“And Then I Met Margaret” by Rob White

An insightful, witty, and breezy piece of work that craftily uses simplicity to send the message that we should learn from everybody.

not an autobiography

Mr. Rob White emerged from a humble working-class family from small-town America to work his way up and become successful. First, he attained foothold as a real estate developer and then garnered success as a restaurateur. Following this, Mr. White made efforts towards further reinventions in his life, initiating work as an author and a philosopher. Therefore, he not only attained material success in his life but also inculcated philosophical and spiritual enlightenment. This book reflects Mr. White’s lifelong endeavors towards reinventing himself. It presents his experiences of different events through humor and wit. The work is not an autobiography. Rather, it is a collection of events presented through a sequenced structure. These events, as encountered by Mr. White, amuse us. But more importantly, they also enlighten us.

The emotional nakedness with which the author narrates his feelings evokes a deep sense of overwhelming within the reader. The biggest achievement here is the absolute absence of ego. Mr. White is not judging anyone, except himself. It presents a critical eye over this individual who is often silly and naive sometimes to the point of risking his dignity. Risks are also taken to be comical. But the experiences are real and the takeaways are enlightening for all.

a feel of fiction

Another reason that the book does not feel autobiographical is the palpable sense of fiction visible in its words and lines. The sentences and the overall narrative reflects the amazement one feels while coming across great storytelling capabilities. There is an excitement in the pages. It is clear that the author is finding immense joy in telling us these stories. The language is simplistic with words being few. But they are effective and evocative enough to form clear images in the reader’s mind.

One can also comprehend Mr. White’s narrative grasp through the basic structure of the stories. Each story has an establishment, a rising action, followed by a climax. Thus it follows the narrative arc articulately visible in the modern works of fiction. Additionally, the structure itself is used here as a means of communication with the reader. In the introduction, the first few paragraphs are extremely enlightening but simultaneously conscious of the repetitiveness that they create. The words ‘And then I met…’ might give relief to the reader after the writer presents forcefully similar constructions in the previous paragraphs. The design of the construction thus governs the mode of communication with the reader.

we should learn from everybody

The old-world charm that the first few chapters evoke proves the significance of relationships that the pre-digital era characterized. It feels like an exotic world, where human interactions based on trust was everything. Mr. White remembers simple teachers in this simple world. There is an aunt, an uncle, a certain Mr. Vitim of a certain shop. They all have something to say from which we have something to learn. The valuable teachings of these simple human beings prove that everything is a part of a chain reaction. We are all part of something big, and we should learn from everybody.

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