I’ve told you before about my love for The Moth Radio Hour. You can find it in your podcast player or on NPR, and it’s all true stories told by real people on stage. The format is compelling to listen to, and I’m learning what makes a good story and how to tell it well by listening.
When The Moth released its second compilation of these stories in written form, I was immediately interested. The Moth Presents: All These Wonders, True Stories About Facing the Unknown is easily one of my favorite books this year. (Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program. Opinion reflected in this review is my honest one.)
Besides the fact that these are true stories told by real people, what I love about them are the unexpected twists. I could be laughing one minute and crying the next. The stories reflect different experiences than what I have experienced and they broaden my understanding. Stories are set in a rough neighborhood in Chicago or on the road to Jericho or on tour with David Bowie. In one you might hear from a chaplain. In another it might be a humanitarian worker in Congo. And another might be from a kid (now grown) who grew up in foster care.
Some of the stories are shocking, but not in a graphic, gratuitous way. Many contain adult language or themes. But don’t let that scare you away.
The stories are short, and I must admit that I prefer hearing these stories rather than reading them. But to have them all in one place, in a collection that I can share with others, is a gift.
I believe in the power of stories. And these words from the editor, Catherine Burns, in the introduction sum up my feelings:
The number-one quality of all great storytellers is their willingness to be vulnerable, to tell on themselves in front of thousands. Each story told is a gift to the listeners.
But the audience brings a gift of their own. We live in a world where bearing witness to a stranger’s unfiltered story is an act of tremendous compassion. To listen with an open heart and an open mind and try to understand what it’s like to be them–they think like that, dress like that, made the choices they did–takes real courage.
Fans of storytelling, of the kind of tales told around the fire or while sitting on the porch, will find this a valuable addition to their book collection.