The idea behind Just Above Bone is best illustrated by the twist that the author’s grandmother added to Cinderella. “We like that prince,” her grandmother would say when she finished the story. “Nothing better than a fine, handsome prince, but YOU need to pay attention to the fairy godmother—she got things done.”
Clever, but what happened to the little girl who grew up hearing that version of Cinderella? Did that story, told that way, change how she went on to live her life? Of course, it did. Stories are that powerful. They are touchstone, mantra, the song that plays in the back of our heads. They give structure to our lives. They outline our expectations.
Just Above Bone chronicles the author’s story-filled journey into her family’s storied past. Newly aware of the power of story, the author traveled from a ranch in Idaho to an island off the coast of Denmark with various stops along the way gathering, examining, and wrestling with her heritage and how those heard-them-a-hundred-times stories made her who she is.
Why that story? What that story told that way? she asks again and again with surprising results. With permission, she also includes a few examples from friends’ families. Turns out there are broad similarities. And real reasons why all of us might want to take a good look at our storied legacy. Those same-old, same-old family stories offer wisdom, but also hazards. The author’s family, for example, likes to tell great love stories, meaning she could wait a lifetime expecting to be swept off her feet.
What happens when our lives don’t turn out like the stories we’ve heard?
This is a book that goes beyond one family and their place in American history. It is about how story can help all of us find firm footing amid the chaos of change. It is a love-poem to storytellers, a roadmap to roots, an exercise in finding home. It is about taking control of one’s life and one’s story and how to recognize real wisdom in the modern mobile world.
Sounds too simple to be true, but when you change your story; you change everything.