At the tender age of fourteen, Laura Whitfield’s world was shattered with the death of her oldest brother, Lawrence. Untethered: Faith, Failure, and Finding Solid Ground is the story of how she grappled with the ups and downs of life following this tragedy.
Her brother seemed to be the center that her family orbited around. After his death the core of the family became hollow. Losing her brother had a profound impact on the author’s life; she constantly questioned what he would have thought about many of her decisions.
Reading memoirs allows me to involve myself in other people’s lives, from the periphery. The author floundered after high school graduation, pursuing different dreams in different locations. I really liked reading about her time in New York City as a fledging model. Whitfield made questionable relationship choices which reflected her low self esteem.
A major theme in the book revolves around her relationship with her parents, to whose home she returned numerous times as a refuge from the ravages of life. Whitfield reciprocated in her parents’ later life, providing elder care as they dealt with medical issues, which is relevant for many readers.
The ending left me wanting to know more. The author ends her memoir with a major life event, but her acknowledgement page alludes to more personal changes, which I very much would like to read. Perhaps she is planning a second book.
Grief recovery has no set time limit. People learn to cope and live with death and loss. While Whitfield admittedly made many missteps, especially in regard to personal relationships, she remained tethered to the memories of her brother and found joy in her work, family, and faith.