A Short Book Recommendation

Nowadays I don’t read as much as I would like, but recently I came across Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow by Anders Nilsen (with Cheryl Weaver).

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow cover
(Taken from the publisher’s website)

It’s difficult to classify this book. The content is about Nilsen losing his fiancée (though she hated that word) to cancer, but that description doesn’t quite do it justice. The project is referred to as a memorial— a travel journal— a set of conversations, and I feel the urge to tack on “beautiful” and “intimate” and “genuine”. I don’t know how else to explain this book except it’s all of above.

“This story is, obviously, very personal, but ultimately I think it isn’t exclusive. It feels incredibly particular to me, still, but it’s just love and loss. And everyone, for better or worse, can relate to that.”

Nilsen writes this as his parting remarks in the Afterword— literally writes, in his blocky handwriting on looseleaf paper. Their relationship is introduced to us in postcards, and a letter from Nilsen to his sister; we follow them on their travels through photographs and cartoons; it ends with black and white drawings… the combination sounds like it would be bewildering but everything is so intimate and it just fits.

I love the book for the way it tells their story. I hate the book because life sucks and I hate this ending. If you have the time, this is a book that you should read. It isn’t very long, and it is worth it.

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