Review: The Survivor’s Club

The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your LifeThe Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really liked the first few chapters. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. I spent all of yesterday reading this book. I have been drawn to stories of survival and have read a few books about people who have survived harrowing experiences (One of my favorites being “Dead Lucky” by Lincoln Hall).

However, I got to the chapter on faith and was completely turned off. According to the author and his research, faith in God is one of the determining factors on whether or not you survive something. His examples were very, very Christian-centric and that really bothered me. I decided halfway through this chapter that I didn’t want to finish the book. However, I did take his “survivor profile.” Ironically, I have the survivor personality of “Believer.” ha! And I suppose this is true. I do believe in something greater than ourselves and have drawn upon this my entire life. When I was younger I viewed this as God. Now that I’m older I have a more universal view of it. I lean more toward Zen Buddhism in my belief at this stage in my life and what I used to call “God” I now see as something bigger and more universal.

Regardless if my beliefs, The question that kept running through my mind as I read this was, “who cares?” Why should I spend my life worrying about whether I will survive a horrifying experience? Is it even important? I find it much more liberating to experience life as it comes and deal with situations as they arise than to spend time worrying about whether I will get impaled by a knitting needle, or attacked by a mountain lion. Or even getting in a car wreck, for that matter. My thought is that if it is my time to die than so be it. Death is a part of life. There is no shame in dying if it is your time.

My thoughts circle around to Doug and his death. He didn’t survive cancer. I read about and personally know cancer survivors and I think it’s really awesome and amazing that they are survivors of such a horrible disease. But thier stories also make me feel a little bit bad too. Doug died. He fought a good fight but it wasn’t enough. The doctors did the best they could but it wasn’t enough. I’ve come to realize that it’s o.k. It was his time to die and that is o.k.

Our culture puts so much emphasis on the survivors (maybe it isn’t just our culture. Maybe it’s just human nature). It’s like you are a better human being because you survive cancer, or a ship wreck, or a plane crash or whatever. There is something to be said for just accepting that death is also a part of living and there is some bravery in facing and accepting death.

I think Etty Hillesum is an excellent example of this kind of bravery. She died in the Holocaust and faced it with grace and courage. If you haven’t read, “An Interrupted Life” you should.

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