July 8, 2011

Ross' Rad Reads - LETTERS FROM A DISTANT SHORE

When a non-fiction book publicist contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing her client's book, the timing was perfect. I needed a new book to read, and liked what I read about this one. I anxiously waited for my copy to arrive:


I will be honest; if I did not know this book had a "happy" ending, I'm not sure I could have gotten through it. As a mom, I felt the author's pain as if it was my own. There were several points where I was openly weeping. It would have been easy to simply put it down and walk away.

But this book is so much more than the true story of one family dealing with and overcoming tragedy. It is a story of faith, miracles, finding strength in the face of great adversity and ultimately, survival. Even though much of the story is sad and difficult to read, I could not put the book down. I devoured it as quickly as I could.

When Marie Lawson Fiala's oldest child Jeremy was 13 years old, he collapsed on the kitchen floor from a massive brain hemorrhage. Once at the hospital, doctors would discover a congenital defect deep in his brain. It is every parent's worst nightmare come to life.

It also serves as an important reminder to cherish every moment we have with our children. You truly never know what tomorrow will bring. It's not trite; it's true. Marie and her family's world was shattered in an instant, and life has never been the same.

They all had to learn to deal with a new normal. Many marriages fail under such stress. This one persevered. Jeremy survived, but was forever altered. His path was unexpectedly and abruptly altered, and no one knew where it would lead. Meanwhile, life needed to go on for the couple's two younger children.

As a family of strong faith, they all trusted in the grace of God to get them through it. That faith connected them with thousands across the world long before there was social media or the internet as we know it today.

Maria's writing style is exquisite. She writes so beautifully I was in awe. I was even more impressed when I realized English is her second language. She expresses herself in a way that is poetic, even as she writes about the worst time of her life.

Equally inspiring is how her young son faced the situation. It is a touching testament to the will to survive and tenacity of the human spirit. It also demonstrates that kids are capable of so much more than we tend to realize.

I highly recommend this book. I've already passed my copy on to someone. And I'm giving it my Ross' Rad Reads Award.  Of course, the word "rad" does not seem appropriate, but I can't change the name of my award.



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