Sunday, December 27, 2015

{Book Review} "Rare Bird" by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

Rating: 4

Rare Bird is a mom's honest memoir about what it was like to lose her only son when he was just twelve years old. It is a story of unimaginable loss that paints a picture of a mother's unrelenting love. Anna Whiston-Donaldson is the mother of two children. In the opening chapter, she writes, "“I wish I had nothing to say on the matter of loss, but I do. Because one day I encouraged my two kids to go out and play in the rain, and only one came home….” Rare Bird is the story of how the Donaldson family handles their grief as they mourn their precious son and brother, Jack. 

This book is classified under the "Faith" section in bookstores, but it is not what one would normally expect from a Christian author. It is beautifully, gut-wrenchingly honest. This means it isn't always packaged sweetly. Donaldson seems to not hold anything back: she writes of her own shortcomings in her relationships with her husband and daughter as she grieves. She writes of the community that showered them with love and support, and chooses to acknowledge her anger she felt toward her neighbors. Donaldson doesn't try to make her grief seem easy or try to hide the fact that everyday is a struggle. Donaldson's honesty is what makes this memoir real, even though that means the language isn't always clean and the emotions come across as exceedingly raw. 

Rare Bird is definitely a book worth reading. It draws readers into the life of the Donaldson family. It makes readers grieve for a little boy they have never met. It is impossible to read this book and not be moved by the love portrayed throughout it. Jack only had twelve years on Earth, but through his mother's writing, he is still managing to influence the lives of many, many people. Donaldson continually points to her family faith in God as she details how her family continues to grieve, and it is refreshing to read a book about faith that doesn't just focus on how faith makes everything easy. As Donaldson points out, faith gets them through, but it doesn't eliminate the pain. 

Anna Whiston-Donaldson blogs at 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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