I wouldn't call this one of THE most mind-blowing books I've read. In my list of must-reads, there aren't a lot of place holders. "Illusions" by Richard Bach is consistently in the top five. The idea that a messiah can be reluctant to accept his purpose is particularly intriguinig. Another one that stands out is "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. It's about a boy who travels the world looking for something that he had all along.
"The End" is different. To me, it's personal. In this book, the places, the characters, the time frame, some of it I can actually remember. Not in the author's way, as I didn't live his Truth. I lived my own, quietly, chained to my fortress of anxiety and fear that I wasn't able to break free of until I left for college myself. This is a trip back to high school, where the struggle was real, and really well hidden. The internet was in its infancy. Facebook, Twitter, even MySpace didn't exist. I had a website on AngelFire called "Planet Bigg Russ". This was a strange time.
So to hear that, during this strange time, a kid I grew up with was having an even stranger time, a more difficult time, living in a world of isolation and insecurity, in many ways mirroring my own, in other ways highly contrasting my own truth.. to hear all of this is... difficult.
The story itself is a biography of sorts. I don't want to give away anything important in case you (the one person reading this) is concerned for spoilers. The gist of it, though, is that one man tells another man the important parts of his Truth before the consequences of his suicide attempt take him to the next plane of existence. It's a story filled with tragedy and loss and hardship, written in a way that makes the reader FEEL the pain of the author.
One of the most difficult things about this Story of Truth is just that, the Truth. Truth isn't a hard and set thing. It's relative. It's relative to one's experiences and environment. My truth can't be any more different than yours or anyone else's. Adam's truth was harsh. The adult mind that I've earned, the Truth as I've come to understand it, has let me take in these words with love. I'm not saying I love the story. In fact, quite the contrary, I hate it. I hate to read about people struggling alone. But I love reading those stories at the same time, because the stories, when they are told, are devoid of the fear that consumed the stories themselves.
Fear kept me from sharing in a Truth. That's all life is, when it's good, is two people who can share one Truth, ugly as it may be. I spent almost all of my childhood keeping my Truth guarded and assuming that everyone wanted to do the same. I've spent almost all of my time since trying to understand how those Truths can be shared or combined. This book has encouraged me to share my own, and I feel like I'm better off as a result.
To the author of that book, Mr. Adam Rudolph, I say this: You were one of the first kids to make an awkward nerdy first grader laugh on the playground. You were the guy that, from the top of Timber Town, could inform the rest of the kids that you were in "a restricted area" with bitter sarcasm that none of the other kids understood. We played soccer together, and I remember that 7 story tree-house that your cool gunsmith neighbor had. I also remember that you were never, ever a dick to me. I'm sorry our truths didn't coincide more, but I'm thankful and appreciative that I was able to see more of yours. I owe you one, buddy.