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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
In Far From Fearless, Rebecca K. O’Connor, author, artist, falconer, life-wanderer, survivor, lover of life just the way it is, weaves all these challenging themes into an inspirational tapestry of full engagement regardless of risk. As a raptor trainer, author O’Connor has firsthand knowledge of both the beauty and the terror of living life to the fullest despite fear, failure, and self-doubt. She wrote Far From Fearless during isolation because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The book is a collection of personal essays addressed to the reader as an encouragement to carry on. She defines the “authentic” life—doing what fulfills even while we earn our daily bread with activities more mundane. She suggests we create a mission statement not only for our daily activities but for our lives. Interspersed with her philosophy are her amazing drawings of birds in the background of leaf-prints. In particular, she recounts her own struggles with her life as a writer, finding inspiration when the going gets tough.
As a book reviewer I see many fine works, but every now and then I encounter a rare gem of a book. And Rebecca K. O’Connor’s Far From Fearless is a radiant emerald. When I finished it, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Read this book! It will make you want to pull that old unfinished manuscript out and get back to work, or whatever project that you hold dear but have put to one side. Ms. O’Connor takes her lead from her love of nature despite the savagery of the natural world and often the heartbreak of our personal relationships. An ex-kickboxer and body surfer, she knows how physically to climb back up from setbacks, and as a wild bird trainer, she also knows the grief of loss. The question is how to live holistically. And her advice is profound. It’s more than her message, though; it’s the exquisite beauty of her prose and of her art that will motivate anyone who aspires to add beauty and love to the world. She is the soul sister of the poet Mary Oliver, and had her own emotional trials, especially during the pandemic. “I cling to things lost,” she writes. “A no-fail investment—yourself.” We have much to learn from Ms. O’Connor, not only from what she says but especially from how magnificently she says it. I wish I could award Far From Fearless not only five but a universe of stars!