Zig-Zagging (Stephanie)

For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading the Ziggy cartoons. He’s such an inspirational little guy that always seems to see the bright side of every bad thing that happens to him.

Zig-Zagging: A Memoir, Loving Madly, Losing Badly….How Ziggy Saved my Life is written by Tom Wilson Jr. He is the current genius behind the Ziggy cartoons, but he is not the first. His father, Tom, is the original creator of Ziggy. Originally drawn for use in his father’s greeting card business, Ziggy has grown into the phenomenon he is today. And Tom has always felt like Ziggy was more than just a character his father drew. No, Ziggy was more like a brother to Tom.

The book begins in the early years giving us the details of how Ziggy was born. Through Tom’s childhood, Ziggy was a connection to his father. They used to go to Big Boy’s and eat dinner together, Tom and his father. And they would draw on the paper placemats and play their own game called “Save Ziggy”. Tom’s dad would draw Ziggy in a precarious position and then Tom would draw ways to “save” him.

But this book is about more than just Ziggy. It’s about Tom himself. In college, he meets his soulmate: Susan, the love of his life. They marry right after school, and start a modest but wonderfully happy life together. When Tom’s father gets sick, he is called into service to help with the cartoon. An artist of his own right, Tom stays in the background to do the cartoons while his dad is the one in the public eye. But when Tom’s dad is no longer able to continue, Ziggy is handed down.

But Tom’s world is turned upside down when Susan is diagnosed with breast cancer. Through a long and difficult 7 year battle, the Wilson’s continue to live hard and make memories for their children. But Susan’s death knocks the wind out of Tom. He sinks into a horrible depression. And only a little guy named Ziggy can save him.

What I liked most about this beautiful little book is that Tom writes in the “Zen” way that Ziggy thinks. “Every now and then, maybe we become lost in order to find ourselves again.” “Life is a love affair and love is an affair of life. Love affairs must be embraced and savored for all their complexities, just as life must be, as well. Being a student of life also means being a student of love. Love is a living thing with an agenda and a commission to work within our fate.”

Losing the love of his life was a horrible tragedy. But dropping out of his own life was a far worse one. Seemingly, it was Ziggy that pulled him through it all.

This small little biography is such an inspiration to anyone that has lost a loved one. A quick read, it’s filled with not only gut-wrenching personal accounts of his loss, but also gives comfort that yes, it will get better. Best of all, there are many Ziggy cartoons interspersed throughout. I really loved this little book, and I think many people can draw strength from not only Tom Wilson’s perspective on loss, but also his renewed faith is God. As someone who has suffered a devastating loss of a dear loved one, I could too well relate to his words. A must read for all Ziggy lovers, and a must read for a person that just wants to be inspired! 4.5/5


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