Lisa Jones is a freelance writer, writing articles for magazines and for NPR. One of her magazine assignments was to write about Stanford Addison, an Arapaho Indian. She left her home and went to Wyoming in search for Stanford, not having the slightest idea that what was supposed to be a four-day-trip, would turn out to be a life-long journey of friendship with a very inspiring man. Stanford Addison was that man. He ‘broke’ wild horses, he healed people from maladies, depression, bipolar disorder and cancer being only some of them and everyone just gravitated towards him, especially children. He was also a quadriplegic who at one point in his life, shortly after a terrible accident that left him paralyzed, wanted to kill himself to end his own misery. But physical limitations seemed to be the least of his problems. Right after the accident, Stanford kept being visited by spirits and eventually realized that he had special and mysterious gifts and he had to use them whether he wanted to or not. Lisa comes into his life twenty years after Stanford’s accident but instead of simply writing an article, she ends up with a book in which we learn how she got ‘broken’ and discovered truths about herself she didn’t know existed, and how she got to truly love and be loved.
Broken is a refreshing, captivating memoir. And it’s not a love story you might think it is. It’s a story of discovering love of life, of the people and world around you, and of every mundane thing there is out there. Because in end, nothing in our lives really is or has to be mundane. From the description, you’d think the book is a work of fiction what with the ghosts and healings in it. However, I didn’t for a second doubt Stanford Addison’s story because Lisa somehow managed to convince me with her writing that Stanford’s spirit visitations and his healing abilities are very much real, however amazing and mysterious they might seem. I remember actually being quite envious at times. I envied Lisa her friendship with Stanford and his family. They all are Northern Arapaho Indians who live in poverty, who get into a lot of troubles with law, who are wild but who are also beautiful and rich, and wise.
Lisa Jones really is a skilled writer and I hope she actually decides to write more books. She’s very honest, especially about herself even if it may invite criticism. I think I liked that honesty the most. No one was glorified which only made the memoir and the people in it all the more likeable. You have no idea how many times while reading I wished I were right there, in Wyoming with Stanford and his family. I know they could teach me a lot about appreciating life and all that comes with it. But because I can’t, Broken is quite enough for now and I know I will be going back to reading this book many times, just to remind myself of simple truths written in there. If you like memoirs and want to be inspired, this is definitely a book for you. Even if you don’t read memoirs, you should still read this one because there is much to learn from it, and maybe you’ll even gain a fresh perspective on your own life.
Special thanks to the author, Lisa Jones, for sending me a copy of Broken: A Love Story.