Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have a bit of a “Boyfriend List”, and that the Supernatural boys are right at the top of that list. Luckily I have a very understanding husband who furthers my obsession by buying me awesome presents! This Christmas Jason gave me huggable Winchester Bros and a matching Castiel, along with an absolutely awesome model of Baby, the very VERY important ’67 Chevy Impala who is every bit a character of the show. I love them to DEATH, and I’m cuddling with them while writing this post. Don’t judge me. XD
Family Don’t End With Blood, edited by Lynn S. Zubernis, has the subtitle “Cast and Fans on How Supernatural Has Changed Lives”, and that does a wonderful job of describing exactly what this book is all about. Compiled and edited by Zubernis, this book is a series of letters and essays from both fans of the CW hit tv show, Supernatural, and actual cast and crew members of the same. With the general topic of “how the show changed my life”, these stories range from “I’ve had some of the best times of my life working on the show” to “the show literally saved my life“, and because a chapter of the book, in turn, helped to change my life, I felt it pertinent that I focus on it for my first ever book review.
I assume that this is pretty much a given, but this book is obviously directed mainly at fans of Supernatural, and those are definitely going to be the readers who most enjoy it. That said, after having read the book I can honestly say that it would be an excellent read for anyone who is looking for an uplifting story. The emotion in the essays within this book is raw and brutally honest. From the cheeriest story about meeting your significant other, to the deepest stories of both physical and psychological health decline, you can tell that each writer wrote from the depth of their being and held nothing back. When hitting a familiar mark with the reader – which is bound to happen with such a wide variety of stories and storytellers – this raw honesty can create one hell of a reaction. Of course, not every individual essay is going to create a deep resonance within the reader, but chances are that if you’ve ever been through any kind of major life change, or hit any kind of particularly rough period in your life, one of the stories within this book is going to hit home in a powerful way.
There were several essays within the book on the broad topic of “belonging” that struck a chord with me, and is something that so many of us struggle with in a variety of ways. Being part of a “fandom” is the common thread throughout these stories, with the overarching lesson that fandom can be an amazing thing, and that finding people who simply love the same show/movie/game/book/whatever that you do can make a huge difference in your life. Hence the idea of the book itself, being that a television show deeply affected peoples’ lives.
But it’s not all just specifically about the show or the fandom, and it’s these outlying stories that can really call out to the reader, in my opinion. In one story, for instance, actor Rob Benedict tells about how he suffered a stroke during a Supernatural convention. The stroke very nearly took his life, but because of the combined efforts of actor/director Richard Speight Jr – who knew Rob enough to know that there was something very wrong with him – and actor Misha Collins – who luckily knew what the signs of a stroke are and urged Richard to take Rob to the hospital – he was under hospital care in barely enough time for his life to be saved, and eventually he was able to regain lost functionality as well. That chapter, aside from simply being an extremely scary-and-yet-inspiring story, really made my heart clench because it reminded me powerfully of how my own cousin saved her boyfriend’s life in a similar manner: by knowing what the signs of a stroke were, despite friends insisting that the barely-20-year-old was simply “really drunk”.
Other stories within the book made me laugh, made my chest hurt, or caused me to have quiet moments of self-reflection as well, but it was the last chapter – the one written by one of the show’s primary stars, Jared Padalecki – that literally changed my life.
For those who don’t know, Jared Padalecki has suffered from depression, a testament to the fact that success and a good life do not mean that a person can not be falling apart on the inside. I don’t want to get deep into exactly what Jared wrote in the final chapter of the book, because it’s honestly the kind of thing that I think should be read and experienced personally without much prior information. However, what I will say is that there was an incident – a simple, unassuming, practically meaningless incident that most people would have gotten upset about in the moment and then laughed about later – and it nearly broke Jared down. And in that story, the way he describes the incident, the way he described exactly how it felt, exactly how his brain was processing it, and what his reactive instincts were in that moment…it was truly as though he was describing any of a hundred different-but-similar moments that I’ve experienced myself over the past half a dozen years. I read this particular chapter of the book on a plane on my way to a job, and I am being absolutely honest and serious when I say that I burst into tears while I was reading it, genuinely frightening and concerning the other passengers nearest me.
But don’t worry…it’s a happy ending, for both Jared’s story and mine, as reading it gave me the courage I needed to finally seek help, and since doing so I have never felt better. For the first time in nearly a decade, I feel good, and it’s all because of a book, written around a tv show that, yeah, I happen to really enjoy. But even if I didn’t love the show as a fan, I’m confident the stories would have touched me in the exact same way.
And that’s the best endorsement that I can give of Family Don’t End With Blood. At its core, it’s a compilation of the hearts and souls of a variety of people who have gone through a variety of life changes. The fact that those changes came as a result of being connected, in some way, with a fun and popular tv show is amazing, but in the end, also consequential. What really matters is the truth and emotion encapsulated in each story, and in that aspect the book truly shines forth. It is a wonderful grouping of stories, at least one of which is guaranteed to touch the reader in one way or another, and I can honestly say that it was a wonderful, compelling read that changed my life.
“Family Don’t End With Blood: Cast and Fans on How Supernatural Has Changed Lives” gets two thumbs up and a heaping helping of gratitude from me for helping me do what I’d been avoiding for years. It’s a wonderful read for any Supernatural fan, but would also be a wonderful read for anyone going through a rough time, especially those who have a tough time fitting in or feeling like they belong. Check it out using the link above, and if you’ve read it yourself, feel free to share you thoughts in the comment section below.
One of the awesome things about being a member of this awesome, geeky YouTube community is that we can sometimes help each other out when it comes to scoring collectibles that we’re having a difficult time getting. This is the topic of this video, in which I receive a Pop I’ve been waiting literal YEARS for thanks to the lovely Sera Dawn. Thanks again, Sera! ❤
I recently started a new job, and if you didn’t know, the nature of my work requires me to fly to another province and live there for 2-3 weeks, working daily 12-hour shifts the entire time I’m there. As you can imagine, this schedule doesn’t leave a lot of room for free time, but during the time that I do have I squeeze in as much as I can to keep myself sane. So I thought I’d share what I’m currently…
First off, I wanted to mention that I recently finished reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and I absolutely loved it. I don’t know what I was expecting from the book, but it actually surprised me in a big way. I loved the story, the characters, the crazy semi-dystopian future that Cline created, and the non-stop pop culture references and throwbacks to geek and gamer culture and history. It’s definitely worth a read – especially if you grew up through the 80’s, and I’m totally stoked for the upcoming movie now.
But to be more true to the word “currently”. I’m actually reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone again for the Basement Geeks Book Club. I’m only on Chapter 3 as of the writing of this post, but I’m enjoying it so much. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read any of the series and I’d forgotten a lot of the smaller moments in the narrative that make up the greater whole.
I’ll also shortly be starting another book with the same book club called Family Don’t End With Blood, and I’m very excited about this one. It’s basically a compilation of stores about people whose lives have been affected by the show Supernatural. Since I absolutely love that show to death, and the book has chapters and inserts from the stars of the show, I can’t wait to delve into that one.
I decided to use the time I’m stuck out here alone to watch some things that Jason doesn’t want to, and I’ve started with Death Note. I started the anime series about a teen who gains the power to kill by writing a person’s name in a notebook a while ago, but at the time I only got a few episodes in because I was distracted by other things. I enjoyed rewatching the episodes I’d already seen, but now I’m into the episodes I hadn’t yet gotten to, and I’m really into it. I can’t wait to see where the story goes by the end. Plus I just love the shinigami character, Ryuk. He’s too awesome.
This will be the most boring entry in this post because, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t really had the time to be playing anything lately, especially now that I’m working again. Between 12-hour days, catching up on my social media and channel-related stuff daily, and the aforementioned reading and watching, there’s not enough time left in the day to really get into a video game. I’ve been wanting to get back into Borderlands 2 on my Vita, after watching Jason playing a bit of it on the PS4, but there’s really no sense in getting into a game like that unless you’re willing to sit down and dedicate at least an hour into it at a time. That said, I’ll admit that I’ve been playing two phone games during breaks at work while I’m eating. One is Magikarp Jump, which is a fun little game that’s strangely addictive, but also doesn’t involve any real skill at all. It’s the type of game where you just poke the buttons and watch what happens, and it can only really be played for five minutes or so at a time. The more involved one I’ve been playing is Sailor Drops, which is basically a Candy Crush clone, but with the storylines of Sailor Moon attached to it. I’m highly addicted, if only because they keep having special events in which you can unlock more and more characters and I desperately want to get them all.
So that’s what I’ve been consuming recently. What about you? Any new, fun stuff on your list? Anything you recommend? Anything you vehemently DON’T recommend? Please feel free to share!