Tuesday, May 2, 2017

It's Okay To Feel Good About Helping People - The Fireman (Joe Hill) Review *Spoilers*

Dear Diary,

I recently finished "The Fireman" by Joe Hill. It was recommended by an ex-boyfriend who I'm still seeing. But more on that for another post. (I'm actually seeing two of my ex's at the moment, but I'm honestly super down to meet "the one" and get married this year or the next.).

The books was too long, even by audiobook standards. But I was a fan of the narrator by the story's climax - it grew on me. I liked the book because it was about hope. So often, scary novels or action-thrillers are about the cooler the better (!!!FIRE ROBOTS FIGHT#$^$@$ DRIVING INTO WATER?! DEMON POSSESSING FAMILY AND GOES BACK TO HELL?!). I liked "The Fireman" because there was - sneak peek alert - a lightness in the drama. And the lightness carried the characters towards positivity and finding beauty in the way of escaping something terrifying. But then again, I'm a sucker for a story of hope because it's the one thing that leads me out of dark places in my own life. As an agnostic college kid, I was glad to see that there wasn't an emphasis on God to lead people towards salvation - but rather, the good in some people shining brightly to do the best that they can be. Getting older each year, I can see how my experiences seeing the bad in people could make me go sour. I've always been able to see the good attributes in people more than the bad, but that's why people take me to be naive. In my opinion, it's not naive to be able to see the strengths and weaknesses in others, while putting their positive in the forefront of how I characterize them. I liked "The Fireman" because I related to the main character.
Here's one quotes, that does take place in the context of a religious discussion: "Don’t they all teach that to do for others feels better than to do for yourself? That someone else’s happiness need not mean less happiness for you?”
A huge theme of the book, which I didn't see other reviewers online touch much on, is that it is OK to feel good about helping other people. It's OK if helping children heal from their illnesses in your free time makes you feel important and valuable to society. There's a point in this story that just because you feel good about what you're doing, therefore receiving some level of gratification, from what you're doing and this seems to imply that the activity that you're doing to help others is actually selfish ... it is ok to feel good. To forgo your own happiness that is an effect from the effects of forwarding the good of the society? It's FINE. This is an issue that I've always had personal trouble dealing with. As a philosophy major, I've early in my academic career been asked the pointed question of whether it is OK if, You do things to benefit for other people and as a result, feel good about yourself for doing it. Also: If you do something because it makes you feel good, and the side effect is necessarily that you are benefiting other people, is this virtuous behavior? I think Joe Hill would say... it's OK if you love helping people (which probably means that it makes you feel happy, fulfilled, and valued) and end up feeling better because of it. The mean of achieving your happiness seems to be the benefit that others are getting and that might seem to imply that your priorities are not in check, but it's OK. You can't hate yourself for being happy about helping people. You could be a monk and feel no attachment to the situation, just totally dedicating yourself to a virtuous and prosperous society...or you could volunteer at you local pet shelter to make friends and keep company to animals. I am not someone who would say - hey go ahead and be selfish! That's fine! You deserve some pampering! Partly, that's because I don't have the complete self discipline to not do some things for myself sometimes already - online shopping after finishing a big essay, reading a book right before I sleep at night, or logging onto social media for a few minutes everyday. I don't need to focus more on myself, in my opinion, because as a person who tends to occasional succumb to personal desires and intuitive feelings (I'm just a human girl trying to find love, happiness, and achieve a higher education - man), I want to dedicate as much time as I can to make a lasting impact on the lives of others. And that's where I feel this book to resonate with my values. If you are a pessimist, you might not like it. I'm sarcastic and sometimes get down in the dumps, but I love hope - so I have a love for the characters of Harper and the fireman. Not to mention, I love a cheeky romance  (heads up, the romance is a sub-plot). I relate to Harper, so when she catches feelings for the fireman, I started to love him too.

“You are one person with your mother, and another with your lover, and yet another with your child. Those other people create you—finish you—as much as you create you.” - Joe Hill, "The Fireman" quote.

This book touches on human nature, life and death, love, and help. Some of my favorite, themes, TBH. (If you haven read other posts on this blog before, I hope you as a reader understand that I sometimes - and always have been one to! add in random and slightly obnoxious slang or CAPS to my writing. I think I do it because I wouldn't say shit like that in real life, where I'm always being polite and considerate about the feelings of others. This is what happens when you've been a sarcastic person most of your life and decide that it's impolite and that you have to curb your attitude. Note - dun dun dun = the art of holding your breath)

That's all for now. Thank you for supporting my hope in believing the good in people, Joe Hill. And for the following quote:

“Your personality is not just a matter of what you know about yourself, but what others know about you. You are one person with your mother, and another with your lover, and yet another with your child. Those other people create you—finish you—as much as you create you.”

I love it (and chuckled quite a few times in this book...huge thumbs up for giving me reason to smile),

-That Girl