Maryanne Pope is the author of the creative non-fiction book, A Widow’s Awakening, and the founder and CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc. Maryanne is also the board chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund, a non-profit society set up in memory of her husband, Cst John Petropoulos. The Fund raises public awareness about workplace safety for emergency services personnel. Maryanne lives in Calgary, Alberta.”

The sample you can listen to on the Pink Gazelle site gives you a pretty good idea of the style and tone used to read the book.  Personally I think that Maryanne would have done herself a great favour not to read the book herself. I am not sure if the motif was financial or emotional, but my boyfriend walked into the kitchen whilst I was listening and asked me who the lady speed reading the menu was . I said ‘well, I think this is too much for her, to relive everything, and she’s reading it all in one breath trying to get it over with’.

The book is good, and eventually you get past the rapidly enunciated non inflectional monotonous narration, but it would still be worth giving it another try with a professional reader, there are so many nowadays.

In the book, Maryanne calls herself Adri and her belated husband Sam. First off, there are so many little coincidences that made me think of the real reason I was listening to the book, because,  just as Maryanne, I believe everything has a reason, big or small, a meaning separate from the one implied, that would be revealed eventually or never ever thought of… well, my mom’s name is Maryanne with a different spelling, my lucky number is 13 just like Sam’s, my sign is Taurus, I am Orthodox by religion, grew up with all the customs and beliefs that it entails, and I listened to the book on May 13th, Sam’s birthday; I still find every possible way to procrastinate and I do not write, even though this is my most ardent dream, ever since I know myself; I too have found my soul mate and I fear something awful could happen to him one day, and then what would I do by myself, so I welcome small accidents as tokens that would buy me more time… I read somewhere that we humans are the most courageous creatures, as we endlessly face death from the moment we wake up, day after day…

Adri becomes a widow suddenly, at age 32; Sam is rendered brain dead after falling nine feet though a fake ceiling. Everything about the accident is downright ridiculous, and you get the impression that all circumstances were leading to it… Sam and Adri enjoy one last beautiful vacation together and all is full of symbols that Adri is trying to decipher and understand. She also looks at Sam’s religion for comfort and tries to find relief in the possibility of an afterlife, a heaven where we all meet again and rejoice.

The non-fiction aspect  gives many “writers” licence to parade poor language or the vocabulary of a ten year old, but Maryanne avoids the pitfall, and that’s laudable too. The book is well written.

To me, A Widow’s Awakening brought some insight into an area most of us are not that familiar with, the Canadian police force. I think it’s eye opening, not necessarily in the panicky restless way I reacted, but in cherishing the life we were given, being decent with ourselves and the ones around us, loving as selflessly as we can, know it in our hearts that every moment is precious, that we are not immortal, we are not immortal… then what’s left is the memory of us, the way we created it through the loved ones… nothing else really matters.

Maryanne builds this beautiful memory of her husband, making him live beyond his brief existence. In short, if you ever get the chance to read this book, don’t discard it, it may enrich your life.

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