Jean Ellen Whatley was a mother of four mostly grown kids who'd worked her way through the bowels of the media industry and ended up at the end of her rope. In a short span of time her mother died, two of her brothers died, and a close friend died; each death reminded her of broken promises to herself. She'd meant to visit them all, to spend time with them while they were still here, but her job — her life — got in the way. What the hell kind of life is that when the people who matter most get less time than your job? So she chucked it all, packed up the car, threw her dog Libby in the passenger seat and set off to revisit the most meaningful people and places in her life. Along the way she wrote it all down and came out the other end with a book about her journey, Off the Leash. It ain't the money, the possibilities of the future or even the idea that tomorrow can be better; it's the belief that right now is the time to live. Whatley visits Subterranean Books (6275 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-862-6100 or www.subbooks.com) at 7 p.m. tonight to discuss her odyssey, her book and probably Libby. Admission is free, and copies of Off the Leash will be available for purchase.
Mon., Oct. 29, 2012