Book Review: Stolen but not Lost

Stolen but not lost FOR TYPEPAD

Janet Tombow

Publisher:  Carpenter's Son Publishing 

Pages: 224 

List price: $14.95 

ISBN:  978-0984977116 

Ms. Tombow journeys from a difficult childhood to finding and becoming a part of her birth mother’s life. She tells of the harsh treatment she received from her stepmother and her distance from her father. Then she delineates the steps in her search for her birth mother—valuable information for anyone looking for a birth parent—and the life and trials they shared after she found her. Both mother and daughter must grieve the lost years and learn forgiveness. 

I found the first chapter depressing and almost didn’t continue reading as it gives an unemotional description of her stepmother’s abuse. The writing is adequate but the writer writes in lists. She tells of the first step and then tells of the next step as though writing a travelogue. But anyone who wants to search for a birth parent will find concrete answers and organization names to help. The book warns of pitfalls that may accompany the reunion.

I received this book from NetGalley. It is an honest review.

Book Review: Learning to Jump Again

Learning to jump FOR TYPEPAD

Anthony Weber

SubTitle: A Memoir of Grief and HOPE

Publisher: WestBow Press

List Price: $13.95

Pages: 164

ISBN: 978-1449721305 

Anthony Weber lost his beloved father when his father was fifty-five. In Learning to Jump Again, Anthony works out his grief and the blow it struck to his faith. Though a minister, he begins to feel an intellectual, more than a heart belief. 

People going through grief will recognize many similarities with their experiences with loss. The first part of Learning to Jump Again tells a poignant story of his difficulty letting his father go. He talks of helping his sons make sense of it when it made no sense to him. 

The book covers the time of the death up to five years later. The author includes sermons at the end that were more intellectual essays than the heart-felt grief-work of the first part. Scattered throughout the book, the author includes gray boxes with black text of comments and quotations. I found these boxes hard to read. The book would improve if the gray were lighter or white. In addition, the author might tell the reader where he got the excerpts that aren’t literary. Were they members of his congregation? Facebook comments? Both? If he gave this information, I missed it. 

I received this book from the author. We have not met. This is an honest review.

Book Review: Employed by God: Coming Through Job Loss

Employed by God for TYPEPADTracy S. Deitz

Subtitle: Benefits Packaged with Faith

List Price: $10.99

Pages: 160

ISBN: 978-1466370821

Employed by God talks about Tracy’s firing and the period of unemployment following it. She relives her grief and anger at the loss. 

I appreciated the moments of imperfection she shows as well as the times of courage. She snaps a few times. She loses patience. She gets discouraged. She finds herself angry with God. Her appealing transparency gives the reader a glimpse of a real person. In fact, she paints each person she mentions with a full brush. Everyone in the book could be someone you know. 

She makes good use of her time away from the work world. She tells of one harrowing mission trip, and a miracle she expected that didn’t happen. She felt she knew how God would act, and then, since His ways are not our ways, she felt cheated. How could He not intervene in a child’s tragedy?

She went with her Buddhist friend on a yoga trip, and, though she found some things meaningful, other things offended her and caused discomfort. 

Every experience builds her compassion and shows a new reliance and love for God. 

The reader will find courage, forgiveness, and spiritual growth here. Employed by God is well worth a reader’s time and money. 

I received this book from the author. We have not met. This is an honest review.

Book Review: Reggie, You Can't Change Your Past But You Can Change Your Future

Reggie Reggie Dabbs with John Driver

Subtitle: You Can’t Change Your Past But You Can Change Your Future

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

List Price: $15.99

Pages: 240

ISBN: 978-0849946264

Reggie Dabbs travels the world as a good pied piper to teens, leading them out of the dungeon of self-loathing in to the sunlight of a future and a hope. He gives his testimony as motivational speaker. Then he tells them they have worth and they will do wonderful things. The book, Reggie, explains his philosophy and relates his testimony. Pages follow each chapter so readers can understand how their past might have affected their lives. 

I hesitated to read Reggie because I thought “Oh no. another poor li’l kid story.” I reviewed other books in that genre and liked them for their happy endings. Presently, I don’t want the sadness. 

But I enjoyed Reggie’s story. He’s laugh-aloud funny even while telling of heartache when his schoolmates teased him because he looked like Fat Albert, Bill Cosby’s cartoon creation—and his sadness in discovering the parents he loved adopted him. He hurt for the mother who had him in prostitution to feed the rest of her children.  

He believes too many children grow up feeling without value. It’s his mission to set them on a path of self-respect and achievement. He speaks like your neighbor across the fence, so those who want a scholarly thesis may want to bypass this. Worth reading for those with a heart for teens or a heart for a man who took a life of anything but privilege and, with God, changes society, one child at a time.

Book Review: Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me

Jesus, My Father 4 Ian Morgan Cron 

Sub Title:  A Memoir . . . of Sorts 

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson 

List price: $15.99 

Pages: 240 

Pub Date:  06/02/2011  

ISBN:  9780849946103 

I wonder at the nightmare that is too many childhoods—parents victimized by addiction and children victimized by parents. 

The author admits to some fictionalization only because of the inaccuracy of memory. But this story comes from truth. Ian comes from a family who live in the upper strata of what passes for class in America. They go through poverty and then back to prosperity. His father belongs to the CIA and often disappears without explanation. He rubs shoulders with the president and celebrities. Ian knows this only by old photos that his mother won’t explain and later by a visit from a high-ranking member. 

The misery inflicted on him by his alcoholic father leaves him shattered. He follows his father into alcoholism and sadly begins to resemble him This story is tragic and hilarious. Some of the scenes he paints cause laughter combustion when you least expect it. 

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me tells a story of redemption for a man who, though a devout child, at one point, compared the Catholic cross with the Protestant cross. Catholic crosses always carry the image of Jesus. Protestant crosses are bare because Jesus has ascended and isn’t there any longer. But Ian believed he knew differently. God would not have let a small boy go through his experiences. The cross is empty because Jesus never hung there. When Ian once again acknowledged God, the Lord did not immediately remove the alcoholism and pain. Ian must struggle to admit he even has a problem. 

This poignant story has only one problem. It comes to a neat ending—and then it continues. I felt the author should have knit the last three chapters in to the story sooner. 

The charming writing voice entertains you, moves you, and draws you in. A good read.