At Close Range – Lone Star Lit

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About The BOOK

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AT CLOSE RANGE: A MEMOIR OF TRAGEDY AND ADVOCACY
Author: Leesa Ross
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
Pages: 192
Pub Date: April 15, 2020
Genres: Nonfiction / Memoir / Personal Transformation / Advocacy
Synopsis: Leesa Ross did not expect to write a book. Neither did she expect the tragedy that her family endured, a horrific and sudden death that led her to write At Close Range. Her debut memoir is the story of what happened after her son Jon died in a freak gun accident at a party. Ross unsparingly shares the complexities of grief as it ripples through the generations of her family, then chronicles how the loss of Jon has sparked a new life for her as a prominent advocate for gun safety.  Before the accident, Ross never had a motivation to consider the role that guns played in her life. Now, she revisits ways in which guns became a part of everyday life for her three sons and their friends.
Ross’s attitude towards guns is thorny. She has collectors and hunters in her family. To balance her advocacy, she joined both Moms Demand Action and the NRA. Through At Close Range, the national conversation about gun control plays out in one family’s catalyzing moment and its aftermath. However, At Close Range ultimately shows one mother’s effort to create meaning from tragedy and find a universally reasonable position and focal point: gun safety and responsible ownership.

Purchase: Texas Tech University Press

 

My Thoughts

I read this book, At Close Range, a week ago. Now, like Leesa Ross my mind is now constantly swirling with “What if?” scenarios. See, I am someone who believes that instead of taking guns away from people, that we NEED to start teaching gun safety in schools right alongside the other ‘talks’ that Leesa Ross mentioned. I mean seriously, we talk about everything else under the sun with our kids, but this one subject we tend to stay away from. However, Leesa Ross is trying to change some of that so what happened to her son, does not happen to yours.

“Our first target can be talking about it, so that the lesson might come before the tragedy —and not after.”

Leesa Ross does a lovely job of letting us see the up close and personal side effects of people not being careful with their weapons. It is a tragic story, and it was avoidable. Yet, Leesa Ross and her family were irrevocably changed by one small projectile left unchecked; and as she laid out her story, I was left with the overwhelming feeling of bittersweet gratitude.

She brought to life her son Jon, and glimpses of the rest of her family too; it is hard to imagine the emotions of the rest of her family during this time. I enjoyed the poems she shared, and I was glad that she was bravely honest in her emotions and actions while telling this story. It gave me a look at what a person really goes through when tragedy strikes unexpectedly.

The flow of the writing was a back-and-forth timeline of events unfolding, parts of it almost echoing in different spots as Leesa Ross told her story. The advertised purpose of this book is advocacy toward gun safety and while thinly hinted at here and there, it really was not talked about until the last quarter of the book in a true sense. Which I thought sad (although maybe it is being left for another book? Uhem, hint, hint) as I would really like to know more about how Leesa Ross got involved with Lock Arms for Life.

At Close Range was and is one woman’s journey toward trying to find answers, a purpose, and learning what to believe. I am glad I read it and I am looking forward to learning more about Leesa Ross and how I can get involved with Lock Arms for Life. 4 out of 5 stars overall.

*I volunteered to read this book in return for my honest feedback. The thoughts and opinions expressed within are my own.


 

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Leesa Ross is a debut author who’s transformed a tragedy into a mission for safety. After losing a son to a shooting accident, she formed Lock Arms for Life, an educational organization teaching gun safety. A Texas mother of three, she leads Lock Arms, sits on the board of Texas Gun Sense, and belongs to the NRA.

Leesa Ross is a debut author who’s transformed a tragedy into a mission for safety. After losing a son to a shooting accident, she formed Lock Arms for Life, an educational organization teaching gun safety. A Texas mother of three, she leads Lock Arms, sits on the board of Texas Gun Sense, and belongs to the NRA.

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Five winners each get a hardcover copy of At Close Range. US Only. Ends midnight, CST, 2/26/21

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One Comment Add yours

  1. I really like the term “bittersweet gratitude.” That is exactly what this book gives the reader. We hate, hate what she went through and that Jon died, but out of that tragedy, lives will be saved. Thanks for a great review.

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