Turning Points: Stories to Change Your Life
Julia Ogilvy, Lion
This is a collection of interview-based stories about turning points for ten people.
The author’s own turning point came with the death of a child from Tay-Sachs disease. This led her to leave a successful but demanding career to set up a charity, ProjectScotland.
The story I found the most interesting (and horrifying) was Clive Stafford Smith’s experiences as a death row lawyer. He said that he didn’t have one single turning point that led him to this career but a series of incidents. One in particular when he looked at a picture of Joan of Arc being burnt at the stake and thought she looked like his sister.
Part of his story included: “They’re sitting underneath the electric chair that will take their lives. Once a week they would test the electricity and all the lights would dim.”
Ogilvy interviews a wide range of people, including people who have come from dysfunctional or tragic backgrounds and made a second chance for themselves and then others.
Other people faced tragedy within a privileged environment and later felt they should be doing something for society. Issues covered in the interviews include addiction, justice (mostly a lack of it), illness, disability, illiteracy, religious belief, kidnapping, betrayal by the church and death.
Turning Points Stories to Change Your Life is not an easy read. It’s challenging and very vivid. And it could lead to new turning points for its readers.