Summon the Tiger
Born with congenital bone deformities that left her needing a prosthetic for one leg and a malformed right arm, Wendy Thomson came into this world at a disadvantage. She was also born a girl in the early 1950s… yet another strike against her. However, despite everything the world threw at her, Thomson was able to have a remarkable life and an astounding career. Summon the Tiger tells her incomparable story.
From moving several times during her childhood (including living for a time in a boat which she helped to sail from Michigan to Florida) to working her way through college to fighting up the corporate ladder in a time when women were still considered something closer to office decorations than potential high-level workers, Thomson has lived a remarkable life, and her spirit shows through in every page. I hesitate to call her determination inspirational, only because that word has connotations of lightness and cheeriness, which she shows none of. While she does have a sense of humor, she also has grit the likes of which typical inspirational stories seem to lack. However, I believe her story will inspire people, even if it is the sort of inspiration that feels more like a sharp kick than an outstretched hand. Thomson has fought to make her life her own, to become a career woman and a mother worthy of every comfort she has, and if she can fight so strongly, it is hard to believe others can’t.
The one complaint I had with the book is personal and likely entirely related to my own inexperience in life: I found the first half of the book far easier to follow than the second. The second half is deeply involved with Thomson’s career and how it affects her life, and as I have never cared to have a career of that sort, I found myself rather out of my depth in reading it. It was nevertheless fascinating, and I am certain others will find it enjoyable, regardless of their experience with high-flying careers. For a tale of courage and determination in the face of great odds, look no further than Thomson’s memoir.
Wendy Sura Thomson