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"Ninety years later, I still don't like peppermint."
on 15 December 2002
The quote that titles this review is written at the end of chapter one. It is a chapter that, were it to be isolated as a short story; it would make the final list for any awards in that category.
There is no book I can compare this to, but if you take the wisdom of "Tuesday's With Morrie" and the struggles and triumph of the human spirit of "Angela's Ashes", you begin to approach this book, the story of the life of Mr. George Dawson.
Mr. Dawson started school when he was 98 years old. He is now approaching 102 and continues to work for his High School Equivalency Degree. It is difficult to describe this man, as he has no peers who have shared his 102 year life. Four wives shared parts of his life, but Mr. Dawson continues to live after they all have passed away. Mr. Dawson does note that many women would like to marry him now, and he has not ruled the possibility out.
What is Mr. Dawson like? In the book he muses as to why people say everything tastes like chicken, as an example Rattlesnake. However no one ever says anything tastes like Rattlesnake. Mr. Dawson is not "like" anybody. He is unlike anyone you know, anyone you have read about, he is an original, one of a kind. Every day that his life advances he becomes more unique, more of a treasure.
The final chapters of this book are as dramatic as the first. Mr. Dawson has a decision to make, a decision that either will allow this book to become a reality, or for his life to remain kept only to those who have known him. To make this decision he relies upon advice his Father had given him as a young man. His Father followed this advice throughout his own 99 year life, and as Mr. Dawson states, "between my Father and I it worked for over 200 years".
This is an astonishing story of a man who lived every year of the 20th century, a bit of the 19th, and is now exploring the 21st.
The book tells a story that is remarkable, as the story it shares is of a life that has taken part in 3 centuries.
A book that will make your all-time favorite list!