“It is important to question the way we see the world and not just accept life for what it appears to be.” – Azeer Attari, ‘Let’s get down to it’ (“High on Life”)
I am a picky reader. When I choose a book to read, I always wonder if the story will teach me something about myself. Will I be challenged to read between the lines and catch the lesson(s) on the pages? For the first time in a while, I have found a collection that answered all these questions (and more).
“High on Life” is a brave book. It is brave because it lays bare humanity’s innermost thoughts and feelings. From the tale of a child soldier who then becomes an ambassador for the children in his country; to a young woman who works with abused women and children; to a narrative about Hodgkin’s disease and how life-threatening situations can also help a person enjoy life, the 17 stories that comprise the book will leave you shaken to the core. You will experience a lot of emotions and shed tears. But, most of all, once you close the book, you will feel a deep sense of hope. Hope that change does not need to be radical. Hope that we can all affect the world around us, one person at a time. And finally, hope that love and compassion will always be in the heart of anyone ready and willing to experience them.
“High on Life” is a winner on every count. The cover is visually very appealing, featuring photos of the hundreds of youth who shared their stories with Nejeed Kassam, the editor, and his team. The stories, despite being short, hammer their truths home with every word. But, most importantly, their elegance, honesty and maturity are to be commended.
“High on Life” is a must-read.