Thursday, July 19, 2018

Book Review: Leaving Cloud 9: The True Story of a Life Resurrected from the Ashes of Poverty, Trauma, and Mental Illness by Ericka Andersen

While this book at its center is trying to push the message that God can save you, the actual story is one that people outside of the Christian religion can also find solace in. It describes the life of a boy growing up in poverty and a single parent household marred by abuse, drug addiction and neglect. From these roots, the boy after having a rough life himself is finally rescued by being diagnosed with a mental illness and once properly treated can find himself in much better circumstances as a father and husband. While religion may have played some role in this change, the real change came about when the mental illness was diagnosed and treatment was received.
it is widely accepted that homeless people have a higher percentage of mental illness and that mental illness not only contributes to homelessness, but also to drug problems and alcoholism. This book is yet another example of how important diagnosing mental illness is and how we as a society should seek to assist these people rather than pretend they do not want to fit in. Providing diagnosis and treatment can turn many of these former outcasts into productive society members.
I wish the book had focused more on the connection between mental illness and the number of issues that can derail a person and related to mental illness rather than see religion as the source of healing. The story told in this book needs to be told, but the focus on religion is actually a disservice to the message that this book exemplifies when pointing out that mental illness can cause a number of issues, each of which on its own can derail the life of the person afflicted.
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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The review is reflecting my personal opinion and has not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Book Review: Once Upon a Farm: Lessons on Growing Love, Life, and Hope on a New Frontier by Rory Feek

Who does not know about the lovestory between Rory and Joey? The bitter sweet story of love found and lost and Rory now living with Indiana and the memory of Joey has moved so many people. This book is now Rory's way of not only dealing with Joey's death publicly, but also showing the readers that live goes on and there is always hope for tomorrow.
Rory describes his life on the farm with Indiana and his two grown daughters,  but Joey is always present in spirit. No one could have predicted what life would bring when Rory first moved into the farm with his daughters many years ago. There was no Joey and certainly no Indiana. In the years to follow, similar to how to describes on his Facebook page, Rory chronicles in this book the ups and downs of life since that day and while Joey plays a significant part, the reader learns that so many other people contribute and have contributed to Rory's life and his happiness.
The book is a collection of anecdotal stories that show how life on the farm developed for Rory, how first Joey and then Indiana entered his life and how he now realizes that grief can be overcome and there is a bigger plan for his life on the farm that he could have anticipated even a few years ago.
Even for people that are not a fan or not familiar with the story of Rory, this book is an entertaining read that show how the life of a single father evolved over the span of a couple of decades.

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed are my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Book Review: The Road to Freedom: Healing from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits by Johnny Baker

The author used to be an alcoholic and in a very frank, no nonsense book tells about his road to recovery and how he managed to stay sober now for more than 20 years.  His Road to Freedom is the freedom experienced when not all his thoughts center around where to get the next sip from, but the lessons taught in this book can be used for any kind of addiction, whether it is alcohol, drugs, eating or gambling.

While God plays an important role in the road to recovery for the author, this book has sufficient general lessons that non-Christians can also learn from this book. The ten lessons included in this book have topics such as admitting you have a problem is not a sign of weakness. This is the important first step when seeking recovery. Acknowledging you have a problem is the beginning of every recovery because it shows that you admit to yourself that something in your life can and must be improved. Additional lessons include that people may be hurting in ways that you can not see and may never know about as well as a lesson on small steps may have a more prolonged effect than a quick overnight change.

While some of the lessons are clearly based on Christian principles and God, the majority of the lessons are general and the overall style of the book, despite the serious subject, if entertaining and at times funny. I can recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with an addiction or people with friends that may need help because this book contains steps that all of us can take to assist those struggling with addiction.
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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.