Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Power of a Good Story

(click for Reuters photo slideshow)
Is there anyone who hasn't been riveted by the story of the Chilean miners andtheir rescue? Early yesterday morning when I first heard that a few men had reached the surface, my eyes welled up, I smiled, and said a silent, "Thank you," to God.

When the story first broke, it became the topic of conversation among my family and friends. Can you imagine being trapped a half a mile underground? How will they survive? We talked, we hoped, we prayed that these men who were trapped would return safely to their loved ones. We watched video that showed us the faces behind the names and learned their personal stories; the sons, husbands, dads, and friends of so many. The whole world united with positive thoughts and/or prayers for these men and we fervently hoped that there would be a happy ending. And last night, as the last miner rose from the underground cavern (and how appropriate that the rescue capsule was called Phoenix) their happy ending was realized. We celebrated in their joy, because it was our joy too.

That's the power of a great story, whether it's real life or fiction. Think of the stories you love; the ones that are so powerful they linger in your thoughts for days. They touch something deep inside and draw forth powerful emotions from within. They are the stories we want to talk about, we have to talk about. Maybe it reawakens a memory or maybe the character's voice is so strong that we feel a connection through the author's powerful writing. These stories can be triumphant or devastating, compelling and/or thought-provoking. Sometimes they even have the power to change us forever.

Some of the stories that have touched me deeply are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I couldn't stop thinking about these novels for days. What stories have had a powerful impact on you?


  1. I just finished MOCKINGJAY and I loved/hated it because it had such a powerful impact on me. I'll be thinking about it for many days, I'm sure!

    Thanks for the great post. I am so grateful the miners made it out safely, too.


  2. Yes that is a great question. I enjoyed Every Light in the House Burnin' by Andrea Levy because it made me think about my relationship with my parents and the trilogy by Helen Helen Forrester about her childhood in Liverpool. Very moving.