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Life is So Good by George Dawson

Life is So Good

by George Dawson

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George Dawson, 101 godina, priča kako je kao dječak, 9 godina, s ocem, početkom 20. stoljeća, išao prodati šećernu trsku i dr. stvari, kako bi nešto zaradili. Znao je da bijelci ne vole da im u dućane zalaze crnci "bez novca" pa je najčešće samo čeznutljivo gledao izloge. Jednoga dana otac mu je pred prodavačem rekao da on može raditi kao odrastao muškarac, više da trgovac čuje. To je Georgeu ulilo samopouzdanje i nadu da će mu jednoga dana biti dostupno sve o čemu danas sanja - ulazak u dućane bez straha od reakcije prodavača i od stigme, ulazak u brijačnicu i poštu - san o ravnopravnosti. Toga je dana svjedočio vješanju svog prijatelja, 17-godišnjega Petea, na kojega je bijelac kod kojega je radio bacio sumnju da je otac djeteta njegove kćeri. Ona je potvrdila kako ju je on silovao, kako ne bi dobila batina, a zapravo je svojevoljno spavala s bijelcem. Od 4. godine češljao je pamuk. Njegov pradjed poginuo je u Američkom građanskom ratu, boreći se za slobodu. Nakon rata ukinuto je ropstvo, no njegove bake nisu mogle otići s imanja na kojima su radile jer su im rekli da su dužne i da moraju odraditi dug. Deset godina nakon završetka rata postale su tek slobodne - uspjele su isplatiti dug, uz pomoć Toma, pradjedovog ratnog druga koji je bio zadužen da obavijesti obitelj o pogibiji. Baka Charity se udala za njega nakon dvije godine i dobili su sina Harrisona, Georgeova oca. Kao oslobođeni robovi dobili su 40 jutara zemlje. 20 god. kasnije kupili su još 40. I dalje su bili siromašni. Tom je tada već bio mrtav, a Harrison se oženio.

  rosenrot | May 5, 2016 |
This was a great book about an elderly man who learned to read at 98 years old. I especially enjoyed the first part of the book where he told of his childhood, dealing with racism and segregation. I would recommend. ( )
  lacey.tucker | Mar 10, 2016 |
A different BOOK REVIEW
I am the privileged possessor of several copies of life is so good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman which was first published in 2000. One copy I will keep to remind me of the affirmation in the title and to dip into occasionally. I will pass the other copies on through 'free libraries' for those who want to read it or simply get some peace of mind from the title.
In mid 1959, I had been working in British Columbia (Canada) as a teacher and travelled across USA and Canada during the summer vacation. I saw how Negro Americans fitted into the society at the time and felt that big changes had to happen. In late 1960, I had travelled to England to gain further teaching experience. I sat in Winston Churchill's study at "Chartwell" and was pleased to read one of his quotes that went something like "You don't have to read the whole book. Just pulling it off the shelf and dusting it or reading a few paragraphs or a chapter" can be very worthwhile. As I write this, I have no access to the Internet; you may wish to search the exact quote.
I bought this book at an OP SHOP based on the title and skim reading of Chapter One. George Dawson was a negro who learned to read at 98 and had started to become a man at 10 when he saw a clear extreme miscarriage of justice and yet learned that day to be non judgemental. Since that time I have been inspired each time I saw the title or read a few pages. As I picked up the book to start this article, I read some of the last pages and was particularly comforted, challenged and inspired by the last quote in the book from George Dawson when he was over 100 years old. That quote is "Life is so good and it gets better every day." Over recent years since turning 80, I have been saying, "Life gets better every day" and that seems to make the better life each day happen. Today was the first time I had another human being stating the same thing. It was especially comforting, challenging and inspiring as this was written by a man who lived for over 100 years in situations that many people would consider totally unacceptable.
I have often wanted to hear Malcolm or Tammy Fraser give a talk on Life was not meant to be easy, which was one of their sayings because I believe that is the case and the challenge of life is to live our lives affirming and experiencing the statement and attitude of mind that "Life is so good and gets better every day".
- John Hegarty ( )
  COOINDABHL | Oct 10, 2015 |
Sappy, but valuable. Puts Kerouac to shame. ( )
  librarianbryan | Apr 23, 2013 |
George Dawson is more than 100 years old as he reflects back on his life. He worked on his family’s farm at an incredibly young age. At 12 he was sent to live on another farm so he could help make money to support his family. He has such a sincere and wonderful view of life. The man who wrote the book with him, Glaubman, has “book learning,” but he doesn’t know everything George knows about the way the world works, etc.

He always wanted to learn how to read, but instead he worked so his younger siblings could go to school. The race issues in the book are heartbreaking. He knew how dangerous it was to be a black man growing up in the newly freed south. He grew up listening to the stories of slavery from his grandmother who lived through the Civil War. At one point he meets as soldier that has just returned from fighting in France during WWII. The man tells George that in Paris you could eat in a restaurant right next to a white man, but he couldn’t do that in the country that he was fighting for.

The book is more about his entire life than it is about him learning to read, which is what makes it so fascinating. He worked in dozens of jobs, moved about, tried new things, etc. He just lived such a full and generous life. It wasn’t that he did anything that remarkable, it‘s the sheer fact that he lived such a long life and saw so much. The book is full of the simple wisdom that can only come from a life of experiences.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s a quick read and a beautiful reminder that life really is so good.

“Unless a man asks for advice, he don’t really want it. He isn’t gonna thank you for something he don’t need yet. See, I might think I know what’s best for him, but I don’t know what is really in that man’s heart.”

“People forget that a picture ain’t made from just one color. Life ain’t all good or all bad. It’s full of everything.”

“A man is supposed to work and take pride in what he does no matter what the work is.”

“People that wouldn’t even be speaking to each other can talk on a train.”

“Be generous in your dealings, but always have something saved for rainy weather.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Jun 28, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141001682, Paperback)

In this remarkable book, 103-year-old George Dawson, a slave's grandson who learned to read at age 98, reflects on his life and offers valuable lessons in living as well as a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century. Richard Glaubman captures Dawson's irresistible voice and view of the world, offering insights into humanity, history, hardships, and happiness. From segregation and civil rights, to the wars, presidents, and defining moments in history, George Dawson's description and assessment of the last century inspires readers with the message that-through it all-has sustained him: "Life is so good. I do believe it's getting better."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)

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One man's extraordinary journey through the 20th century and how he learned to read at the age of 98.

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