“Life is not about sheltering from the storm, but about dancing in the rain.”
This popular quote inspired the title for Diana Crevatin’s candid and engaging memoir, Dancing In The Rain, in which she describes the relentless progression of debilitation brought on by multiple sclerosis, and how she manages to overcome each set back.
She begins the story from her childhood, providing a brief but vivid picture of life in her close-knit migrant family. Her story unfolds idyllically for a while: she excels in her studies, gets a high paying job, meets and marries her perfect partner. They buy a house and bring a child into the world before the first harbinger of bad things to come presents itself – Crevatin experiences problems with her vision. Although her eyesight eventually returns to normal, she is told that this is the first sign of the onset of MS.
The news triggers all the stages of grieving, but she comes full circle to display the incredible fortitude and resilience that help her repeatedly overcome each successive onslaught of the disease.
“So even though I had a diagnosis of MS, this wasn’t a catastrophe, I wasn’t given a death sentence and I wasn’t going to let it stop me from living life to the fullest.”
Crevatin takes us through to the present day, detailing the emotional impact and practical challenges imposed by the illness, and the imagination and resourcefulness with which she invariably responded.
The writing is simple and descriptive – not literarily brilliant but warm and enthralling in its honesty and lack of pretension. Crevatin diarises everyday life, otherwise unremarkable except for particular quirks and dramas caused by the presence of her MS. She has a wry humour, pragmatic attitude and genuinely inspirational spirit. In fact, each chapter is separated by a page of “Points To Ponder” in which she asks the reader to meditate on certain learnings from the experience she has just shared.
It’s an easy and enjoyable read and a lesson in personal strength and optimism.
Austin MacAuley Publishers Ltd, May 2017
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich.