21 August 2014

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

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 Are you brave enough to step into the light?

On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: “How could God let this happen?” And, “Can we ever be happy again?” They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.

In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.” 

With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us – beyond all earthly circumstances – safe.

This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think.

Anna Whiston-Donaldson’s Rare Bird is painfully, incredibly mesmerizing. With courage and vulnerability, she shares her heartrending experiences in grieving the loss of her child. She does not write with falsely rose-colored words or provide easy justifications to skirt the pain, the sorrow, the challenges. I am not a mother and I cannot yet fully understand the nuances of the agonizing void left by an absent child, but the emotion Whiston-Donaldson captures and conveys is raw and tangible and on more than one occasion, brought me to tears. Still, in every tragic, tearful instant, there is evidence of unwavering faith, love and eventual hope. God is never too far away to comfort in times of tragedy, and even when life seems unbearably and unimaginably hard, “nothing is impossible with God.” With these important reminders, Whiston-Donaldson’s memoir is unforgettably powerful and inspiring. Even now, after stowing the book neatly on my bookshelf, images and scenes from its pages linger and replay in my mind. I will not soon forget Rare Bird. I am wholeheartedly grateful to Anna Whiston-Donaldson for her willingness to share her story of loss and love with glimpses of Jack, the loved, special boy who left this world too soon, but touched and continues to touch lives in innumerable ways. I think all I have left to say is: read this book.

I give many thanks to Blogging for Books for my copy of Rare Bird and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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