Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Review: The Freedom Fighter - Sean Gilpatrick
Extent: ebook (283 KB)
Publisher: Self Published
Pub Date: 9th August 2011
When Brienne Hale’s losing battle with an inoperable brain tumor finally comes to an end, her funeral draws the people closest to her back to their small Massachusetts town. Unsatisfied by the service, the six people closest to her set out on the final adventure that Brienne had planned for herself.
Following plans she had made for a road trip all around the Americas, the six of them put their lives on hold and pile into her broken-down-and-still-breaking 1965 Volkswagen Split Window Van, affectionately dubbed “the Freedom Fighter”. With Brienne's brother DJ at the helm, they plan to drive the length of the trip as an homage to her and her life.
As the trip progresses, it becomes clear that the Freedom Fighter will not survive the journey, and they press on as fast as they can in a desperate attempt to complete their personal farewell to the girl they loved.
There are so many reasons why you should read this book, I don’t even know where to begin. The Freedom Fighter has a really touching premise which is what sold it to me in the first place but I had no idea of the kind of journey through life this book would take me on.
The Freedom Fighter is a story about six people who hardly know each other but are all linked through their love of Brie, a young girl in her late teens who has recently passed away. I just love the fact that although Brie is not there in person throughout the book, she takes these six people on an incredible journey of learning not just to live but how to really experience life, just like she did. This story is just like a beautiful flower that gradually unfolds to reveal the true meaning of life – and it’s not 42! The character, Nick, whose eyes the reader sees the story through is like a tortoise hiding in his shell when the book begins but gradually, through the experiences he has and the people he meets along the way on this road trip, he decides exactly who he is and how he wants to live. There are some incredible philosophical moments during the story that really make you look at things differently. I used to scoff at people in their late teens/early twenties who go off into the world trying to “find themselves” but actually I think I now know what that really means. It’s about discovering the type of person you are and deciding how you’re going to live and The Freedom Fighter takes you on this exact journey.
At the same time it’s also about how you even begin to go about paying tribute someone who has died long before their time and someone who deserved to live because they knew how to. There’s always the regret that you couldn’t have known them better simply because they didn’t live nearly long enough for that to happen. I think this is what Brie gives to these six people: through her diaries they get to know exactly who she was and through this road trip in her beloved campervan they let her live on within them. All of their lives change for the better because of that trip, they come to an understanding with life and that is Brie’s parting gift to them and the reason why she will never leave them.
I have always feared losing someone close to me, especially someone young who hasn’t really lived yet but this book has turned my fear into an optimism that no matter how long someone has lived, if they were good and if they loved life then they were worth loving and you will always carry a piece of them with you. This is a truly uplifting read that will not only change your view of death but also give you a greater appreciation of life.