Help is On the Way by David Friedman

Review by Yani Perez . . .

David Friedman’s new book, Help is On the Way builds on the song he wrote, “Help is On the Way” thirty years ago in response to the AIDS crisis. The song was originally sung by Nancy LaMott and went on to become the theme song for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. “Help is On the Way” became a beacon of hope and symbol of solidarity.  Friedman’s book delves deeper into the tenets of the song and offers inspirational advice for those seeking help or someone who just needs a pick-me-up.

Originally written to uplift and heal during the AIDS epidemic. Help is on the Way comes on the onset of a new pandemic. Freidman shares the impetus for the book, “the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and my song “Help Is on the Way” became very much in demand its message seemed more needed now than ever. I put the song on Facebook, and I was asked to do one of those large- scale Zoom videos with Broadway stars, musicians, studio singers and kids singing from home, which we used to raise money for Broadway Cares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund. The message was resonating with people. They seemed to be finding solace and hope from it, and I thought, Time to finish that book.”

The book is organized where each chapter is a line taken from the song. Friedman writes in the introduction, “the song lends itself to being broken up, line by line, into chapters in which a particular message is amplified with true stories, parables, and advice that might be helpful. So I offer this book to you, and my hope is that what- ever you may be going through at the moment, you will find encouragement and hope, and an inner knowing that Help is on the Way.” Chapter one is the feel-good starter for this extremely relevant book.Given recent tumultuous and unstable times chapter one titled, “Don’t Give Up The Ship” provides a window of light and optimism. Friedman shares life lessons from his dad, insight and pragmatic advice on how to approach life’s problems. One of the take-aways from this chapter is “failure is what happens on the way to success.” Sometimes, we need to be reminded of these lessons and Friedman provides a comprehensive way to do just that.

Friedman’s style is comforting which make his stories welcoming and relatable. He approaches his writing with empathy which is directed “toward healing and enlightenment.” This comes across throughout the book with its warm tone and conversational manner. He tactfully uses humor in areas that may not lend themselves for such lightness. It is this lightness that makes the book an enjoyable read. Each chapter draws readers in with their inspirational titles and encouraging words. Readers will enter a journey that travels from overcoming failure, having faith, believing in the outcome, to opening one’s heart and mind.

Chapter four, addresses the line of the song “And If You Just Hang In There, Life Is Gonna Work It Out”. This chapter explores the notion of relinquishing control and having unfaltering faith that in the end it all works out.  One of the many notable concepts is succinctly captured in Friedman’s offer of “feeling the discomfort”. He writes,  “so when you’ve tried every-thing you know how to do, try letting go and letting God (whatever God is to you—a deity, something deep inside yourself, the Universe, Nature, whatever) and see if solutions you never dreamed of and coincidences you couldn’t have predicted work things out in ways you could not have imagined.” This idea can be difficult for many to swallow let alone practice but Friedman provides concrete anecdotes and quotes from people who have conquered and surpassed obstacles grounding this idea as obtainable and most importantly doable. Friedman does not shy away from the uncomfortable, “in fact, those uncomfortable sensations are the only result of “failure.” Everything else is story. Once we increase our capacity to feel this discomfort, we can take more and more risks and keep going for what we want, because the only result of not getting it will be a discomfort that we are capable of being with…. If we can tolerate being uncomfortable, we can do anything. Lose weight, stop drinking, persevere toward a dream. Anything.” Great words to live by!

Help is On the Way is a feel-good book that provides practical and concrete methods of coping and uplifting the spirit. Friedman’s concepts on not giving up on dreams or being prepared for how life presents itself, which is quite often out of our control, give an underlying comfort that when in need help is indeed on its way. We just have to believe.

Help is on the Way was published on May 1st 2021 and is now available on Amazon ($16.99).