4 out of 4 stars
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I recently had the privilege of reading a novel by Barry K. Free, Letters From Home: I Loved Ya Before I Even Met Ya. This novel is a true story about Barry's emotional experience with losing his wife Cheryl. It is written in the form of letters that he wrote to his grown children during the first several years after his wife passed away. He shared random thoughts with them of what life was like without their mother around, as well as many tales of how she had inspired him and others throughout her lifetime.
Barry divided his book into six parts which each covered a different stage of time in his life after Cheryl's death. He actually published an earlier version of the book which did not have the sixth part. After his first version gained some attention, he published a sixth part that contained some of his musings on events that had happened after he released the first book.
I have to highly commend Barry on his style of writing. Maybe it was because the letters were originally intended for his children, and this made the thoughts seem more real, but he has a way of describing his feelings that really catches the reader's attention. He was able to create the perfect blend of poignancy, inspiration, and even bits of humor at times. I found myself switching between laughing and crying several times because of how the intertwining of grief and amusement in life was so well portrayed. Because of his openness in his writing, it was easier to see into his soul. He was very expressive, and it felt like a close friend directly talking to you.
Near the beginning of the book, in his earlier letters, Barry mentioned the different stages of grief. I feel like he strongly experienced each of those stages as he continued to write these letters of his thoughts. At times, they may just seem like ramblings, but over the course of his reflections, I could detect that he was truly encountering the stages of grief.
As far as editing, the book was very well written. There were only a few grammar mistakes. I saw a word that should be capitalized, and occasionally there was a misplaced comma. Overall, though, everything was well-written, organized, and edited.
I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. I know many readers will be touched by reading it. I hope many will decide to check out this very moving account of Mr. Free's experience with loss.
Letters From Home: I Loved Ya Before I Even Met Ya
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