Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Featuring Richard B. Wright

By Lynn Willoughby
A Life With Words ~ Richard B. Wright
I have enjoyed every novel I have read by this author so was looking forward to his memoir.  He didn’t disappoint. With his usual self-deprecating  humour I was often laughing to myself, and like everyone’s life journey, there are many bumps in the road.
He writes candidly about his awkwardness as a boy, his sexual explorations, and how he constantly deals with depression.  Most of all, though, this book is about his writing and how important teaching English and the correct use of words is his mission.  He is deeply passionate and vocal about how essential the role of story telling is in our lives.
This book of non-fiction reads like a novel. I really liked the third person narration which allowed me to feel fed up with him at times.  I felt someone needed to tell him to suck it up!  Luckily in my life, I am surrounded by those people!!
We see the influence of Wright’s early life, and the work habits of his father.  On several occasion he talks about the iron fist of his mother.  He recognizes that these things shaped him – for better or worse, but is devastated when his mother dies.
He skips quickly over his numerous awards and his membership in The Order of Canada.  His real focus is always on words.  …”our imaginations are revitalized by words as we fashion them into ideas and images…” – Wright. As a reader, I think this quote is my favourite line in the book.
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