Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This Morning I Woke Up Dead by Mindy Larson, A Book Review

This story is the epitome of what if.  I found myself asking that question throughout the book as I tried to picture what happened, and how it would end.

There are two main characters in this story, and they each talk in the first person as it goes from one to the other.  It keeps you from wondering what the person is thinking and feeling and instead wondering what they will do or understand next.

I can't, and maybe you won't either, help but feel their distraught emotions and love for each other.  You want them to reconnect, and you don't really care how they do it.  Dead, alive, it makes no matter as long as they get back together.  Crazy right?  Of course if they were people I actually knew, I might not be so cavalier with their lives.  But then again, maybe I would.  That is if I felt the same emotions with them as the author made me feel with these characters.

The concept the author explored, death, is one we all think about, and probably a lot more than we want to.  It is a fact of life, but what we know of it is completely limited and inadequate to make us feel comfortable and safe to transition to that state even though we know it is our final journey.  The unknown is a haunting thing to say the very least.  So we wonder, and the what if questions saturate our thoughts.  What if it is nicer than here?  What if we would be happier?  What if our knowledge and concepts are not even close?  See what I mean?

The characters did the same thing.  One tried to figure out what was happening, and the other tried to find peace with what was.  Or rather what was believed to be reality.  But then as things happened, questioning the unknown was the only solace they had.  The only peaceful and soothing solution to bathe their minds was questioning what was real and what could be real if only they could grasp the supposed impossible with both hands and hang on.  For some reason, maybe it was how we were taught in school about science; we always seem to need physical validation to believe.  Of course it's okay in religion to have faith, but somehow everything else is off limits.  Funny right?  How shallow and mind limiting we can be.

Overall the story was entertaining, and emotionally charged.  You felt what the characters felt, and sought to find an acceptable conclusion without keeping the two apart.  As they rode the waves of the moving tide with each other, you wanted one of them to grab hold of the other, and not let go.  Either way, they needed to be together.  Read the book, and I think you will agree, one moving on without the other just wasn't acceptable.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Jamie and The Angel: meeting her guardian angel by Carol Guy, A Book Review

Jamie and the Angel is a short little story of understanding.  It brings the reader into the real life situation that many children face, but with a real heartfelt answer.

Many times children see, hear, or know things that adults question, and write off as a fluke, or their imagination, or silly because they don't see, hear, or know the same things.  But the real facts are quite different, and not acknowledging the event or experience as real, even if only to the child, is not only doing them a disservice, it is cruel.  Children have real feelings, and real experiences, just like we all do.  The only difference is they usually don't have the life experiences, knowledge, or emotional maturity to handle things that are out of the norm.  So they look to others to help them.  When they don't get the help needed, they turn to other sorts of explanations and comforts to assure them that they are still okay.  They aren't from outer space; they aren't a freak.

Growing up is hard.  Many adults think children should just know things, saying that it's just common sense.  They should know better.  They shouldn't be ridiculous.  But in reality, that is part of the growing up process.  We learn what we live, and live what we learn.  Parents have to teach their children how to behave, what emotions are what, how to learn well and on the list goes.  If they don't get the feedback they need, they are afraid, tend to be more withdrawn, and feel all alone in the world.

This book explores just that; the feelings of being alone, afraid, unsure, feeling different, and sad.  In this case, the child has a gift she doesn't understand, and has no one to help her with it.  She looks for comfort from the obvious sources, but since they don't understand it either, they actually make things worse.

For this child she has a faith that she leans on in what she thinks is the last hope.  The light in the dark tunnel gives her the understanding she needs, and the comfort she yearns for.

The author not only shows how this child felt and how she was able to resolve it despite the lack of family and friends support, she also gives help to the parents that may have a gifted child.  The guidelines at the end of the book give any parent helpful information to guide their child through the rough patches so they don't have to feel insecure, sad, different, or alone.

It's a wonderful book.  Children and parents with special gifts they don't understand, and even those without special gifts should read this.