Book Review of Gather Enough Fireflies
By Suzi Tucker
138 pages, 2020, Julius Books
Reviewed by Sheri McGregor
Brevities, as each of the 57 short entries in Gather Enough Fireflies is called, perfectly describes the bits of wisdom threaded throughout this book. Spiritual ditties, common sense, and new ways of looking at old ideas are fast paced yet bring pause and stir reflection. Entertaining glimpses into the author’s everyday life and relationships will lead you deeper into your own.
Author Suzi Tucker has a history in editing and publishing, which is displayed in her concise, effective use of words. Yet, it’s her second career, as a teacher of what is known as Family Constellations, that shines in what she communicates. “Snapshots” of life address “every sort of overwhelm and despair.” Those words from the back cover sound heavier than the book’s tone and Tucker’s simple yet profound suggestions at managing life. With a soft and inviting style, Tucker guides readers to peer deeply into the things all humans encounter yet seldom pause long enough to find meaning and, therefore, mastery in—everyday dilemmas, common fears, relationships (with others and with ourselves), and the business of life, living, and death.
At the book’s end, a “Guide to the Entries” appears with subject listings for each of the Brevities, along with page numbers. Placing this after the content is likely no accident. Reading from start to finish makes sense of its style and tone. The book is complete in full, yet the individual Brevities are too, and can be returned to by subject. My guess is each entry will inspire new thoughts, emotions, and action upon each reading, depending on your life point and experiences.
It’s not easy to choose a favorite among the Brevities, but number 41 demonstrates Tucker’s straightforward, yet often overlooked truths. “So much of our stress and tension comes from holding onto what was in the now of what is.” The opening line leads to a real-life example of Tucker’s friend facing surgery, and her fear and dread of the recovery time. Tucker suggests using the downtime wisely rather than “fall prey to disappointment, despair, and anger” about not being her usual self. As a time-efficient person, the profound simplicity of this strikes a resonant chord.
As a bed- or bath-side companion, Gather Enough Fireflies could be opened randomly and provoke self-examination and growth. Or, the contents could be re-explored by subject based on specific need or interest. My guess is each entry will inspire new thoughts and emotions, depending on the reader’s life point and experiences.
Gather Enough Fireflies is “informed by the teachings of Bert Hellinger,” and his “synthesis of wisdom” the author says is derived from psychology, philosophy, art, and the “magnificent interiors” of the thousands of people he has helped. Hellinger was a German psychotherapist who died in 2019, leaving a rich legacy of work that brings forward motives and ideals we may not consciously detect or reflect upon in everyday life yet can elicit powerful effects on us.
Having given credit where credit is due, Tucker nonetheless puts her own spin on his ideas she says inspired her. As Hellinger did in his life of helping, Tucker speaks the language of love, camaraderie, self-growth, and healing accessibly and without pretense.
I love this meaningful, yet brief book, and felt inspired to share it with other people. In its 57 short Entries, Tucker’s thoughts both deepen the soul and lighten the heart. A giftable title, Gather Enough Fireflies is also one worth keeping.