I am shamed to admit that I had never heard of Lynsey Addario prior to reading about her in Freya's post proclaiming her excitement about the upcoming book. That one sentence, not even a full sentence, mentioned the book with a bit about how she (Addario) balances photojournalism with having a family. The last couple chapters deal with this balance in particular, but the rest of the 341 paged book is jam-packed with Lynsey's beautifully tragic, remarkably courageous and joyfully uplifting journey in the career of photojournalism.
I was completely blown away by this memoir. I cried...a lot. At one point, I even had to close the book for a bit of a breather. And yet her words continued and I was insatiable with my desire to finish this book only hoping that it would magically sprout pages so that I would never be finished. The cliche of living a life through someone else's words were never more true than they were in this book and I am so gratefully glad that I read them from the comfort of my bed and living room.
Lynsey is admirable in her quest for beauty in some of the most tragic circumstances: "It seemed paradoxical to try to create beautiful images out of conflict...Trying to convey beauty in war was a technique to try to prevent the reader from looking away or turning the page in response to something horrible. I wanted them to linger, to ask questions" (190). Her memoir stands as a testament to the truth of this statement.
She is also poetic in her descriptions of the places and people she visits:"Everything that make India the rawest place on earth made it the most wonderful to photograph. The streets hummed with constant movement, a low-grade chaos where almost every aspect of the human condition was in public view" (52).
And, "Mohammed's wrinkled map of a face reflected a lifetime of war, repression, and poverty, and obscured any trace of his youth" (64).
Her description of motherhood left me reeling from its unequivocal accuracy: "My dreams for my child were the same ones that I knew compelled so many women around the world to fight for their families against the most unimaginable odds" (335). What mama bear wouldn't fight to keep their cubs safe?
Coupled with the realization that in motherhood, "somewhere along the way my mortality began to matter" (341). I think there are moments when every mother realizes, one way or another, that their own mortality matters. That there are little people, and some big people, who are dependent on them completely. The situation doesn't have to be as dire as being kidnapped (twice) as Lynsey has, but can merely be a close call in the car or a slip on wet grass.
I loved this book and recommend it wholeheartedly.