I picked this book up mostly because of the title and the length. What Now? by Ann Patchett is based on a commencement speech given at her Alma Mater Sarah Lawrence.
The reason I picked up this book, is because I thought she might possess the answer to my one What Now? question. Since this book is based on a commencement speech, it is filled with many quotable passages that are equal parts cliche and inspiration. It doesn’t really matter how old you are, its usually the overstated commnets that have become jaded in our eyes, are the truest words anyone could say. One particular sentence stuck with me, because it is fairly relfective of my own life:
In truth, the moment at which life really does become locked down, most of us are overcome by the desire to break it all apart so we can that we can reexperience the variables of youth.
Anne Patchette just had a fancier way of saying “the grass is always greener.” We are in a perpetual state of “what now?” and what I gathered from this work, is that its ok to be in a position to always be asking that question. Its a challenge, a reminder of all the potential and ability we had on our own commencement days. I went through a graduation only a year ago, and already I had forgotten the words of wisdom and encouragement that I heard from that very special, but now nameless, keynote speaker.
How is it we graduate school with so much excitement for the unknown, only to be petrified of it a year later? This book is a sweet inspirational message about staying optimistic of the future and making the best of your circumstances. It is a perfect graduation gift for any member of the family, short enough for the non-reader, but full of wise words for the avid reader. The pages are sprinkled with cheesy images that took away from her message. I really wish there weren’t any pictures at all, because it made the book feel more Hallmarky than it should have been.What Now? Anne Patchette Harper, 2008 ISBN 0061340659 97 pages