by Tom Sims
Details on how to enter to win an EBOOK copy of A Story of Love at the end of this post, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Tara Hamilton has written another volume from her heart. The first was Cook, Grow, Love where she unfolded a legacy of sharing love through food that ultimately led her to become a chef and a farmer as well as a “farmacist,” and local food advocate in the Fresno area.
In A Story of Love, she is more personal and goes deeper into her heart. She also goes by her name, Tirath Hamilton.
A Story of Love is available from Amazon on Kindle. The link to order has a very good synopsis, so I will not attempt to summarize. Rather, I will reflect because that is what the book prompts the reader to do.
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Tarith (Tara) does not apologize for her views or perceptions. She does not need to. She owns them as her own, identifies them, and presents them with authenticity, vulnerability, grace, and humility. In this latest volume, she ventures into one or two areas of controversy, but that is not the goal of her book.
She is telling a story. It is her story. It lays out the foundation of the things she comes to believe and demonstrates a consistent thread of integrity through which she makes some conclusions about her life and the purpose of her life. She invites the reader on a journey, and the invitation is compelling. From the first page, the reader wants to come along and continue.
This is, first, foremost, and to the end, a love story. It is also a story of pain, suffering, injustice, personal growth, struggle, and how much it takes to overcome. It is also a reflection on the forces, experiences, and relationships that influence us and become building blocks to our thinking, our beliefs, and our spiritual growth.
Her style utilizes allegorical language, but it is grounded in a very real world. Written in the third person, she does not hide the first-person reality of these experiences. Rather, she uses the style as a way of stepping back from the very personal events she recounts and becoming a fellow-participant, with the reader, in learning from them.
At the heart of the story, from chapter to chapter, and throughout the years, is “The Source.” It is the Source who has a plan for her life and a calling. It is the Source who loves her first and most and follows her through life as she discovers more of who He is. And, it is the Source who looks down with delight as she makes new discoveries and uncovers fresh insights into the meaning of her life and life in general.
Tara tells me and wants the reader to know that, “The book is an autobiographical account of my life and my families journey to Canada. I wrote the book in ten days after Trump was elected president, and the nation seemed divided by hate.”
Without grinding any axes or venturing into political commentary, Tara just tells the story. Some of it is painful to read. Some of it makes me sad and angry as well as ashamed. There is cruelty as unspeakable violation and violence. It is unspeakable, but Tara courageously speaks of it. She also tells about kindness, compassion, encouragement, life lessons, victories, and mostly, love.
Back to the present, Tara tells me that, “The environment reminded me of the racism growing up. I knew things had changed in Toronto. It was recently voted the most diverse city in the world. I thought if Toronto could do it, maybe the states could do it too. I wanted to unite the two nations I love so much.”
Somehow, that loves comes through, from the heart and pen of an immigrant who came to Canada and the United States and has made such a contribution to both countries.
“As Valarie Kaur so beautifully said in spoken word,” Tara quotes, “maybe America is in labor pains as we give birth to a united country.”
The “call” to write the book is acknowledged early in the book itself. It is to be about love. Some of the language and style are openly influenced by the Brazilian author Paul Coelho and his 1988 best seller, The Alchemist. Tara was disappointed by Coelho’s climax. That inspired her to tell her own story.
There is an Alchemist in Tara’s book as well an “Apprentice” and a “Matriarch.” These are wise people. One grows to love and appreciate them. That is one reason that I join the author in mourning, as I type these words, for she is on a plane to India to comfort her father and mourn the death of her mother, “The Matriarch.”
Tara comes from a religious tradition that I can only learn about second hand. She entered a tradition that is not my own. Yet, her spirituality and seeking spirit are such that I can identify with readily. She does not assume that the reader understands her culture, beliefs, and traditions, only that such a person reads with an open heart and seeks to understand.
Tara says, “I wish the whole world could read the book and understand an immigrant’s trials and triumphs.”
I wish them the same. I hope more will follow her example and tell their own stories. Stories cannot be disputed or over-analyzed. They speak with an honesty born of living and reflecting upon what has been lived.
This writing is beautiful, moving, engaging, and authentic. It is hard to put down. There is a great deal of movement and many changes. While the whole story comes to a place of conclusion, there is not a sense that the last has been told or the final word has been spoken or written. There is still room for growing and becoming. There is much more love to be received and much more to give.
Brace yourself for some honest horrors that are tastefully and honestly presented. Read with a mind and heart that are willing to receive. Prepare to make the applications that fit your own experience.
More than that, be prompted to seek out immigrants to hear and appreciate their stories and empower and encourage them to tell them. In a time when people think they already know the stories of the people around them, we would do well to step back, ask questions, sit down, and listen intently and without judgment. The great genius of our common experience is found in the diversity of our journeys, the wealth that each new immigrant and group of immigrants brings to the table, and deep desire to be a part of the common story of the many people and people groups that occupy this continent.
Read the book and start telling your story while listening to those around you.
Follow Tara Hamilton on Twitter.
To enter to win an EBOOK copy of A Story of Love, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “love,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 25, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
You can find more of Tom’s columns here. Keep up with all of Tom’s writing by following him on Twitter @tomsims
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I would love to read Tara’s story which was also beautifully described by you Tom!
We have a winner!