Levi Benkert and Candy Chand’s No Greater Love is the story of one man and his family who radically uprooted their life and moved across the world outLevi Benkert and Candy Chand’s No Greater Love is the story of one man and his family who radically uprooted their life and moved across the world out of love for children. Levi was doing well in real estate but when the housing crash hit, his business was spiraling down. He was agonizing over what to do and strategies to come up with when a good friend called and asked him to fly to Ethiopia to help rescue a group of children who had been labeled as a curse by their tribe and were going to be killed. A group of photographers had discovered this practice and managed to rescue nine children. After deliberation and his wife Jessie’s support Levi used his emergency fund and flew over to Ethiopia to aid this effort. The plight of these children weighed on his heart and when he flew back home he and his wife made the decision to move their family (three children at the time) over to care for these kids and find them a home. Their story is moving and inspiring. Ultimately, the state and other organizations stepped in to aid this rescue and the Benkert’s relationship with the tribe deteriorated. The Benkerts ended up doing other work with Ethiopian orphans.
I have mixed feelings about this book. One the one hand, I respect Levi and Jessie’s willingness to literally sell everything and move in answer to a call. Their tenacity is remarkable. On the other hand they made a completely life altering decision very quickly. Levi mentioned in the beginning of the book that they were believers but did not regularly attend church. It is surprising that a church funded them to go over to Ethiopia without them having a commitment to a local church. There was high emphasis on the good that they achieved as well as the lifestyle they were in before they went. It is certainly a remarkable story but it seemed to just skim the surface. I would like to learn more about them and their ministry. I appreciated the honesty about struggles but it was too short! I think their story has more potential.
I learned more about adoption. I share Levi and Jessie’s horror at those who use it as an opportunity to make money. It was surprisingly difficult for them to navigate. Side note: it is a messed up world when adopting children who need a home is that hard! I definitely want to read more about international adoption.
All things considered it was a good read. It was easy to read quickly. It is not one that I am going to give away or recommend with flying colors. I had a couple of concerns with the book. I did appreciate the opportunity to read and review it! (I’ve received this complimentary book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)...more
A Touch of America: Memories of an Austrian Fulbright Scholar was not my favorite read. The idea has such potential: reading about the impressions ofA Touch of America: Memories of an Austrian Fulbright Scholar was not my favorite read. The idea has such potential: reading about the impressions of America from the perspective of an exchange student after World War II. I have several issues with the book right from the start. The first is that it is not clear that this book is fiction. The character Helen is based on Wilma Shine’s experience but she is fictional. Just the title indicates that this is in a memoir style and it is not. Perhaps it is in the historical fiction: memoir style but it is not in itself a memoir.
Another critique I have is the formatting. Across the top of each page is a line (like a header) and on many pages the text and line are crooked. Unfortunately having a line there accents this imperfection. Chapters do not have numbers and in some cases there are large white spaces for no apparent reason.
The writing itself is startling. I am not sure if there is a factor I am unaware of but the writing was oddly disjointed. It almost reads like a travel journal. It is short and abrupt and the writing overall does not flow well. I found the story to be more about Helen’s relationship with her love interest that her discovery of America. Shine did mention the different states that Helen visited but did not focus on that. I think there is a neat story contained in this book but I was very distracted by the writing, the formatting and the general abrupt nature of the book.
I received a complimentary copy of A Touch of America as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team. Thank you to Dorrance Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
If Only is a book I saw on the goodreads give away list and signed up for kind of expecting to blast. It’s young adult fiction about grief and for somIf Only is a book I saw on the goodreads give away list and signed up for kind of expecting to blast. It’s young adult fiction about grief and for some reason I expected it to be platitudes and a lot of “fake it till you make it” sort of advice disguised as fiction. I am happy to announce that I was wrong. This is not a moral tale at all. In fact I will probably buy multiple copies of it. It goes on my very short list of quite helpful resources for dealing with grief, death and the pain of negotiating life “after death.” Not “after death” as in eternity but after experiencing the death of someone close.
Corinna is a “normal” middle schooler with all of the anxieties, stressors, confusions and drama except that she isn’t anymore. The whole “highlight of my summer” thing was brutal for her, because over the summer she lost her mother. The story takes the reader through Corinna’s school year in 8th grade. It is helpful to see through the eyes of a young teen during grief. As Corinna struggles to do life and relate to her friends grief hits her in waves.
I would hand this book to a lot of different people. I would give it to adults who have a child in their life going through grief. I would give it to middle and high school students who have a friend going through grief. It is a snapshot into what is and isn’t helpful. Although that differs for each person, I think this book could help teach a young teen especially how to be loving and caring toward a peer dealing with loss. It could be powerfully encouraging for a teen dealing with loss if it was presented gently and timed well.
One of the powerful strengths of Geithner’s story is normalizing teenage responses to death. Corinna eventually interacts with peers who have lost someone. A factor that eases some of her isolation is hearing them say that they have similar fears, emotions and confusion. Instead of thinking that she is crazy she can then understand that her circumstances are the difference between her and most of her peers instead of it just being her. I cannot recommend this book enough. I want to tell all the pastors, counselors, therapists, teachers and parents I know about it. Geithner did a spectacular job of dealing with a painful and hard issue without making it an extremely heavy book to read. If you have teenagers in your life, read this book! I have never read anything that expresses so well the unique way tragedy and death hit at that crucial age.
I am thankful to goodreads for giving me the opportunity to review this book. I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Initial response: I just finished it. I just have to saw "Wow!" I'll write more when I've had a little time to gather my thoughts....more