47. Because by Joseph Riippi
A few weeks ago, a friend from school mentioned he had a book that he thought I would like. His taste in literature is wonderful, so I looked forward to reading it. Despite being busy with school and theater, I was able to delve in Because. A mixture of prose and narrative, this book is a fascinating look at life and our desires. Suicide and other thoughts that might be linked to mental illness are part of the storyline. While reading it, the urge to blog about it continued to strike me. So, here is a unique book that I have my friend Graham to thank for recommending.
Synopsis: Almost more of a poem than a story, Because starts with a simple but powerful phrase: “I want.” These two words begin each sentence of the book. The author longs for adventure, a loving family, the ability to go back in time, and the desire for a better future. Issues such as the suicide of a friend and his own longings for death at times are dealt with in a poignant way. Slowly, parts of his story unfold as the reader is invited to think of what desire and dreams mean.
Recovery Pluses: This book is an outpouring of thoughts in a poetic and touching way. The author shows the power of hope and dreams in everyone’s life. As he lists what he wants, you begin to think about what you desire in your own life. This helps us to move forward no matter what stage of recovery or living we are in currently. Without wanting to move forward, it is very hard to make any progress.
However, we do not always long for healthy things. Joseph Riippi addresses that in this book. At times, he states that he does not want to want something. During our lives, there will be many times when we want to give up and return to addictions or bad habits. This desire is normal. Yet, working to acknowledge but not act upon it is what is crucial. Many days I long to return to restriction and self-harm. Finding the stronger motivation to keep moving forward in recovery is what is important. This book acknowledges both the beautiful parts of desire as well as its more selfish or disordered side. Recognizing both of them is important for a healthy life.
Cautions: This book has some very strong language in parts which the author later states he wants to not use. Also the topic of suicide is addressed. Thus, teenagers and older would most enjoy and appreciate this novel.
Because is a very unique and inspiring book in many ways. For one thing, the simple but deep start of each sentence (“I want”) is a technique I have never seen used before. Also the author pours out so much emotion, fear, and hope into each word. As with poetry, even the smallest spacing of the paragraphs counts. All of it works together to create a beautiful work of art. Overall, I am so glad to have read this book and have learned more about myself in the process.