Monday, January 31, 2011

A Measure of Endurance - Mishler

A Measure of Endurance by William Mishler tells the harrowing story of 17 year old Steven Sharp, a farm-boy from Oregon, who's arms are tragically severed when a hay baler he is working around spontaneously starts running, catching his hands. After the accident, the Sharp family is approached by a lawyer who has fought against the baler's manufacturer in the past, for similar issues, and convinces Steven and his family to fight . The legal battle unfolds, with the crux of the argument being whether Steven in fact turned the baler "off" before approaching it. Ultimately, no answer is rendered...but a fair settlement is awarded.

I enjoyed this nonfiction story, as I often do, because of the memoir-ish feel of the writing. Mishler, who himself passed away recently, tells the story with just enough emotion, but no shmultzy-sentimentality. Though it seemed clear to me that the author, and most likely the readers, side with the Sharp family, the defense is by no means demonized.  Potential readers will be glad to know that the story is neither overly goory [there is one short scene where Steven tells his story in court that made me woozy...though that could have been the flu], nor is it overly legal mumbo-jumbo. Overall, its just a good read about a tragedy and how the family ultimately triumphs.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.


Jeane said...

I was glad, too, that they left out the unpleasant details of his actual accident and instead focused on what happened afterwards. It was a really well-told story!