I thought I posted this copy of my Amazon review of Karen's wonderfully absorbing and courageously told story
a long time ago. I apologize. Not just to Karen, but to those of you who are always on the lookout for a book that you learn a lot from and that inspires hope and faith and reinforces the belief that the human spirit is incredibly resilient.
I want everyone to read this book! Karen Vanderlaan presents her story in a way that is almost startlingly free of self-pity and vituperation. Not to be bitter after all she went through is beyond admirable. Somehow Vanderlaan manages to serve Truth without whining or going off on tangents, and she has the talent, integrity, and discipline that are required to write clearly and in a style that informs without turning stodgy. I love her style! Although she is straightforward, there is a lot of color, and the images she paints rock. The farm that was home to her and her siblings early on comes alive!! The trees, the fences, the pastures, the horses. You find yourself enjoying yourself so much that you feel a little guilty.
I love the book's title, but the author mainly shows, rather than tells. Any serious creative writer will tell you that is key. As readers, we want a writer to fully engage our senses. To see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. This puts us in a story, rather than outside, looking in. Previous reviewers have done a great job of providing details and synopses, so I am going to let it go at that. Except to say again that I want everyone to read this book. 'Amen!'
(c) Phyllis Jean Green, 2009