Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review of "Beautiful Problems" by Stanley Fritz

Stories give meaning to our lives. They are essential to the human experience and gives us the ability to use our imagination to paint a picture with words. Stanley Fritz in "Beautiful Problems" does just that. Every story in this imaginative compilation is a sensory experience, allowing the reader to create a blend of sounds, smells, and sights. "Beautiful Problems" is not about finding a personal connection to the stories that are exquisitely written, but about finding an emotional connection to the struggles. Human struggles differ, but humanity is a thread that connects us. That human thread is weaved through "Beautiful Problems" creating a wonderful tapestry of life. The stories are so poignant and raw that I sometimes found myself disagreeing with the perspective and still rooting for the underdog.

“Beautiful Problems” is full of struggles I might never experience, but while reading they became mine. In “Letter to my Daughter” a father speaks about losing his parental rights in a divorce. His narrative will never be my reality, yet his story allowed me to feel his unique challenge within the context of his own experience. For a few minutes I melted into that moment, and because while reading I do not have to offer commentary, I could truly immerse myself into someone else’s life.

“Letter to my Daughter” allowed me to connect with a struggle that is not mine, while “The Friend Zone” gave me an opportunity to disagree with perspective of the author, all the while wanting him to win. As a woman I have my reasons for wanting a man to be a friend and not a lover, and none has to do with men being too nice. Yet that does not matter, because Stanley Fritz is speaking from his heart and perspective. I will never truly be in his shoes, but through his words I was able to experience a snippet of his life.

"Beautiful Problems" is a  journey. Read it and you will find yourself in a journey of self-awareness, healing, and compassion.

1 comment:

  1. To create a just society, we must also address the social structures that are in place. Structural change entails being in relationship and dialogue with other people. The reason you were able to root for the underdog has to do with your willingness to listen with empathic presence even though you found yourself disagreeing at times.

    If more did them they are able to connect, trust, and have mutual respect. The experience of being heard often results in emotional settling, inner peace, and curiosity about the other person. Speaking from the heart of personal experience and need tends to de-polarize difficult situations and opens up a process of shared exploration of strategies rather than argument about what should be done.