Waking the Dead by Scott Spencer | The Antithesis CollectiveAt first read, Scott Spencer’s Waking the Dead reads like a full-on love story between Fielding Pierce- a young and ambitious lawyer who aspires to be a prolific politician, and Sarah Williams – a devout Catholic turned social activist. It has all the makings of a tragic love story:  boy meets girl, they fall madly in love, girl dies and boy tries to move on, albeit with difficulties, by living his life and chasing his dreams. The first time I read it was in college and to be honest I didn’t like it because at that time, I felt as if I was reading a politicized version of A Walk to Remember. When I finished the book, I had no intention of reading it again, and not surprisingly, it languished and accumulated dust in my bookshelf for a long time.

Fast forward to one sleepless night in 2007 and I found myself reaching for this book. I was expecting a boring and tedious read that would make my eyes tired and sleepy. But to my surprise, I realized that this book tricked me the first time – it’s not a love story. It’s not a love story at all.

I am not going to tell what happens in the book and how it ends because part of the beauty of reading it is that it is very open for interpretation. But I will tell you this though – Waking the Dead is, for me, about giving in to giving up and how liberating and terrifying that must be. It’s about how one phone call, one glimpse, one memory, one song could make you realize that you’d give up absolutely everything you worked so hard for in exchange for something you want but couldn’t have anymore. It’s about how our minds play tricks on us – making us believe that something or someone is still there, when in reality, the only thing that remains are the ashes of dreams we allowed to die; or maybe the other way around – how we think something is forgotten and dead, when in reality they are still there, just waiting to be noticed.