Miranda's Reviews > About Grace

About Grace by Anthony Doerr
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's review
Mar 15, 11

it was amazing
Read in May, 2009

For a girl who boasts to the claim of not being a fan of "recreational crying" I would have to say I understand now why some girls like to watch movies that make them cry. I found this book rather therapeutic. The book is called About Grace and it is by Anthony Doerr.

The book is about David Winkler a man who has a vision of his daughter's death, which he sees himself causeing. This vision causes him to then spends his whole life running to avoid it. It follows the path he takes and the people he meets as well as his eventual journey home. It talks about destiny and family, and love and risk....mostly it talks about snow which I love.

The book covers a lot about love in a sad way. It follows the story of the women who David loved his whole life even though he only spent a few short years with her. It talks about what that means in romantic relationships and also what that means in the context of families. What I love the most is that it poses at the very beginning of the book the question: "Do we chose who we love?" Winkler forsees his wife in a vision that simply unfolds as it should. Rather than taking a cliche stance and saying that everything is predestined it talks about the effort it takes to keep and win love. Winkler woos the woman he loves over the course of several months and it is only through decisions he makes and decisions that she makes that they end up together. I love how Winkler is wiling to fight for love with his daughter who he meets finally again when she is grown woman. He patiently waits it out and sends her subtle messages of love by leaving gifts on her door step. I think that is the part of our world that scares me the most. The fact that people are impatient and give up so easily these days. I believe that love is worth fighting for and definitely worth sticking it out for.

The book also covers the love of a family and how now matter how dysfunctional a family is that there is love and identity that need to come from them. This part of the book especially made me cry. I miss my dad, not because he was perfect, not because if he were here now would he do anything special, or any of the things I need to hear, but simply because he is my dad and that I love him. Following Winklers journey to be reconciled to his daughter was so therapeutic for me. One quote that I loved was " this, perhaps, is how lives are measured, a series of abandonments that we hope beyond reason will eventually be reconciled." and yet another quote by a man who was having a heart attack and finally realized what life was about, "It was about love......this was about family, how blood supercedes death".

My favorite parts of the book where about destiny. Winkler has the gift of premonition and foresees the future and the book covers a lot of the what ifs and ponders why we as humans have the need to KNOW.

One of my favorite quotes is: "why do we let things that have already happened torture us?...but this hasn't happened yet. Those too. The things that have happened and the things that could happen" I love it because it speaks of how we worry and think on and mull, the things that have yet to happen. I know at least for myself that those things in the future weigh a lot heavier on my heart than anything in the past.

The final conclusion the book makes about premonition and thinking on the future is that there is a far greater joy in being suprised by life. In living fully and completely in the present even if you happen to possess the gift of seeing the future. "In memory, in story, in the end, we can remake our lives any way we need. To be suprised, truly, utterly suprised by what came into your life--this Winkler was learning, was the true gift"

The part of the book that makes me ecstatically happy is that the book talks a lot about the part of us that makes us truly unique. It talks about how each of us, like snowflakes are absolutely completely unique and have an indiviudal purpose and role to play. The characters is in this book are fully alive, happy with who they are and excited to be pursuing the tasks that they find joy in. Winkler is obsessed with snow and Nalaayiah a surrogate daughter to him is passionate about bugs.

"It is about getting handed at conception a gift that sets you apart from everyone"


"He said all things in nature appeared to have a key--invisible to us--inside of them that contained the blueprint for their exterior, for what they were. ..Kepler went so far as to call this the soul."


"He was far from discouraged; indeed, Winkler felt he was at the cusp of something, a discovery, a lesson he profoundly needed to learn. Inside him things were unlocking, thawing or clarifying"

The book also talks about getting lost, and then the joy of finding life again. Winkler is plagued with guilt over possibly killing his daughter and then his subsequent abandonment of his family. I loved one quote in particular which reminded me so much of my clients who are all lost in some way and fleeing some horrible reality that is too hard to face.

"And this feeling, permeating every waking minute, that he had made too many wrong decisions"


"Rescuing was not a thing, he knew, that should happen to him"

The book talks about forgiveness too and it uses snow as a picture for it which I love seeing how Christians use the image of us beign "washed as white as snow"

"The way we feel as if the more it falls, the more we are forgiven"

Lastly, it talks about order and how things in the world have an order to them, a symmetry, a beauty. At one point he refers to a covergence of events that he saw happening well before they occured as a song, something that others in the story hear weakly, but don't know what it means. The beautiful thing is that while reading this book, I felt my world ordering itself and making sense. I always feel that with good literature. LIke I have taken a sneak peek at the way things truly operate, at the supernatural underpinnings of the world and having seen it I can go back to daily life with my secret knowlege and be content to know that it means something. At times like that I know that Christianity is real, and that Truth is real and that our "story" really will all make sense in the end.

"For every moment in the present there was a mirror in the future, and another in the past"

Thats only some of the beautiful things this book has to say. I had so many more things underlineds and so many more things that I feel happened for me while I was reading it but to avoid writing a novel myself (which hopefully I actually will do some day) I will leave it at that,. The other super joyous things is that I got this book for 2.50 off a clearence table in Chapters along with " A Trip to the Stars" and they are two of the best books I have ever read. How fortuitous....almost like it was meant to be.....
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