene by gripping scene. Will Smith played Chris Gardner with poignancy, with class. Then I sat down and read the book, The Pursuit of Happyness. With this book the saying that movies based on books are often different from the book held true. You see. The movie focuses on the period of time when Chris was homeless and struggling to find his way with his young son in tow. That did happen and pretty much the same way it’s depicted in the movie. However, the book goes deeper than what’s displayed on the silver screen, much much deeper.
It is for this reason that even if you saw the movie or have the DVD, I encourage you to get the book and read it. Chris goes all the way back, as far as his memory will take him, in the book. Chris Gardner’s courage was always there. He had to have courage from the very start. Had he not I’m not sure he would have made it through the hard challenges of his childhood, particularly the abuses heaped upon him by his stepfather.
Reading The Pursuit of Happyness makes it clear that journeying for happiness, for what brings us joy, is an on going travel. From one experience to another, this book shows that as long as we keep going after what makes our heart sing our lives will be rich and rewarding both to ourselves and to others.
One of the events that stuck with me from this book was an experience Chris had when he was a young boy and his mother was home, which wasn’t all the time. They were watching television. Chris was mesmerized by what he saw on the screen. His mother followed his gaze, and, with just a mouthful of words, she told him he could be like the man on television. The words stuck. They sunk in. Chris didn’t know it then but years l ater when he was struggling to earn a living on Wall Street, he remembered what his mother said. It’s as though she planted a seed inside of him that day those years ago when they were watching television, a seed that sprouted and helped him to become the man he is today.
Even if your last name isn’t Gardner, you’ll see bits and pieces of yourself, your own dreams and pursuits for happiness in this book. The writing is vividly “down home”. It’s easy to get into the story and feel like you’re with Chris as he has one experience after another on his way to fulfilling one of his life’s “big dreams”. You’ll be encouraged by the time you put down The Pursuit of Happyness. It’s a memorable book that will leave you changed.
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