The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


August 8, 2010

Patty Crane, Book Review: Author finds reasons to live in life examined


What would you do if you knew this was the last day of your life? Who would you want to be with, where would you go, would you seek forgiveness or give it? Those are the questions Jim Moret asked himself in the book, “The Last Day of My Life.”

Moret is chief correspondent for the newsmagazine “Inside Edition.” He was a long time co-anchor for CNN’s “Showbiz Today” and “The World Today.” He has worked as a legal analyst for many news outlets on high-profile cases including both the O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson trials. By his own admission he has a loving wife and three wonderful children.

Why then would he want to ask himself these tough questions? Because this man who seemingly had it all was seeking the answer to one question: whether he wanted to live.  

I don’t get to read nearly as much as you would think, even though I am surrounded by books all day. When I do get to read I usually choose fiction, and whenever I read I visualize the story (like a movie playing in my mind).

So it was with some trepidation that I decided to read this book. I was hesitant to expose myself to the angst and trauma of someone who is considering suicide and has already planned how he is going to die. That was not a movie I wanted playing in my mind.

As it turns out I had no need to worry. This book is not full of angst and woe. Moret tells about the events in his life that led to his serious consideration of suicide in a matter-of-fact way. I understood but was not overwhelmed by the desperation he must have felt.

Also, his words did not play a movie for me. Instead, it was like he opened a photo album, then shared the story behind each photo.

To answer the question he posed to himself, he knew he had to look at the people and events that shaped his life.

“My life was a collage of moments and experiences,” he wrote. “It was defined by acts of friendship and love, gratitude and understanding, apology and forgiveness, music and laughter, hope and redemption.”

Each chapter illustrates one of these moments or experiences plus others, such as sacrifice and commitment, adventure and passion, acceptance and redemption. Even though he sometimes asks readers to examine their own lives, this book is very much his own story and redemption.

The stories he shares cover his life from childhood to the present. The marriage and divorce of his parents while both were in their teens left them bitter. The photos from his childhood reflect a troubled child who could not please either parent and provide some of the most memorable moments in the book.

Other stories of his friends and family and his love of music told throughout the book are sad, happy and proud. He also touches on his career and the people who changed his life, including co-workers and people he interviewed.

He provides a behind-the-scene glimpse into some famous news stories. He shares stories on interviews with Fred Goldman, whose son Ron was one of the victims in the O. J. Simpson trial; Beth Twitty, whose daughter, Natalee Holloway, went missing on a graduation trip to Aruba; and George Michael, the musician who had just been arrested for exposing himself to an undercover cop in a Beverly Hills park restroom.

Told with the style and skill of a gifted journalist, Moret’s story started with the question, “Do I want to live?” Not only did he find that he wanted to live but also how he wanted to live.

It is well worth your time to take a peek into his photo album and share his stories.

Patty Crane is the reference librarian at Joplin Public Library.

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