“Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.”
― Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls
I didn’t set out to write about this book; unless it is a specific book sent for that purpose, I don’t usually review what I choose to read for myself. However, when I came across a story called War on page 233 of The Moth, I felt this incredible urge to get my lovely new Macbook out and write, something I have struggled to do in the last couple of months.
The book is a collection of stories, just a few from the thousands that have been told to small crowds all around the world. Each of the Moth shows starts with a theme and it is up to the storytellers to explore it, quite often in unexpected ways. Every story is true and told without a script, allowing the shows to ‘dance between documentary and theatre, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.’ It is a way for people to connect, to feel as though they are not alone, and to understand the world around them.
A large part of my love of history is learning about people and where they came from. It can tell us so much about where we’re going and and how we are going to get there. These stories show the best and worst of human experience. These stories are laugh-out-aloud funny, heart-breakingly sad, emotionally gut-wrenching, awe-inspiring and hope inducing. They are stories about all kinds of people, people from every possible walk of life; imagine an assassin with an Anne Frank quote tattooed on his back, a pastor teaching the Christian story of Easter to a man who had never heard of Easter before, Malcom Gladwell ruining an important friendship in his life, and a geneticist discovering he is adopted. These stories are a reflection of the complexity of human existence.
What has touched me the most about The Moth is the fact that honesty and vulnerability matter. They break down the perceived barriers between gender, race, religion and sexuality. It reveals the truth about the human race and teaches us to listen, not just to the story but to what it reveals – we are all the same, we are all connected and that empathy is the key to a better world.