Almost Finished (Book Review)

almost finished cover

I want to introduce you to an exquisite book that I’ve been reading. It’s called Almost Finished. It’s a memoir by Justine Bowen-Jones. Justine lost her father to pancreatic cancer when she was six years old. Before he died, her father– poet and English professor Jim Bowen–wrote her letters to accompany her through her life. This book contains his letters and her responses.

I was having a very “bullet point” kind of a day. You know: a million things to do, strong focus, move through the list, tick things off. All very constructive and emotionally void. I had 15 minutes before a meeting, so I grabbed Justine’s book for a quick glance, as it had just arrived at my office.

I didn’t anticipate the beauty of the book stopping me short. First, the feeling of cognitive dissonance: this book directly challenges in “bullet point” mind frame. It simply can’t be read from that place. The book won, and my day fell away from around me. Here are two very brief excerpts.

Sometimes Jim writes in poetry, as when he says to Justine;

It’s not that I feel bad about it
in a common sort of way,

That you will grow old without me;

More that I will miss the ways
you will show me October.

Watching green leaves turn red again,
feeling the touch of the first snow falling.

Softly under the arc of the black street lamp
quietly standing outside

Your bedroom’s frosted window,

Hearing you breathe in the warm room air

And at 12 years old, Justine writes back to him,

It’s not that I feel bad,
in a common sort of way
that I have grown old,
without you.

More that,

I remember,
The dances in the rain,
And the training wheels
I no longer need,
As I look in the frosted window
Of an empty house,
Standing in a place where you once stood.

Almost Finished by J.K. Bowen-Jones is available on amazon.

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One Comment On “Almost Finished (Book Review)”

  1. Connections to connections; without bullet points.
    Thank you Dr. Fitzgerald!

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