Stories of Life | Critical Book Review

Davidson Loehr’s “Stories of Life: The Nature, Formation, and Consequences of Character” offers a distinctive outlook on personal growth, determination, self-discovery, and the capricious nature of fate and chance.


Diverse Narratives, One Life

Loehr’s memoir unfolds through four compelling parts: “My Early Life,” “Life After Vietnam,” “The Costs of It All,” and “Concluding Thoughts.” Each section unravels numerous anecdotes, providing a detailed tapestry of his life journey, encompassing childhood, military service, family dynamics, musical endeavors, photography, carpentry, and the complexities of two marriages.


Character Development and Life’s Bend

Loehr posits that much of our character solidifies through nature and experiences before the age of 25, likening it to a twig on a tree. He contends that these early experiences shape our character, and this fundamental aspect remains relatively unchanged throughout our lives. Notably, his transformative military service spans three and a half years, standing out as a pivotal period influencing his character development.


Memoir Meets Self-Help

Beyond its role as a personal memoir, the book seamlessly doubles as a self-help guide. Loehr introduces “Your Turn” segments after each story, inviting readers to reflect on their own experiences and contemplate how they would navigate similar situations. Initially perceived as potential distractions, these sections ultimately enhance the interactive and introspective nature of the memoir, contributing to its overarching themes.


Bold Choices and Fate

An exemplary instance of the memoir’s self-help dimension intertwining with personal narrative emerges during Loehr’s stint in cook school after basic training in the army. By challenging the status quo, he alters his fate, securing a reassignment to clerk school. The narrative prompts readers to consider the benefits of bold decision-making in their own lives.


Religion Explored with Insight

Religion emerges as a prominent theme, handled with finesse in the final section. Loehr, drawing from personal experiences, provides both objective and subjective insights into the development and contemporary relevance of religion. He navigates the sensitive topic with acuity, presenting Unitarianism as a religion that encourages both heart and intellect in worship.


Questioning Faith and Finding Answers

For readers with reservations about discussing religion, Loehr’s nuanced exploration proves enlightening. The author addresses the flaws and hypocrisy within institutionalized religion, offering a thought-provoking examination of what religion should embody. His insights serve as a guide for identifying red flags when engaging with or accepting one’s religious beliefs.


A Book for Thoughtful Consumption

“Stories of Life” demands more than a casual read; it requires time and effort to fully absorb its rich content. Yet, investing in this process unveils an insightful and thought-provoking perspective on how character profoundly shapes our lives.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Palmetto PublishingNonfiction / Memoir282 pages9781649903884

Davidson Loehr’s “Stories of Life: The Nature, Formation, and Consequences of Character” offers a distinctive outlook on personal growth, determination, self-discovery, and the capricious nature of fate and chance. Diverse Narratives, One Life Loehr’s memoir unfolds through four compelling parts: “My Early Life,” “Life After Vietnam,” “The Costs of It All,” and “Concluding Thoughts.” Each…