Hubert Bird is a West Indian man who immigrated to Britain as a young man to pursue a better life. The chapters alternate between “Then” and “Now” and cover most of his life.
I rarely, if ever, do any kind of book review as there are hundreds if not thousands of reviews for most pieces of literature.
What brought me here today was the simple beauty and truth of this book and my own experience as one of the lonely people.
I’ll not be the first to suggest that the coronavirus pandemic was extremely hard on us as humans who have a need for connection. I spent an awful lot of time from 2016 to January 2023 on Twitter, reading all the horrible things people were saying and doing regarding the pandemic. (Finally, I did leave Twitter permanently, but not before I had taken in so much vitriol.)
Even without the pandemic, people have been becoming more isolated and alone. With the advent of social media, we can stay home and go online and imagine we aren’t really so alone. But I think the overall effect of social media has been to isolate us further as we compare our own mundane lives to the exciting ones we are seeing online.
What I loved about this book was the message which I think is two-fold. Loneliness can be alleviated by a willingness to reach out to others and by a willingness to believe it’s possible we are loveable and that there is some type of connection possible even in our polarized world.
I’ve written before about the improv concept of “yes, and” and I see it everywhere in how we connect with others. “Yes, I am lonely, and I am capable of greeting others, extending kindness and compassion, and perhaps lessening the loneliness of someone else.”