191 pages, no illustrations
As a member of a prominent Salt Lake City family and a direct descendant of Mormon pioneer Brigham Young, Brooke Williams was born into a carefully scripted life. He would study hard, be involved with his church and community, and follow in the footsteps of three previous generations to work in the family plumbing-supply business. And that is what he did.Yet despite his business success, Williams was not satisfied. His deep and abiding love of the outdoors and insatiable desire to experience wild nature made living the life that was expected of him an ongoing struggle. He found himself escaping at every opportunity into wildness, deliberately seeking risky ski routes and long, lonely runs. He realized he was drowning emotionally, unable to bring his "halflives" together, and growing increasingly miserable as the gap between his two worlds expanded. In "Halflives," Brooke Williams presents the engrossing story of his personal journey in balancing the expectations of family and society, and the needs and desires of his heart. In witty, poignant prose, he tells how he came to free himself from the life he was expected to live. Williams comes to realize he is not alone in this struggle, and he identifies a balance we all must strike between our cultural obligations and the strong pull toward wildness that our evolutionary heritage exerts on the human psyche. As he says, "If we survive as a species, it will have nothing to do with what we've invented, developed or manufactured, but everything to do with what we know in our deep cores about being good mammals. Like grizzly bears, slime molds, mosquitoes, and hawks, we have not been genetically manipulated, and we are still wild creatures. Weneed to act more that way.
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