Marbles, the singular memoir by Robert Biederman, sub- titled Frontiers of Mortality is a collection of 21 unforgettable and extravagantly diverse personal experiences. Biederman examines life at inception, at death, and the many moral choices in between. His bag of Marbles focus on family relationships, their evolution and devolution as well as a few comic moments that reflect some of the absurdity in our judgment. What results is an uncompromising look at life’s hardest moments, narrated with warmth and humility. A recovering alcoholic, enduring the memory of his own father’s suicide, comes home to the news of his own son’s death from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Wounds that resulted from guns the father had hidden under his bed. What is a TIP Volunteer and how does he help the father survive those first 12 hours? The land of Israel as seen through the eyes of a sabra with memories of every war fought. It’s a vivid telling of her participation and her current life below the Golan amongst her Arab neighbors. The situation in the Middle East presents a paradox; the endless cycle of violence provides an opportunity. What do you feel when you kill another person? What do you do? What does the world really do? Crohn’s Disease tests a family’s cohesiveness and shapes a young woman's wry character. Teenage pregnancy leads to a journey through Open Adoption and its unintended unpredictable consequences. A brilliant neurologist transplanted to Australia from South Africa via Abbey Road is forced to face the broken promises of the Golden Years. He deals with the wonderful companionship of his adult children, the good fortunes of a life reborn in Sydney and the fleeing coherence of his wife of 50 years. Alone, surrounded by love and respect. Are the overt actions of the Dominant abusive parent the proper focus of rehabilitation? Are the roles of Dominant/Submissive isolated to the bedroom and Boardroom? Do they play out on the world stage, in your own personal toxic relationships? Infidelity as a practice bears a strange resemblance to the Geneva Conventions. The consequences run parallel. Expediency defines political correctness. Today’s smiling truth trumps tomorrow’s sometimes easily avoidable consequences. Are sexuality and intimacy one and the same? Two primal needs bring conflict and opportunity for resolution. What would you do in each of these situations? What do you expect of others? Do you bear the responsibility of the consequences of your actions? How often are those consequences escapable? Our lives are not solitary. Each of our experiences embrace another human being. We exist in pairs and small groups that define us and are called “family”. When the choices we make turn against us, family can deteriorate, pull together, or shatter into factions. Mending relationships, abandoning, or enduring them create the cast of characters that dictate future decisions and their consequences. What is truly right, truly moral, and what is just expedient? Do we race through life just a step ahead of the consequences or walk in comfortable cadence with those around us who share our values and forgive our lapses? Are those infrequent near-death experiences brief escape hatches from the actions we’ve taken, deeply regret, and live in fear of the pending consequences?
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