A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, by Jimmy Carter
“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be,” this quote from Robert Browning, could be a great description of this optimistic book by our 39th President, Jimmy Carter. I was privileged to briefly meet the President when he was at Third Place Books signing this 29th book he’s authored. His warmth, humor and optimism comes through immediately in person, as it does in this book.
Jimmy Carter at 90 reflects back on his full life, and the reader is treated to an in-depth description of the events and people who shaped his life actions and decisions. It seems he’s packed several lifetimes into one, and as he quipped to one of the people at the book signing, “I’m not done yet.”
He was born in 1924, and I enjoyed reading about his childhood in rural Georgia, a life very foreign to what I’m used to. There were many parts of his life that I wasn’t aware of, and it was interesting to see, in hindsight, what he felt led him into the next stages of his life. His time in the Navy was riveting, and how he came to the decision to return to Plains, Georgia to be a Peanut Farmer and business man. His caring for the people in his community is what led him to government office, beginning locally. His election campaigns really showed his personal connection made with the electorate. It also gave a glimpse from comparison how very different times have become.
The strength of his convictions carried him through a tough, and also incredibly giving and meaningful, life. I was fascinated by the information about his Presidency, what he felt his priorities were and why. He is consistently very good about letting you know the why’s of his times. He’s honest about his regrets, and humble about his successes. He also shares his reflections on current events and times.
And this book has a wonderful, unexpected treat inside. The President has included some of his wonderful poems that he’s written throughout his life. He includes the poems he wrote at the different times of his life. They are often insightful. He also includes personal photos and copies of his own paintings. I especially like the painting he’s titled Home in Plains.
We’re fortunate to have available the reflections of this humble, sincere man who was the thirty-ninth President, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, who with his wife founded the Carter Center – a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people around the world. He’s still living a full life, and we can all learn from his tales of caring, perseverance, staunch belief and moral character.
Thereby hangs a tale . . . .
— By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.