Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and LoveRare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Anna Whiston-Donaldson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rare Bird

It's hard to review this book, because there is love and loss at the heart of it--and there's no one way to love, and there's no one way to grieve; there are not even pass/fail grades for life, or death. But I would like to add this book to every reading list, along with Man's Search For Meaning and All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten--the head and heart, as it were, and Rare Bird would be the soul and the body--for we will all grieve.

Anna gives us her path from mother of two to mother of one; she let her kids go out to play in the rain, and one of them never came home. She gives us the grief, the guilt, the questions, the rage, the comfort, the weird almost-miracles; she gives us the elegy and the eulogy, the presence and O God! the absence. She lets you fall in love with her boy, Jack--omg, thank you for putting the picture at the end, such a beautiful 12 year old boy.

This is the best kind of religious book; there is no preaching, just the journey of a believer in one of the most difficult journeys, that of a parent losing a child. This is the best kind of religious book, because there are no answers, only questions, only a journey toward healing from almost unimaginable pain. This is the best kind of book, because even though it's honest and raw, it's crafted to highlight reality instead of magnify it, to give everything of truth and not aggrandizement, to let you laugh as well as cry, to tell the beautiful truth instead of a beautiful lie. A real kid died. It's just one of those things, you read about them all the time; life goes on, but there's holes in it, and who cares if it's beautiful, it would be better if it never happened. But it happens every day, and here's how one person goes on.

We all need Anna's example, no matter what we believe; we will all have to walk forward without someone we love...


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