Cartoonist Tom Wilson is the current animator of the Ziggy character originally penned by his father, Tom Wilson, Sr. His inspirational memoir Zig-Zagging is about his journey as an artist and person and how the death of his young wife followed by his father’s chronic illness helped shape both.
In his book he attempts to tell the reader through inspirational musings and the sharing of his personal trials and dark times that the detours in life are the real teachers of life and the builders of character.
I would have enjoyed – if that’s okay to say about a book that centers on loss – it more without the inspirational message. I have never cared much for other people telling me what I should learn from my own tragedy. However, that said, I think Wilson is spot on with many of his conclusions.
The book works best when Wilson is willing to write about the adversity he’s faced. When he describes the struggles dealing with years of his wife’s cancer, her death and its impact on him and their children, the writing is at its best.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t stay there, but I understand why. It’s hard to offer up the most painful experiences of your life and hope that those reading understand how those events shaped you or led you to the actions that brought you to where you are. Wilson wanders away when he gets too close into greeting card sound bites that pile up like clichéd cord wood which is too bad because his story didn’t need the shiny gloss coat to still make his point that we learn the most from the unexpected and the roads we’d never have taken if the universe gave us a choice in the matter. How we weather loss and struggle, and navigate the dark, is the true test of who we are.
I think people who love Ziggy, inspirational memoirs and/or are struggling with adversity will find this book most helpful and even comforting.
I read “widow” books anymore to discover how people have rebuilt their lives. What motivated them to get back up and try again? That’s what I want to know because there is no real formula or “how to” guide for a person whose spouse has died young. Wilson’s journey, the steps and mis-steps, was interesting to me because I could identify with some of it and it was in these parts of the book that the writing rings most true.
It could have been a more honest book, in my opinion. I am not really sure where the tendency to find deep meaning or pretty up rough patches with platitudes comes from, but there is more here than I care for. Perhaps though because I am looking for the real deal in terms of enlightenment where it comes to loss and coping and moving on.
It’s a good book. I am just not its target audience.
Wilson is a good writer. He is a devout man. He makes a good case for bothering to learn from things you would prefer not to experience at all.
Read more about Zig-Zagging:
Wednesday, March 4th: Traveling Through Time and Space
Thursday, March 5th: Anniegirl1138
Monday, March 9th: Bookfoolery and Babble
Tuesday, March 10th: Widows Quest
Wednesday, March 11th: Not Quite What I Had Planned
Thursday, March 12th: Reading, Writing, and Retirement
Monday, March 16th: Learning to Live
Tuesday, March 17th: Book Addiction
Wednesday, March 18th: Confessions of a Book-a-Holic
Thursday, March 19th: Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, March 20th: Beth Fish Reads
Monday, March 23rd: Literary Menagerie
Tuesday, March 24th: Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, March 25th: Madeleine’s Book Blog
Thursday, March 26th: Texas Red Books
Friday, March 27th: Bermuda Onion
Monday, March 30th: Should Be Reading