Books,  Reviews

Book Review: Unselfish – Love Thy Neighbor as Thy Selfie

20150131222140-Unselfish_Final_CoverUnselfish: Love thy Neighbor as thy Selfie by Paul Parkinson
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Unselfish Stories
Date: May 5, 2015

The world is wrapped around itself. If you don’t believe that, all you have to do is watch the news or look at pretty much any social media outlet. Populated with stories about “my rights” and “I need” that are punctuated with a constant flow of people holding a camera up to snap pictures of themselves, it’s really not hard to see the trend.  So it’s a like a refreshing breath of clean air when a book comes out that highlights what people are doing for others.

A big, beautiful book that screams to be put on coffee table display for all to see, Unselfish delivers heart-warming tales of the kind of selfless acts that don’t make the headlines. Even with viral videos and people trying to highlight the good in the world, more often than not these stories are overlooked. By reaching out to get the stories from people directly involved, Paul Parkinson has given voice to these beautiful acts. From actors taking time from their busy schedules to help those less fortunate to teachers who give far more of themselves than just education in the classroom, Parkinson’s book literally overflows with beautiful stories that will touch your soul.

Not only are these stories full of people who are making their world (and subsequently our own world) a better place, but each one is partnered with a rich, vivid picture that brings their memories, thoughts, or beliefs into more than just a story. We get to experience the reality with them.  And let me say it again in case you missed it – this is a gorgeous book too. The stories are amazing but the layout and photos really drive it home that it’s not just a book to read. It’s something to share.

I loved this book. Every day I work with my kids and try to do something to show them that the world isn’t all doom and gloom. I mean that’s what the news would have us believe wouldn’t it? It’s easy to see how people can lose hope and not be able to find their place in life when all of that ‘bad’ is happening around us. But Unselfish shows us the flip side of the coin. Natural disaster? Let’s highlight the volunteers who risk all to save others. Illness or injury? Instead of showing the impossibility of recovery, why don’t we look at the people who believe the impossible?

I’ve often referred to myself as an obnoxious optimist. I always try to see the bright side of things (yes, even in the midst of my cancer journey – though it took a little more work!). This book is a perfect gift for someone like me who always wants to see the good in things or people. But it’s also just as perfect for that someone out there who needs to be reminded that the world isn’t always such a horrible, lonely, dark place. After all, we’re all together in it.