Life in Babylon
Life in Babylon: A Memoir of Joy and Anguish by Theresa M. Santmann beautifully conveys the triumphs and heartbreaks of a full life. Theresa M. Santmann’s work flows like a personal diary shared with a dear friend over an afternoon cup of coffee. Intimately, she describes growing from a young girl to early mother to fun grandmother in a way relatable to many. More recently, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, has obtained more widespread awareness. However, Santmann’s recount of her husband’s affliction with the condition captures the true longevity of the disease. In spite of the severity of the disease, Santmann and her husband ran a business, raised a family, and traveled on their boat Wicky One. Santmann’s narrative embodies the success one can obtain through hope and determination. “The very most that anyone could hope for in life was to have experiences that surpassed what might be perceived as beyond your greatest expectations.” Santmann’s life story and interpretations encourage the reader to pursue any and all aspirations. Her sense of perseverance and adventure will inspire all readers to begin planning a business venture, a safari through African terrain, or trip to the North Pole.
With that said, Santmann’s book could benefit from a tad more clarity in the narrative. The incredible aspects of her story, at times, feel cluttered among repetitive details. Meanwhile, in the next chapter, the reader will yearn for additional pieces of information surrounding different events and people. These aspects make sense when shared from a personal journal, although in a manuscript, these features can cause a degree of confusion. Despite these factors, Santmann’s overall messages of hope, loss, love, determination, understanding, and adventure take center stage to inspire and to uplift each reader. Life in Babylon: A Memoir of Joy and Anguish will touch every reader as it speaks to the relationships between husband and wife, mother and child, and with one’s own self as life changes. All readers will find a piece of themselves in Theresa M. Santmann’s four-star meditation on life and everything in between.