Monday, October 11, 2010

Bader Field by Carl David

Reviewed for Review The Book
Published by Nightengale Press

This book is biographical although that is not its main purpose. First and foremost, it is a plea to young people primarily, but to anyone, that suicide is not an answer to anyone. With the premature death of his older brother, with whom the author has had an exceptionally close relationship, much of the early part of the book gives an insider look at how this death touches and affects everyone who ever knew him. Bruce had everything to live for to the eye of all beholders, but he failed to let anyone into his inner struggles, whatever they may have been.

Too many who are on the edge of this precipice feel that they cannot burden their families and friends with their existence rather than talking to someone, anyone, no matter how large or small the perceived straw that would break them. They must learn to realize that there will be far more of a burden, and blaming of selves, than could ever crush those same people by sharing their feelings, deeds, or whatever overwhelms them.

The book actually begins with the death of Sam David, Carl's father, which takes us on the journey of memories and hence to the suicide of Bruce as an integral part of the memories. Carl David, through his memories, wounds, and lifelong struggle with "why" and "is it my fault?" demonstrates how much of a burden is placed on those who knew and loved Bruce. Though few families seem to share the closeness and love of the David family, the suicide did happen.  But this is not a sad book, it is meaningful, historical, and brings to mind an age gone by as Carl takes the reader through his memories from the 1950s on. Great memories of days gone by he shared with Bruce, memories of growing up with an amazing bond with his father, a lifetime of good memories.

The sudden death of his father at the age of 58, while on a buying trip in England, once again throws the family in turmoil. This event, as fraught with sorrow and  blame as the death of Bruce, almost puts his mother over the edge, adding to the anxiety. But this also brings a wealth of memories, although always with that sadness that clings. By this time, Carl has been married less than a year. Some people would call it paranormal, others would call it echoes, or a passing thought, but a feeling of the presence of the two departed makes itself known many times, a feeling of connection, and sometimes a warning.

Aside from the fears of mortality and loss, the book is full of the love, and the closeness this family has.  There is a bit of history of how the David David  Gallery, and the gallery is another theme throughout the book. This is where Carl learned the art business, along with his older brother Alan. When their father died so suddenly of a heart attack, the two brothers took over the Gallery.  When Carl's boys were old enough to show interest in the workings of the business, they, too, were eventually running the family business.

Another theme throughout the book is flying. Sam David was an excellent pilot and had his own Aztec plane, teaching the teen-aged Carl how to fly. Carl's memories flow on the hours spent with his Pop in the air. Carl lost his interest in flying when his father died, but after many years of not realizing how much time he spent trying to be like his father to keep his memory alive, he and his wife instead took to boating. This was probably the most major event to change the direction of his dwelling on the past. No longer did he dwell, but enjoyed the memories for what they were.

This book is a testament to handling whatever is thrown at you; not only that, but how to sort out the good from the tragic, incorporate those memories and go on. Carl chose to write the memories as a way for his sons to know their grandfather, who and what he was and the gentle, all-encompassing love and compassion he represented. This is perhaps his greatest gift.

Note: The David David Gallery is still in existence, and some of the works of art that Carl speaks of in his book can be seen on their website and Carl's

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