This is not a book review, but I consider it necessary to talk about leaving home by Garrison Keillor. The book is a collection of short stories about the fictional town of Lake Wobegon at a time where prices were reasonable, children respected their elders and it was possible to convince a family that they come from a long-lost line of royalty just by sending a letter written by somebody they had never met. It was first published in 1985 and I bought it from a lady with a bright green bag in Parc Monceau, last year. She asked me if I needed the books for a school project and I told her I just love to collect old books.
Every new story in the book begins with “It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon”, giving you that sense of a small town where nothing colossal ever happened. Nonetheless, a major incident occurs sporadically that tides the town over till the next incident. We all leave home- our security blankets, at some point in our lives and just like some of the characters in the book, it may or may not be the best decision of our lives. The decision could be moving to a different city, a different country, a new job or a career change and during this time, we may possibly go through experiences that build us, make us doubt our capabilities or crush our souls. Certain people are lucky to have left home with a rope tied around their waists. Occasionally, they would feel a tug from the other end at home letting them know that there’s someone at the other side who cares and who will yank them back as soon as they say the word. However, most people are not so lucky. Some find new homes and get new ropes. The determined ones try to crash through the experiences, hoping for the best, while the rest… just stand still. They are hesitant to move forward, fearful of going back home and inadvertently, they becoming nothing. In Lake Wobegon, a mother resorted to begging for donations after a church service to get a new dress for her daughter who was leaving home for a better life, however, this made the church members uneasy as they couldn’t leave without passing her by the entrance. The story didn’t mention how she felt standing there begging for money, but she needed something, and this was how she thought she would get it.
Leaving home is filled with stories of people who desired something and pondered ways to get it e.g., the couple who wanted to wait till their children died to get a divorce. Ridiculous as their choices seemed, they didn’t stand still. Occasionally, we ought to leave home to taste failure, hardship or success in different aspect of our lives and like the characters in the book, we may not always make the right decisions, but at least we don’t stand still.