My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this book awhile ago when a friend mailed it to me. If you follow my blog, you'll notice that this year I haven't read a lot of fiction...at all. Is this fiction? Yes. Based on real life? Definitely. Immediately I was interested. Plus, it's about a little boy with special needs and well, I've been very interested in these books as I work on my own book.
Though this is written for, I would say, a general Christian audience, as an LDS woman, it was obvious (I think anyway) that the authors were also LDS. I appreciated the similar opinions and views we had. A large part of the plot is a dream. The dream takes place during the pre-existence. I thought it was interesting, but it felt a little too LDS fiction for me. What do I mean? I'm not sure exactly. So it's probably very unfair for me to even say that. And I wince a little, even, saying that. Maybe because I feel like it makes me a bad person or something. Partly, I think I personally have a hard time reading fictionalized accounts of true events -- historical fiction -- when it comes to the church. Is that weird?
However. I NEED to say this. Because this was what made me LOVE this book. There is a scene at the end of the book. The boy's mother has passed away. And, years later, he does as well. Upon dying, he meets his mother. She barely recognizes him because he is in a perfected state. But she sees his eyes, and his smile, and she knows it's him. All his physical ailments are gone. They embrace, and the authors couldn't have done a better job of articulating that moment...the moment I so look forward to having with Samantha one day. I was in tears. It was months ago that I read the book, and it still brings back that feeling for me. It has made me realize that this life, no matter what trial or hardship comes along, is worth it. Every single day, I think about what I read in that book -- about that mother and son, surrounded by other family members who had passed away. I felt such joy as I read that. And it has seriously made every single "difficult" moment worth it. Because, I realized...or perhaps re-realized, that life is so short. Our pain and sadness. Our discouragement and frustration. It's only a moment. And I want to one day be able to stand before the Lord and say that I had faith during those moments...and feel qualified to embrace my perfected Samantha, to talk and run with her, laugh and joyfully cry together. This book was worth every word I read just to get to that part of the book. And, I really needed to read it all to feel like I did when I got to that part. It was perfect and beautiful. I would recommend it to everyone, because whether you live with what we traditionally think of as special needs or not...we all have needs that are special and unique to us, that make life seem hard and painful. And this book, reading that moment that was so beautifully crafted, put it all into perspective for me. I always try to live optimistically, but this did something more for me.
It really changed my life.
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