The Monday Book: SQUARE UP, 50,000 MILES IN SEARCH OF A WAY HOME by Lisa Dailey

The guest review this week comes from Kristi Lyn Reddy, an alum of my first group with The Narrative Project. She reviews a non-fiction offering by Lisa Dailey

“The notion that bad things happen in threes is bullshit.”

Square Up is the perfect mix of travel, family and personal growth, processing grief and self-reflection intermixed with the unexpected during travel, keeping the reader turning the page to find out, what next?

Author, Lisa Daily, reels you right in referencing multiple family member deaths over a short period of time as ‘The Glitch’. Initially feeling as though she may be making light of a very difficult and personal process, grief, I quickly found myself appreciating the annoying whine which can follow loss after loss in a person’s sharing their story, being left out. Instead, Lisa takes you on a journey complete with an itinerary that is researched but left open to chance and availability due to the not always available albeit free or low-cost perk of being a military family. Flexibility, patience, and acceptance, whether packed, purchased or stolen, are needed on this family trip.

Lisa, her husband, Ray and there two sons, RJ and Tyler, set out to travel the world after years of research and planning, just as her personal world seems to be crashing all around her. Ray fears Lisa is not emotionally prepared for the uncertainty a trip like this can entail, while Lisa fears her ability to continue with life at home for exactly the same reason. Passports in hand, backpacks on, the four board a flight to Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu. Not a bad way to begin an around the world adventure. From there they travel to Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur and the Cameron Highlands, Hanoi (and other cities), Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Nepal and Ghana. Ea

Each stop the reader is brought into the culture, the experience, and the family journey both physically and emotionally. Moments of uncertainty are lightened with laughter over mistakes, assumptions and flaws in the plan. Ray’s fear of embarking on a journey at the wrong time, coupled with Lisa’s fear of not going, gives way to the fear of coming home – back to life as we knew it, all the while, opening the way to grieve and heal, making room for growth.

Through ups and down, including flights delayed, language barriers, hotels – should we say, motels, in ‘red-light’ districts, unforeseen and even undiagnosed illnesses, Lisa opens her mind, heart and emotions to The Force, present circumstances, and trust – in herself and her Square.

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