Historical fiction is personal for one author

By Page H. Gifford

 Local author Alden Bigelow never writes anything that doesn’t promote advocacy. For those who have read his books, the message stays alive long after the book has been closed. He has a subtle skill of telling simple stories based on true-life events that make the reader think about character or characters in a different way.

Through storytelling, Bigelow has a knack for bringing what is fictional to life in a realistic way, illuminating life’s injustices  as he did in “Killing Time in a Small Southern Town.” He does the same in “Norton’s Lament.” The difference with Norton is it parallels his own life and living with depression.

“Depression affects over 16 million Americans in any one year and I am one of them. The message of “Norton’s Lament” which I convey in novel form addresses two truths — major depression is chronic  and it is a disability that almost never goes away. In most cases it can be managed. That means those who suffer from depression can have full and productive lives,” said Bigelow. “The book is intended to send that message but it is also to remind us that those who are not able to get adequate treatment often become part of the 30,000 suicides in America per year, of which 5,000 are teenagers.”

Though he calls it historical fiction. Bigelow’s message is clear and honest as seen through the eyes of his character Norton. Norton comes of age in a world of turmoil during the 1960s, with Vietnam and racial injustice; a time that was life changing for many of his generation but had an impact on Norton in ways that he would not understand for years to come. The book is set-up as a journey, with vignettes of Norton’s encounters and his adventures throughout his life, sprinkled with some lighthearted moments, shunning those who try to love him and trying to understand himself as he rides an emotional roller coaster.

Bigelow made the choice not to do a memoir but preferred historical fiction, which

 allowed him to tell the truth as he knew it and to project from that a larger truth which would not otherwise be known.

“It really wasn’t that difficult to write since I deal with my depression every day. What was challenging was to communicate the lessons I have learned in a way that  is entertaining, informative and compelling at the same time.”

According to Bigelow, those who have read the book, were positive about it.

“It was very positive from a cross section of people who have dealt personally with depression or have someone in their family or circle of friends who suffer from it. “

Bigelow hopes that those who read the book gain a new perspective that gives them hope

and a road map in managing their own depression.

Norton pops up again as the protagonist in Bigelow’s soon to be released book “Waiting on Nantucket.” Norton will bedealing with different circumstances at a different time in his life.

For more information about Alden E.C. Bigelow and his other books, visit https://www.aldenbigelow.com.

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