I’M IN THE TUB, GONE. By Richard James Carlson
Publish America, Baltimore. 2004. 123 pages.
Available at the San Diego Police Museum and on Amazon.com
Reviewed by Walter Hall
“Today is the final day of this life…”
Only once in a long while do we encounter a book that just won’t let go. This is one of those books. The subject is suicide; the format is simple: a collection of the notes left behind. Identities are protected, but the texts are rendered just as they were found. Unvarnished. No commentary. Just a last wish, an edgy accusation, or a lonely cry against the coming night. Each voice wallops the unsuspecting reader from a different corner of life.
An experienced SDPD emergency negotiator, Richard Carlson introduces the collected letters and notes with a personal appeal not to give up. He is addressing two audiences: those who would consider taking their lives and the rest of us. After absorbing even a handful of these notes, readers will find it difficult to argue.