Just Above Bone
Where Our Stories Live
by Jerrie Hurd
A narrative about the deep wisdom and the hidden hazards found in every family's hand-me-down history
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Most of the people highlighted in PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow want to know if they are related to a particular famous person as their families have long claimed. Families do that: they instill pride. If George Washington is one of your ancestors . . .
And pride helps. If we think one of ancestors overcame great odds, we persevere.
In Just Above Bone, the author takes a close look at the various ways families shape their descendants with their stories. She begins with her family’s love stories. She always assumed she was luckier than most because her family tells great love stories. Then she realized the hazard: Listen long enough and you could wait a lifetime expecting to be swept off your feet.
What happens when our lives don’t turn out like the stories we’ve heard? Where to we turn when our long-claimed legacy is too much, doesn’t fit current circumstances, or gets in the way of discovering who we are, as opposed to who our family expects us to be. Those heard-them-a-hundred-times stories can be as full of minefields as wisdom.
Just Above Bone chronicles the author’s story-filled journey into her family’s past, with an emphasis on her family's matriarchs. Newly aware of the power of story, she travels from a ranch in Idaho to an island off the coast of Denmark with various stops along the way gathering, examining, and wrestling with the hand-me-down history that made her who she is.
Why do we continue to tell that story? Why do we continue to tell that story that way? she asks again and again with surprising results. In the end, the author raises serious issues, but the tone of the book is light-hearted, forgiving, and fun.
With permission, the author also includes a few examples from friends’ families. Turns out there are broad similarities in how families tell their histories even across diverse cultures. And real reasons why many of us might want to take a good look at those same-old, same-old family stories.
This is a book that goes beyond one family and their place in American history. It is about how story can help 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.
It sounds too simple to be true, but when you change your story; you change everything.
Check SAMPLE PAGES tab for Introduction and the first two chapters.