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Book Review – It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War

23113233._UY200_.jpgIt’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War

As you may know, I love audiobooks and my favorite type has generally been memoirs and biographies, though I try to always switch up and read fiction, faith, science, mystery and even some self-help, organizational and recently time management. Really no genre is completely off limits and I really do strive for variety, and motherhood has changed my choices, although this current book is something I would have read before.

I like to write a little about a book if there is anything in it worth writing about. Frequently my mystery novels don’t have anything worth blogging about even though I love them.

Now that my husband has started working in the evenings, I have a lot more time to read as I do chores, watch baby, walk, and just about anything else.

This particular book wasn’t an A+ half to read, but there were parts at the end I really related to.

The book is by a war photojournalist. Not surprisingly, I have read wonderful books by some of the reporters she worked with, Dexter Filkens, The Forever War, is amazing and well worth reading if you are interested in Iran or Afghanistan.  It’s probably not fair to judge a award winning photographer by the audio version of her book. I have to imagine that the print version contained some powerful images.

The book starts out very unpromising, and is basically the story not just of how she became a war photojournalist, but more why she puts herself into these dangerous positions. The parts that I connected with were those at the end that explained how things changed and didn’t change when she eventually got married and had a child.

My first few weeks as a mother were were a blur of sleeping and nursing and trying to reconcile my present life with the one that seemed to have existed in such a distant past. For three months, for the first time in memory, I didn’t pack a single suitcase, I didn’t book a plane ticket or look on Expedia. I didn’t stress about hotels, or assignments or breaking news or who was killing whom or who was dying from a outbreak of measles or cholera in what distant corner of the planet.

I get this. My work world isn’t wars and dying, it’s child abuse and sex trafficking, beatings and drugs; but the contrast I experienced during maternity leave was similarly stark. I decided not to watch the news at all on my break and generally felt that the “normal” world of cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping was as bizarre as most would find my world of sex, assault, and crime.

The other part of her book that really hit me was how she felt when she returned to work and now had to meld her two worlds.

She was covering Syrian refugees as they struggled to survive without medical care in the midst of bombings.

It was a story that had been routine in the past but took on a whole new meaning for me as a mother. With every scene I wondered how Lucas would fare in the same situation. I wondered how it would feel to be like these mothers who suddenly could not guarantee security or basic meals to their children.

People told me this would happen, but it didn’t right away.  However, the older baby gets the more this happens. The barrage of speaking engagements and new victim stories in the last two weeks has hit me differently because with each one, I imagine my baby girl.

The world is different now. She makes it different.

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