Many people, at some point in their lives, experience a profound event that completely alters the path they'd previously been on. The kind of event experienced ranges anywhere from the beginning or ending of a relationship, the loss or gain of a loved one, a traumatic injury, and so forth. In the case of Virgil Wander, it is a near-catastrophic car accident. Everything of who he was prior to the accident is still there, in his head, but the memories are slow in returning. As they do, that man doesn't feel like him anymore. He wonders if he should even try to be that man, or if he should take this opportunity to forge a whole new self. Maybe the self he should have been all along.
When forging a new path, it's expected that mistakes will be made. As we grow up, when we're in our single digits and teen years, it's understood that we will make mistakes. There is an expectation that, not only will there be mistakes, there will be the getting back up after and deciding if that mistake signals the end of a road or a skill to be learned. Once we reach adulthood, though, that understanding seems to disappear.
At some point, we realize that we're expected to have life all figured out. We're supposed to be on our determined path and to have certainty that our path is the correct one for us. There's not supposed to be any changing. Even if something traumatic and life-altering happens, we're supposed to spend our time fighting to get back to where we were before the event.
When Virgil survived his car accident, he was "supposed" to spend all of his time and energy fighting to regain all of his memories and go back to the way life was before. That's the expectation, both from himself and from all who know him. He should take a little time, heal physically, and then strive to go back to the way things were, as though nothing ever happened. Why is that so important?
Virgil's journey is his effort to challenge and answer that question. Does he need to go back? What if this is his chance to go forward like he never could before?
I loved every page of this book. It is inspiring, evocative, and hopeful. Even when something happens in our lives that throw us off-course - or maybe especially when something happens - we can turn it into an opportunity. If only we dare.