Joanne's Reviews > Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope

Mistaken Identity by Don Van Ryn
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's review
Mar 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Recommended to Joanne by: Jan P
Read in March, 2011

What a harrowing experience. After Taylor University's van crashes, one family buries their daughter, one family nurses theirs through severe injuries and a coma. Until about 5-6 weeks later, when the Van Ryns, the family nursing their daughter, realize there has been a terrible mistake.

What is most notable about this book is the strong faith of each family involved. Throughout the most tragic of circumstances, each relies on God. They don't deny their emotional anguish, but insist on God's faithfulness through it all. I have to wonder if my own faith would be that strong, and dearly hope not to have to find out.

The book is a little uneven in depicting the travails of the Van Ryn family, especially after they discover that their daughter has died. While there is a lot about the Cerak family grieving Whitney's death and rejoicing in her recovery, there is much less about Laura and the Van Ryns. Maybe the Van Ryns are more private; maybe it makes a "better" story to focus on the survivor, but I wish it were a bit more equal. At the same time I acknowledge the difficulty of writing a book about real people and respecting their wishes for privacy -- early on, the writers describe some of the choices they made to leave out some people's stories, and that makes sense. It just feels a little like Laura got shortshrift.

Still, an amazing story.


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