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Not By Accident: Reconstructing A Careless Life

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Samantha Dunn loves horses. So much that she is willing to suffer the pain of riding, and the various injuries that came from spending time with them. But one day, she was out riding with her horse and got into a life-threatening accident. Her leg was essentially severed from her body.

I have to say, this book starts out reading like the Reader’s Digest stories, you know the ones where someone suffers some horrible accident and then has to crawl bleeding to help. I swear, every issue has that story in it. I find them hard to read, but somebody must be eating them up. Otherwise they wouldn’t run them.

So Not by Accident must appeal to the same sorts of people. But Samantha Dunn does what I think those stories ought to do, she takes the incident as a sign to re-assess her life. The “Why me?” gets to be more than just a pathetic whine. Dunn turns it into a soul-search, which then turns into real changes.

The book was nearly 250 pages. I could not put it down. I got it from the library on my lunch break, and I was finishing it before midnight that same night.

It’s terrifying! Staring into the face of death in this story, and then the relief of being saved quickly transitions into the realization of how small and vulnerable we are. Not having strength to stand. Being dependent on others. Being a burden. Who doesn’t deeply fear these possibilities? And no one is immune.

I had to keep reading, I had to know how things turned out. I wanted to know that she would be okay, so that I would know that I would be okay. If anything like that ever happened to me.

Dunn realized that she got into too many accidents. She took a long hard look at herself, and began to take responsibility for these so-called accidents. There were reasons and circumstances that led to these accidents that actually were in her control. Not to say that accidents aren’t also accidental, but that the individual has to be responsible for themselves. She decided to take responsibility for herself, to become bravely involved in her recovery. And then being honest with herself and the consequences of her actions started to spill over into all of her relationships.

Despite the potentially airy-fairyness of her yoga and meditation, the book feels extremely physical and earthy. The centrality of horses and the brute reality of the injury keeps it planted.This is a great story, gripping to read and giving a meaningful payoff at the end.

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