Welcome to the Zig-Zagging book tour! Lisa of TLC Book Tours invited me to read this memoir and host a stop on the book blog tour.
Tom Wilson is the author of Zig-Zagging: Loving Madly, Losing Badly...How Ziggy Saved My Life, a memoir that tells how Tom acquired the Ziggy cartoon from his ailing father, how he coped - and didn't cope - with his young wife's death from breast cancer, and in typical Ziggy style, how he came to a place of acceptance and gratitude for the challenging journeys he's faced.
Each chapter title gives an indication of the book's journey: Backward, Upward, Downward, Heavenward, Inward, Wayward, Outward and Homeward. Tom's road trip between Cleveland and Cinncinati is the opening for each chapter and serves as an effective extended metaphor for what each chapter has in store. For example, at the beginning of the journey, Backward, Tom glances in the rearview mirror at his family home and recalls his childhood and his close relationship with his creative father. In Upward, Tom is on the highway and reminisces about his early adulthood and meeting Susan, whom he marries and eventually loses to cancer. In Downward, the "...highway is dangerous. It's started to rain, so I proceed with caution" (page 57). This is where the rough part of his journey begins.
Ziggy often serves as Tom's co-pilot, both on his metaphorical road trip and through the challenges he faces. After Susan's death Tom has a difficult time coping; as a single father to two boys he doesn't allow himself the time and space to really grieve. He tries to get on with his life, often with negative consequences.
A good portion of this book shows how NOT to grieve the death of a partner. I feel that it's reflective of our culture's lack of a healthy grief response, especially for men who are often completely adrift after losing a spouse and don't know how to grieve appropriately.
Not being a religious person, I sometimes felt uncomfortable with a lot of God-Heaven-Bible references. But it's Tom's story and his belief was an important part of the journey for him and for Susan.
Zig-zagging is ultimately an inspirational book. If you're at all familiar with Ziggy's character, you can probably guess the sort of role he plays throughout the story - humorous, self-reflective, self-critical and often just grateful for simple pleasures. It's a quick read and, in addition to the main story, has some interesting insight into the world of cartooning.
If you'd like to enter a drawing to win a signed copy of Zig-zagging, click on the photo below. Many thanks to Lisa and TLC Book Tours for organizing this tour. Check their website for more Zig-Zagging tour stops and for upcoming tours.