As a filmmaker, Simon Fitzmaurice knows how to tell a story. His memoir ‘It’s Not Yet Dark’, is written with an engaging narrative and voice and often in short, poetic scenes, it feels like the book is as much movie as a memoir.
For a book about slowly losing control of one’s body, it’s surprisingly hopeful. Fitzmaurice is unabashedly romantic and his love for his wife and family are the framework for the story. His voice and his attitude is direct and hopeful. He’s philosophical but not pessimistic. He doesn’t invite pity.
At one point, he digresses from the story to make a very specific point about health policy and NLS (about ventilation) and while I understand that he felt it important to make this point (and books don’t need to be apolitical), I found the change in tone jarring, and took away from the short, jazzy sentences which make up most of the book.
The book has been out for a few years in Ireland and the UK but has just been released in the USA. It’s a good time for a book like this. In a recent interview in People magazine, he said “I’m in love with this life, and it’s worth every hardship to me.” In these dark times, I hope this book finds a good readership with its message of hope and perseverance and indeed, a love of life. And may Fitzmaurice, like Stephen Hawking who was also told he only had two years to live upon diagnosis with ALS, live a long life. He clearly has more films to make and more books to write.