3 out of 4 stars
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Remarkably Intact is a nonfiction book that is written by Celia Belt. In the book, the author gives an autobiographical account of her life. When she was only 21 months old, her drunken father threw a pot of boiling water on top of her and horrifically burned her. She was burned on her face, arm, torso, and thighs. The burns were so bad that she almost lost her life. Miraculously, she survived, but she needed 31 surgeries before the age of 9. In her adult life, she needed many more additional surgeries. Celia’s family desperately tried to keep hidden that the boiling water falling on her was not an accident. Her father always denied that he had any part in Celia getting burned. Years later, after intense questioning, he finally acknowledged that he had sexually abused Celia when she was little. This was another terrible secret that Celia had to live with. He was also physically abusive to her mother and viciously beat her in front of the children. The day that Celia’s father abandoned the family was the happiest of her life, but there were more hardships ahead because they were left with nothing. While her mother worked multiple jobs, Celia had to raise her younger brother and sister on her own. She was only 12 years old at the time. Celia and her family persevered. As an adult, Celia had two sons, a daughter, and established a career in real estate. She ended up giving up her successful career to start a nonprofit organization called Moonlight Fund, which helped burn victims and their families financially and emotionally. She went through several marriages before finding the love of her life. Her husband helped her with her nonprofit organization and always stood by her side. Celia’s life was filled with challenges, adversity, and pain, but the way that she overcame everything was remarkable and inspiring. She truly dedicated her life to helping burn victims.
One of the things that I enjoyed about the book was that despite everything that Celia had been through, she still always saw the best in people. Her capacity for forgiveness was incredible, and she was always able to move on from adversity. Her fighting spirit shone throughout the book. She never felt sorry for herself and made the best out of every situation. Her motto was “laugh you live, cry you die.” She repeated those lines multiple times.
I also really admired the fact that the author had the courage to write about her father’s physical and sexual abuse. She likewise talked about confronting her father when she was an adult, which took amazing strength. Celia was extremely honest and held herself accountable for her own mistakes throughout her life, such as stealing food, selling drugs, and being unkind to her younger brother. She even admitted to being terrified that she would end up repeating the cycle of her father’s abusive behavior and hurt her kids. Celia’s authenticity was very much appreciated.
Another thing that I have to respect is the fact that the author sacrificed so much to have her nonprofit organization, which had helped so many burn victims and their families to pay for surgeries and live better lives. She gave up her lucrative career and sacrificed her personal relationships to continue to tirelessly give to the people that desperately needed her.
The only problem that I had with the book was that I found a lot of editing problems in the copy that I received. There were all spacing issues. There would be two or three words that would be typed together without having spaces between them. There were more than ten such spacing mistakes in the first two pages alone. The problems were worse at the beginning of the book and then got a bit better. The published copies available most likely don’t have the spacing issues that my copy had, so don’t let this stop you from picking up this amazing book. Unfortunately, I had to rate the book based on the copy that was available to me.
I’m rating this book 3 out of 4 stars.The author’s ability to be positive in the face of adversity is inspirational. Her honesty, courage, and strength stood out throughout the book. The fact that helping burn victims in need is the most important thing in the author’s life also shows her character. The only negative in the book is the editing with the spacing problems, and it’s regrettable that I have to take a star away from this incredible book. I would recommend this book to people who like memoirs and autobiographies. I would also recommend it to burn victims, their families, and anyone that is considering starting a nonprofit organization.
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