Review of The Fire Trail

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Latest Review: The Fire Trail by Maureen Larkin Ustenci

Review of The Fire Trail

Post by Slater678 »

[Following is an official review of "The Fire Trail" by Maureen Larkin Ustenci.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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After divorcing her first husband, the last thing Maureen Larkin Ustenci needed was to enter another relationship. As captured in her memoir, The Fire Trail: A Mother’s Journey Through Grieving, Ustenci had resigned herself to a life of loneliness. Hence, her account of love and friendship, after years of isolation, is a narrative of love finding you when you least expect it.

In the spring of 1997, Ustenci and her friend, Yvonne, took a leisurely trip to Turkey. Though the prospect of encountering warm weather was on the top of their list, Ustenci, a highly spiritual woman, hoped to visit some sites that held spiritual significance to her, as well—such as Urfa, the birthplace of Abraham and Tarsus, the hometown of St. Paul. Sadly, though, they had to cut short their trip due to bad weather, but not before they each met their future husbands.

I was moved by this memoir because it touched on the topic of emotional pain in detail. In this case, Ustenci suffered from emotional distress that was a result of grieving for her only son, Efejon. Her account reminded me of how, as a college student, I fell into depression when I lost my dad. Other than the panic I felt then, as my dad had been our family’s sole breadwinner, I raged at the careless and drunk driver who had caused the accident that had claimed my dad’s life.

Knowing the distress of emotional pain, therefore, I liked how Ustenci’s family, friends, and her late son’s schoolmates carried her through her grief. Her friend, Debbie, for example, who had earlier grieved for her father for at least two years, gave Ustenci an “affirmation to say to Efejon” (her dead son) whenever her pain proved too much. That notwithstanding, I found Ustenci’s angry tone, sometimes, too overbearing to read. Having been brought up as a Catholic, her son’s death seemed to have driven her to embrace some non-traditional doctrines, as she tried to make sense of how God could take away her only son. As a result, while fascinated with things spiritual, Ustenci was open to exploring new belief systems and appropriating what was useful in them.

To conclude, I didn’t find anything dislikeable about this book, as even the errors I encountered were not enough to penalize the author. I, thus, rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. Lastly, I recommend this book to anyone who has lost a loved one. It contains realistic information and skills that can help someone overcome grief. On the downside, though, it may come across as having a negative view of life. There are places that Ustenci sees life as futile and incomprehensible. But then again, it’s all part of the circle of grieving.

The Fire Trail
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Post by Rishi_reviews »

This seems like quite an interesting novel. Both the characters have a traffic past life and find the love of their life at the same place. I'm quite intrigued about it now. Thanks for the great review.
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Post by JamesJaphet »

Memoirs are always interesting to read, it lets one into the life of the author. Beautiful review.
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Post by markodim721 »

I like that the author was honest and that she managed to convey emotional pain to the pages of the book very convincingly.
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