Ted Baxter’s Relentless is a non-fictional memoir chronicling the author’s massive stroke and subsequent stunning recovery from near death and brain injury. The book doesn’t just feature Ted’s voice alone – his wife and an assortment of other family members make significant contributions to the narrative and, despite their differences in speaking, there is a conversational coherence each of the disparate voices share. There is, likewise, unified emotion binding these voices together is likely to exert quite an effect over readers. Make no mistake – this isn’t just a book for stroke survivors and their loved ones. Relentless is a story of triumphing over adversity anyone interested in the human spirit and condition will find deeply moving and inspiring.
The book opens with an extended introduction from two neurology experts who have documented Baxter’s recovery and worked with him a great deal. It gives the volume a solid medical grounding to begin with and sets an objective stage for readers to consider just how improbable Baxter’s survival and continuing recuperation from stroke stands in contrast to what many stroke victims endure. It is an important voice to include in this book and, without it, it might be a lesser, albeit still affecting, piece of work.
PRIMARY URL: https://www.tedwbaxter.com/
The book might contain elements of fiction, but they are forgivable. Baxter cautions us before the book begins in earnest that, as a result of the brain injury he suffered, he reconstructs some conversations and incidents with a dollop of creative license. It does not mar the book overall. Each of the principles in this work, Ted’s wife Kelly, his immediate family, and others emerge full throated from the text because they share their memories and emotions with such unfettered honesty. As well, the aforementioned style of the piece, conversational in bulk, nevertheless communicates the realities of Baxter’s situation with clarity and underrated eloquence.
Running a little over 225 pages long in its digital edition, the book deserves praise for maintaining its focus throughout and never losing its way with needless sideshows or information. The medical information provided by the text scattered throughout the text never overwhelms readers and, like the aforementioned introduction, serves to provide context rather than advice or instruction. The dialogue, even when reconstructed rather than recalled, is functional and convincing. There are no long winded discourses and the individual sections of different speakers display the same focus defining the work as a whole.
The early portions of the book may be frightening to some. You will be, as a reader, excused for the passing thought that if this can happen to someone so committed to self-care like Ted Baxter, it can happen to anyone, even you. Once we get past that, however, Relentless chronicles an inspiring recovery, never free from challenges, but anchored by a central figure that refuses to give up. I am thankful I have the chance to review this fine book and finished it believing that all things are possible in this life if you survive and crave to regain the life you lived before adversity visited your home.