Tuesday, August 20, 2013

SHAKESPEARE’S SPARE PARACHUTE …a memoir by Jill Schary Robinson

 This is a deeply emotional story of how one woman dealt with the loss of her beloved husband, Stuart, due to fast developing Parkinson’s, from when he descended into hallucinations, to his eventual death. We see how she held on to him, and their love, by entering into his fantasies and becoming whoever he needed her to be. It's very moving and also great literature.

This first part of the book is riveting, as we realize the person she loves is still there as long as he lives and breathes. The fact that he is no longer the clever, romantic, stalwart, reliable husband she knew is not important. This is still her beloved Stuart, wacky and quixotic as he may now be. It’s him. Only Death can win him away from her and she will challenge Death, to the end, for his brave spirit.

Jill and Stuart
When he says, “Don’t stop me. I’m floating on Shakespeare’s Spare Parachute,” she goes airborne along with him. As you read, it’s very moving to go on this sad journey with her. Yet every word proves the depth of their love and how nothing can ever really separate them. Stuart is there, on the page, in her heart, in this book, forever vibrant and alive. The man shone so brightly on the page, I wanted more of him. Death wins in the end, but not really.
Once he dies, the theme becomes how does one stay alive after such a great loss? I loved how the author kept Stuart always in our sights, and our minds, even as she faced the everyday dilemma of a woman, alone, searching for new meaning.  With Stuart gone, no activity, no matter how interesting and comforting, could make her forget and move on. In the rare parts, where Stuart was banished from her thoughts, I felt cheated. However, I was fascinated with how her nurturing of young writers, in her Blue Coyote Writer’s Group, brought her solace. Still, whenever Stuart is present in her thoughts, whether alive or as dust in a box, the book resonates powerfully.

This is my review of a yet-to-be published memoir. For information, email: jschary@mac.com