When Angels Fly
By: S. Jackson and A. Raymond
There is no doubt that life is full of trials and hardships. Throughout their existence, each individual will face their own obstacles and troubles. Nobody is immune to this as it is a natural and unfortunate part of life. Nevertheless, the degree of suffering- and how they react to it- will vary from person to person. They may give up completely on life and waste away… or in some cases do the complete opposite. Rising above their struggles to embrace the good they can find. This is certainly not an easy thing to do! In their book When Angels Fly, authors S. Jackson and A. Raymond present a first-hand account of such a scenario. A truly inspirational read which explores the depth of a mother’s love amidst unbearable circumstances.
Essentially, When Angels Fly is a book which recounts the author’s real-life experiences through a series of connected journal entries. It is presented as a Memoir and follows the life of the main character, Sarah. She is a young woman who has lived through a life of horrendous physical and mental abuse at the hands of her tyrannical mother and violent first husband. Neither show her any love, and instead shower her with hatred and abuse. The odds seem to be stacked against Sarah as she keeps getting hit over and over again by life’s unrelenting barrage. Things look as if they are going to turn a corner when Sarah’s dream of becoming pregnant with a little one of her own eventually comes true. However, life once again takes an agonizing turn as the baby is stillborn. It makes you wonder how much one person can endure… something we are soon to find out. Not too long after this event, Sarah does manage to give birth to two sons and takes this as the push needed to escape her vile husband and thus provide a loving home for her boys. Nonetheless, as becomes the theme, life does not let her off the hook. Her youngest son Eli, becomes extremely ill with cancer at just 5 years old. The remainder of the book deals with how Sarah meticulously cares for young Eli while at the same time continuing to juggle these responsibilities while showing her love for her other son Noah. All of this happens amidst a backdrop of continual harassment and abuse from her ex-husband, mother and certain family members.
Mark my words… this is a powerful book! I often had to read it through blurred vision as my own tears stained the pages. It will suck your emotions out from your inner core in a way you would not expect. At various times I felt joy, hope, anger and grief with the passing of only a few pages. This is what exceptionally well-written books will do. I am not always a big fan of a journal or diary entry approach, but it absolutely works in this book. In fact, it is a required element for the Memoir to succeed. From the child abuse recollections to the daily heartbreaking care for Eli. It was all very authentic and genuine. It allows the reader to gain access to the author’s innermost thoughts and feelings. This ensures that we are able to understand and appreciate how someone could experience such hardship and grief… yet still be able to appreciate the positive and beauty of life. To find new love amongst the ruins and appreciate what she has. To remember those who are left behind, such as young Noah, and not curl up into a ball hoping to waste away. To rise above life’s cruel blow in such a manner that it is not only remarkable, but truly inspirational.
All in all I found this to be an exceptionally well-written book. Nevertheless, it can be quite difficult to read at times due to the subject matter. It will absolutely tug at your heartstrings and emotions. There is quite a bit of intricate daily details which are given in the book as well. In my opinion this is a necessary requirement for this Memoir as it provides the details and background which are needed to become fully engaged and engrossed in the writing. While there is a lot of grief in this book, in the end it is truly all about a mother’s unrelenting love.
I would highly recommend this work to all readers seeking a motivational and inspirational lift. It has the unique ability to put everything in perspective.
5 out of 5 Heartbreaking yet Inspirational Stars for this one! *****
About the Author:
Mary L Schmidt aka S. Jackson is a retired registered nurse, winner of the Leora Stroup award in Nursing for academic excellence and community involvement, as well as graduating with high honors and inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She has written 17 books and has been included in three anthologies. Many of her books have won international medals and awards. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is a member of the Catholic Church, and has taught kindergarten Catechism; she has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son, Gene, is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high school music children. She loves all forms of art but mostly focuses on the visual arts; amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her health allows. Together with her husband, Michael, the like fish, read, play poker, travel adventures, and spending precious time with their grandchildren, Austin and Emma.
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