BIOGRAPHY

Eyes to the Wind: A Memoir of Love and Death, Hope and Resistance

Atria. Sept. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9781982111540. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781982111564. MEMOIR
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Authoring one’s own narrative, according to lawyer–turned–community organizer Barkan, means knowing what to resist and what to accept. Barkan, who lives with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), has long been outspoken about the importance of local politics in order to enact change. He continues that story in his meandering first book while also grappling with the paradox of privilege and misfortune, feeling distressed about the future and sometimes unable to think about the present. Barkan’s story comes alive during his college years, when he discovers his passion for the intersection of journalism, politics, and law. His memoir covers a range of time periods and topics, including his years as a law clerk, his involvement in Occupy Wall Street, and later becoming an activist and advocating for government reform. A recurring concern for Barkan, as he contemplates how to handle his health’s decline, is not being able to provide for his son; his wife, Rachael, begins to take on the majority of parenting responsibilities. Noticing his speech and voice changing, Barkan wonders, “What do I want to say? To whom? And how?”
VERDICT Though Barkan’s memoir at times feels a little rushed and unfinished, his life in social justice is a story worth telling.

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