Inside the Halo and Beyond

Kumin, Maxine. Inside the Halo and Beyond. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000.

Reason read: Portland Public Library Reading Challenge has a category “Prose by Poets.” This was perfect.

During a horse and carriage accident Kumin fractured her neck in two places (C1 and C2). She shouldn’t have survived the accident. 95% of the population with similar injuries do not. Doctors went on to tell her that 95% percent of the people who do survive that kind of Type II break are irreparably damaged; paralyzed for life. Kumin defied the odds and not only survived but gained nearly 100% percent mobility. Inside the Halo is a memoir about that journal back to near-normalcy. It is a story of courage and acceptance. Kumin’s courage to fight through a long and agonizing period of recovery and acceptance that some scars, mental and physical, remain.

Lines I liked, “There is a lot to be said for the continuity of a long marriage” (p 103), “I am still lying on the examining table and I am perfectly positioned to kick this man in the groin” (p 148). This, after he commented that horses belong in cans of dogfood. I need to play devil’s advocate for a minute. Maybe his comment comes from years of seeing people horribly maimed by horses. Maybe what he meant to say is horses weren’t meant to be ridden and driven like slaves.

Author fact: Kumin wrote a book of essays called Women, Animals, Vegetables which I haven’t read but reminds me of Kingsolver’s book of a similar title.

Book trivia: Inside the Halo is a very short book with minimal photographs.

Playlist: “Abide with Me.”

Nancy said: other than plot, Pearl didn’t say anything specific about Inside the Halo.

Book Lust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Prose by Poets” (p 194).

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