This was a good book, and a real tear-jerker. Never before have I started crying reading the Prologue and Forward of a book.
The book begins by quickl...moreThis was a good book, and a real tear-jerker. Never before have I started crying reading the Prologue and Forward of a book.
The book begins by quickly summarizing her childhood, relationship with her husband, and Steven Curtis Chapman's rise to fame as a Christian singer. The majority of the the book focuses on her family's life, specifically their work in adoption advocacy, the death of their adopted daughter, and then how their family coped after the loss.
It was a quick read, and very touching. Mary Beth Chapman writes openly and sincerely about the Chapman's life. Most chapters of the book begins with lyrics from her husband's songs; it's a nice way to see how he develops his music, and it's nice to see that his music is truly personal.
The last quarter of the book are mainly excerpts from her blog; I found this to be the least interesting part of the book. While I know it was a good way to cover how she was feeling in those years, it gave me the sense that she was just tired of writing and needed something to finish off the book (though I know that probably wasn't the case).
Mary Beth Chapman focuses on what family really is, and the necessity of God's grace. This book really spoke to me.(less)
**spoiler alert** I must admit, I chose this book very carefully! I have wanted to read it for years but just never gotten around to it... Then it cam...more**spoiler alert** I must admit, I chose this book very carefully! I have wanted to read it for years but just never gotten around to it... Then it came time to read my 200th book on Goodreads, and I thought to myself that for such a milestone, it had to be a profound book! Well, The Glass Castle certainly didn't disappoint!
I simply couldn't put this book down. Jeannette Wells' writing captured me. She has a way of sharing her story without condemning or excusing her parents' behaviour.
I am incredibly passionate about the welfare of children - both as a soon to be adoptive parent, but also someone who works in social services and sees how poverty, alcoholism, and general poor parenting can impact a child's direction in life. It saddened me to read that (according to Wells) child welfare only "investigated" once (and I use this term loosely since the welfare worker only seemed to come to the house once with no follow up). I believe in the importance of biological parents raising their own children if they are capable/willing to do so... But it was evident that Jeannette and her siblings were not always cared for/protected as they should have been.
I found it interesting how Wells' stories of her parents developed through the book; the stories from when Wells was younger was told in a way that focused more on the whimsical way her mother and father parented - parenting skills that perhaps weren't always best for a child, yet Wells tends to focus more on how these experiences established her outlook on life (i.e. her parents not having enough money for Christmas presents - while it was likely as a result of poor budgeting, Wells only highlights how special it was that her dad gave her Venus as a present). However, as the book continued into stories of Wells' adolescent and teenage years, the reader becomes more blatantly aware of how the parents' flaws negatively impacted the family.
This book pulled at my heartstrings as Wells portrayed her parents in so many ways - as parents unfit (at times) to address the needs of the children, but also as parents who taught their children valuable life lessons in their own special ways. This book is excellent for teaching everyone how to have more grace and compassion for your family members, despite their faults and flaws.(less)
I can't bring myself to rate this book, but I will review it! I can't allot this book stars because the process of writing this book was a huge part o...moreI can't bring myself to rate this book, but I will review it! I can't allot this book stars because the process of writing this book was a huge part of Jaycee Dugard's therapeutic journey, and I just can't bring myself to "rate" her story.
This was quite an emotional and intimate story. The story is graphic and disturbing. But after many chapters, Jaycee often included a "reflection" on what was written. This mainly included relevations of thoughts and feelings that she experience while writing her story.
I am glad I read this book because it gave excellent insight of her story from the abductee's perspective. And it is evident that Jaycee continued to work through her thoughts and feelings throughout writing this book. Not only did writing this story contribute to her therapy and process of healing, but Jaycee had written in her journal that she wrote while she was held captive that she dreamed of writing a best seller book. After all she has been through, I'm glad that she was able to pursue her dream of writing. That being said, it wasn't the best written book I've ever read, but neither did I except it to be so with the amount of trauma she has experienced and the lack of formal education she has received. I really appreciate that it was not edited to the point where it would be obvious that it wasn't Jaycee Dugard's voice.
It is also evident that there are many issues that she has not completely worked through yet; for example, she mentions countless times that her relationship with her step father was not very good. While this is an important aspect to consider while reading the book, the number of times she mentioned it was just uncomfortable.
After reading the book, I read more about her abduction through articles, etc. There were details that I found interesting that weren't included in A Stolen Life or weren't elaborated clearly (for example, apparently her step father saw the abduction from afar and tried to pursue the car, and her visit to the parole office and her subsequent discovery was confusing the way she described it). I think it would be beneficial to supplement this book with another book written from the perspective of law enforcement or her family to learn more about the abduction, search, and discovery. (less)
Randy Christensen's work in Phoenix is inspiring, and I enjoyed learning about the Crews'n Healthmobile program. The book doesn't go into great detail...moreRandy Christensen's work in Phoenix is inspiring, and I enjoyed learning about the Crews'n Healthmobile program. The book doesn't go into great detail about the logistics of the program (i.e. start-up, administrative details, etc.) but provides enough detail for insight and understanding, and I appreciated this. Instead, he focuses more on his interactions with homeless youth. These stories include both joys and heartbreak. Working with at-risk individuals can be so incredibly rewarding. But it can also bring tears and heartache. Dr. Christensen's journey with coming to terms with the fact that he cannot help everyone is touching. Those of us in helping professions will always remember those I call "the ones who got away." They change your life forever, and often drive you to work harder. Dr. Christensen says (p. 139) "This was the hardest part, I thought. There were going to be times I couldn't help everyone. I knew if I dwelled on these losses, I could become incapable of helping the next child. At least that is what I told myself." With many of the youth mentioned in Ask Me Why I Hurt, you learn what became of them. But not all of his stories are like this - there are youth he mentions who simply disappear from the book, and this is because they disappear from his life too. I don't know about Dr. Christensen, but these are usually people who haunt my thoughts the most as I wonder what has become of them and how they are doing...
This book is more than Randy Christensen's work with homeless youth in Phoenix; it's a touching book about balancing your life calling (i.e. career) and those who love and support you. Beyond his work, Dr. Christensen also spends much time in the book describing how his home life was impacted by his work and, just as importantly, how his home life affected his professional outlook. As someone who works in social justice issues, I really appreciated his insight - how his marriage was impacted by his demanding job, the support of his family, etc. In the work that I do, I am blessed to have a husband who supports all that I do, and Dr. Christensen's candidness on his struggles with being present at home as a father and a husband was really important for me to read. (less)
Somaly Mam's book is one of courage and determination. A survivor of sex trafficking, Somaly Mam now works to rescue others. The stories she shares ar...moreSomaly Mam's book is one of courage and determination. A survivor of sex trafficking, Somaly Mam now works to rescue others. The stories she shares are devestating. There were times when what I read made me want to scream and cry. The injustice and devestation of what so many girls face around the world is heartwrenching. I think anyone who read this book would be spurred into wanting to act in the anti-slavery movement, but that's one thing this book lacked - practical suggestions to those who wanted to become more involved in the abolitionist movement. Somaly Mam fails to point out that trafficking is prevalent in countries around the world including Western regions like Europe and North America. While I understand that her book and experiences focus on slavery in Cambodia, I wish Somaly Mam would have provided more recognition that sex trafficking is a global issue and provided some suggestions on how to be an abolitionist in your home country. The book provided a perfect platform to spur others into action; it details horrific stories that move peoples' hearts, but then fails to use the opportunity to direct the reader's compassion and desire to act.(less)