Marshmallow reviews Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Marshmallow enjoys reading fiction and most often reviews works of fiction for our blog. But this week she decided to write about Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, first written in 2004 and then republished with a new foreword and an afterword in 2016.

Marshmallow reviews Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit.
Marshmallow reviews Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like nonfiction books that discuss current events, or if you are worried about the future because of said current events, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Rebecca Solnit goes over several depressing events of the recent years with a new perspective. She defines hope, not as optimism, but as the acknowledgment of possibilities for a better world. The author carefully analyzes the past and the present to demonstrate how hope is intertwined with action. Her rousing book encourages readers to keep sight of a brighter future, within reason. Diverging from the common conceptions of hope, this book presents a stronger, newer perspective:

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.

Simply put, hope is not naive optimism but rather the ability to see the possibilities in the uncertainties that surround us and the capacity to act accordingly. 

Citing recent events, famous people, and writers of old, Rebecca Solnit builds her case as to why hope is so relevant and important to our modern world. In each of her twenty-one short chapters, she focuses on a different aspect of hope and how we should nurture it. In the end, she builds a solid argument for why there is always hope, even in the darkest times.

Marshmallow is reading Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit.
Marshmallow is reading Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit.

Marshmallow’s Review: In these deeply troubled times, hope is difficult to find. This book is refreshing to read as it does not offer any easy solutions or fake comfort; rather it states clearly that things are not going to work out the way we want them to unless we start making changes. With clear evidence and reasoning, the author proves with finality that we are not inevitably doomed (the key word being “inevitably”).  

This is a book that we should all read, though it might be a little advanced or confusing for younger bunnies. The clarity with which the author presents her position helps the reader engage effectively with her ideas. The flow of thought is easy to follow, and the chapters all have several ideas and concrete examples relevant to the main topic (hope).

Originally, I read this book for a project concerning hope. This book not only proved itself to be an invaluable resource for evidence, quotes, and ideas for my project, but also was a source of inspiration more broadly for life in a dark world. I found it wise that the author, Rebecca Solnit, never says it will get better. This specifically, I felt, was not just a sound decision, but also a main theme throughout the course of the book. If anything, I found this book to be a call to action— what this action must be, however, is more difficult to perceive. Yet, this book was extremely helpful to read, as it served as a reminder that we have the potential and opportunity to improve our world. 

In this short book review, I hope I have done more than just inform you about a book I have read. I hope that I have also pointed you towards a refreshing idea, a new perspective, that I think can be both informative and beneficial for everyone.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 99%

Marshmallow rates Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit 99%.
Marshmallow rates Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit 99%.

3 thoughts on “Marshmallow reviews Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit”

  1. Is the glass half empty or half full?
    Do we focus on past failures or past victories?
    Do we have hope or lose hope for the future?

    Depending on your choice you make, you can lead a very depressed life, or one were you look forward to a better future. Never lose hope! It is what makes life worth living.

    Liked by 1 person

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