Things I Wanted My Grandsons to Know before I Leave

Kenneth Stobbe

Publisher: Book Vine Press Pages: 88 Price: (paperback) $8.99 ISBN: 9781949574883 Reviewed: December, 2021 Author Website: Visit »

A life well lived is a blessing that shouldn’t be taken for granted. And if a bit of that grace can be doled out to loved ones before passing on, all the better. This slim volume is a time-capsule of snippets of wisdom curated by author Kenn Stobbe for his daughter’s sons, Grayson and Talon.

In his Introduction, Stobbe explains that in high school he liked to read old sayings and quotations. Over the years, he began writing them down. “Some I read, others were told to me by friends and loved ones, and still others were my own thoughts.” Here, he aims to share them with his grandsons, telling the boys that he hopes they “might make you a better person and your journey through life just a little easier.”

The book offers a list of these sayings, without further narrative. Many of the statements within the text come from biblical verses (“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man”). Others are humorous (“The only thing you get from straddlin’ the fence on an issue is a sore crotch”) Still others originate from notables like Winston Churchill and Steve Jobs.

There’s much to ponder here, and the text’s down-home humor sparks plenty of laughter. In the years to come, Stobbe’s grandchildren will surely appreciate this keepsake and demonstration of their grandfather’s love. General readers, however, may be deterred by several obstacles.

First, the author rarely offers attribution for these statements; this can be frustrating, as readers will want to know which were Stobbe’s alone. Additionally, some of the sayings seem to require further explanation (“Always grab what you can and let the loose ends drag”). Finally, the stream of unrelated sentences, page after page, becomes wearying on the eyes. Natural breaks that come from themed sections would be helpful.

This is a worthy endeavor, sure to delight Stobbe’s family. But revision is necessary to attract a wider readership.

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