2 out of 4 stars
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Beauty from Ashes: A Mother’s Journey from Bitterness to Hope is Cindy Seaton’s self-written life story. She generously shares her experiences from childhood, marriage, and motherhood. Cindy reveals the never-ending struggles she faced throughout these elements of her life and specifically describes her role as a parent to an autistic child. She also writes about her tumultuous relationship with God in the face of her challenges and how her faith grew exponentially when she ultimately recognized how truly blessed she is.
I enjoyed the style of writing in this book. It was very conversational and I felt like the author was talking to a friend or writing in a diary. I also liked the attention to detail in this book. The author exposed a significant amount of her life in this book and she not only wrote about the big events that shaped her life, but also the small, daily struggles and pleasures she experienced. For instance, she wrote about how she tried to dye her hair on her honeymoon, but because she didn’t read the instructions on the box of dye, it turned out awful. Another time she described her problems with acid reflux and included her symptoms, hospital adventures and even mentioned how badly the acid had damaged her teeth. The struggles of parenting her autistic son were also expressed in great detail. These short anecdotes made the story much more sincere.
I admired the ability of this author to describe herself realistically, especially when it came to her role as a mother. One time she described her guilty feelings when she irritably yanked open her baby’s sleeper so violently that she startled him to tears. She also wrote about spanking her autistic son and diagnosing her daughter with celiac disease by purposefully slipping gluten into her daughter’s food to observe her reaction. She was not afraid to describe these unsatisfactory things about herself. I think a lot of parents will find it easy to relate to Cindy because no parent is perfect.
There were a couple of things which I disliked about this book. Firstly, the events seemed muddled at times because they were not organized well. One example was where her daughter, Charity, started experiencing symptoms of celiac disease. She was still a student in Grade ten. Charity’s wedding preparations are described soon after. This was confusing because it seemed like a chunk of time was missing. Additionally, the story began with Cindy’s first pregnancy, but the story jumped to her childhood, then returned to the pregnancy after several chapters. The hopping and skipping of time interrupted the flow of the story.
Secondly, there were too many named characters, some of which were unnecessary. One example was Dawn’s twin boys Russ and Scott who were mentioned twice in the book, but they had no input in the story. In more than one instance, the author included a character’s husband and children for no reason. Furthermore, there were so many named characters that I noticed at least two persons named Dawn, Carole and Lisa respectively.
Unfortunately, I noticed more than ten errors in this book. On account of this, plus the excessive number of named characters and poor timing of events, I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. Despite its shortcomings, I would recommend it to parents, Christian adults, and caregivers in the autistic community.
Beauty from Ashes
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