Official Review: Dear Siena by Ashley Girres

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Stephanie Elizabeth
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Official Review: Dear Siena by Ashley Girres

Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 10 Dec 2019, 13:24

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Dear Siena" by Ashley Girres.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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“To the girl who will always have my entire heart. I love you, Siena Brynn.”

Dear Siena by Ashley Girres is a collection of letters that the author has addressed to her daughter. The letters begin at Siena’s birth and span over seven years. Throughout the entries, the author expresses her hopes and dreams for Siena. She covers some weightier topics as well, including parenting with illness, grief, and suicide. While the letters are multifaceted, the main message is clear—Ashley’s love for her daughter trumps all.

I was instantly drawn to this book once I read the blurb; a collection of letters addressed to a child is quite a gift. It got me thinking about my legacy. Besides memories, what tangible piece of myself would I leave my children once I am gone?

The book is comprised of thirty-two heartfelt letters penned by Ashley. When I began reading the letters, I quickly felt a deep connection to her. While she expressed the joys of raising a child, she also explained the realities of parenting through difficult times. In “RA, Dear,” she described the struggle of living in pain due to rheumatoid arthritis. She confessed that constant pain sometimes caused feelings of sadness. She said, “There may be days that I just want to lay in bed and cry. Please don’t worry about me. I am just mourning the life that I expected to live.” I admired Ashley’s transparency about feeling defeated. I think it’s crucial to teach kids that there is no such thing as perfection, and even as parents, we have moments of vulnerability.

In “Roots and Wings,” Ashley wrote about Siena’s first day of preschool. This letter resonated with me because it wasn’t that long ago that I shared her sentiments as I sent my youngest off to school. She expressed excitement for Siena, but also trepidation regarding the emotional journey that her daughter would endure.

Another one of my favorite entries was Ashley’s advice to Siena in “No One Owes You Anything.” In life, most parents want their kids to have more than they did—more opportunities, more love, etc. Ashley made her points very clear in this letter. If you put others on a pedestal, they will surely let you down. She said, “When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.” While it may seem harsh, I believe the author was trying to toughen up her daughter by telling her to expect less from others.

This book was beautifully written; it inspired me to write to my children, and I cannot name one thing that I didn’t like about it. The writing was professionally edited, and I only noticed a few grammatical errors. With that being said, I chose to give the book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. It was thought-provoking, and Ashley’s love for Siena reminded me of the infinite love I have for my two sons.

Dear Siena would appeal to readers who are parents and enjoy reading about the bond between parent and child. The letters address a wide array of topics, and I am sure you will find something that resonates with you. It was a pleasure reading and reviewing this book!

******
Dear Siena
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Post by Chrystal Oaks » 11 Dec 2019, 16:26

While I have not been blessed with any biological children, I still want to read this book. It sounds like Ashley provides moving messages that all parents and older children could benefit from. Your review is very moving, thank you. :romance-heartsmiley:
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Post by kperm » 11 Dec 2019, 18:40

This book is filled with love. It is such a sweet idea to write a book which consists of letters to the author's daughter. Thank you for an excellent review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 11 Dec 2019, 20:57

It sounds like the author and I would have a lot in common. I don't have a daughter, but I'm dealing with some of what she does. Therefore, I'm curious about this book. Thanks.
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Post by MsH2k » 12 Dec 2019, 00:58

This sounds like such a precious book! Siena will surely treasure these letters her entire life. I love the colors in cover, too. Thank you for your review.

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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 12 Dec 2019, 13:26

Chrystal Oaks wrote:
11 Dec 2019, 16:26
While I have not been blessed with any biological children, I still want to read this book. It sounds like Ashley provides moving messages that all parents and older children could benefit from. Your review is very moving, thank you. :romance-heartsmiley:
Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 12 Dec 2019, 13:27

MsH2k wrote:
12 Dec 2019, 00:58
This sounds like such a precious book! Siena will surely treasure these letters her entire life. I love the colors in cover, too. Thank you for your review.
Yes, I was drawn to the cover as well. Such beautiful, vivid colors. Thanks for your comment!

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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 12 Dec 2019, 13:27

kandscreeley wrote:
11 Dec 2019, 20:57
It sounds like the author and I would have a lot in common. I don't have a daughter, but I'm dealing with some of what she does. Therefore, I'm curious about this book. Thanks.
Thanks for your comment!

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Post by Nisha Ward » 12 Dec 2019, 17:31

I'm struck by the lat bit you mentioned about no one owing you anything, and I can't help but think the author is doing good work by telling her daughter that. The entire concept of the book is one that seems very sweet and kind, but sometimes kindness needs to be tempered with reality. It was something I very much appreciated hearing about in the book.
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Post by winecellarlibrary » 12 Dec 2019, 18:33

First of all, that cover is absolutely gorgeous. After reading your review, I think that the cover complements the subject matter very well. This sounds like a very personal and relatable book. Even though I do not have children of my own (I have a step-daughter, but she lives several states away and we see her twice a year), I am very interested in reading this book. Thank you for your beautiful review!
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Post by Kanda_theGreat » 13 Dec 2019, 03:43

I was attracted to one particular statement in your review; "No one owes you anything".
Thank you for the nice review.
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Post by Snowflake » 14 Dec 2019, 10:46

What a nice gift for the author's daughter. It also makes me think of writing to my own daughters. Thanks for the review!
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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 14 Dec 2019, 16:12

Nisha Ward wrote:
12 Dec 2019, 17:31
I'm struck by the lat bit you mentioned about no one owing you anything, and I can't help but think the author is doing good work by telling her daughter that. The entire concept of the book is one that seems very sweet and kind, but sometimes kindness needs to be tempered with reality. It was something I very much appreciated hearing about in the book.
Thanks for your comment!

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Post by mmm17 » 14 Dec 2019, 17:26

I love letters, and a mother writing to a daughter sure resonates with me. This book seems to be a good read. Thanks for a great review! :tiphat:

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Post by Frances019 » 18 Dec 2019, 16:04

This sounds like a good book! I have never been a parent but may pick this book up to see life through someone else's eyes.

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