Official Review: A Beautiful Path: Me, You

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SABRADLEY
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Official Review: A Beautiful Path: Me, You

Post by SABRADLEY » 08 Oct 2018, 23:20

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Beautiful Path: Me, You" by Maria B. Russell.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Caring for a loved one with physical and mental challenges is a labor of love that most of us will never experience in our lives. For Maria B. Russell, it was her son Mark (born with an abnormal and underdeveloped brain) that taught her and her family so much more than they could have ever thought possible. A Beautiful Path: Me, You takes the reader on an emotional tour of the pain, hope, and transformation that has come from having a child with special needs.

Mark's condition was one-in-a-million; he was born with one side of his brain larger than the other. Mark nearly died in infancy, and endured a continuous barrage of seizures for months on end before undergoing a left hemispherectomy (removing the left side of the brain) at just eleven months old, making him the first baby to have the complex surgery. That procedure was just the beginning of a lengthy list of subsequent surgeries and extensive therapies that would become a staple part of Mark’s life. Although the book goes into great detail about Mark's condition and treatments, it equally reveals the family's strength and hope through it all. Choosing to lean on each other and learning to find joy and peace in the simplest of life’s experiences was an unforeseen benefit of having Mark in the family.

There is much to appreciate in this story, but my favorite part is the sense of humility and wisdom with which it was written. Russell and her family were united in love because of the light Mark brought just by being himself. Russell describes her son as the embodiment of selflessness and grace, living each day to the fullest with a joy that radiates outward to all those lucky enough to meet him. As a devout Catholic, Russell relied heavily on her faith in God, and provides plenty of examples of answered prayers. Russell gives all the credit of her blessed life to those around her, but clearly her positive attitude and grateful heart are key ingredients to her joy.

The book is not without flaws, both in editing and writing style, including grammatical errors and intermittent changes in tense. However, I feel that focusing on those things would be to miss the big picture of the book's purpose; it was clearly written to give hope to those who are faced with hardships. The book’s eloquent message is that sometimes we are faced with the unimaginable, but we do not have to be defined by it, and it may in fact turn out to be a blessing beyond our greatest imagining. This book is a beautiful tribute from a mother to the son that has opened her heart in unexpected ways. To make the story even more personal, Russell includes several family photos throughout Mark’s childhood.

I would recommend this book to individuals that work with or care for people with special needs, especially parents with a child with severe physical/mental challenges. Professional editing is recommended, which would bump this book up another star. In the meantime, I rate this heartfelt memoir 2 out of 4 stars.

******
A Beautiful Path: Me, You
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wendos
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Post by wendos » 10 Oct 2018, 00:01

The tour is really an emotional one. I have never heard of the surgery to remove the brain. I am sure this is a hard one for any family. That you for a detailed review.

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Bianka Walter
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Post by Bianka Walter » 10 Oct 2018, 01:22

I love that there were family photos in the book. It always makes it that much more easy to relate to the family.
Awesome review :)
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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 10 Oct 2018, 01:38

I cringe with the part about a baby has to go through complex surgery. I really want to read this book but the lack of editing is the turn off and I can't afford it when I'm also polishing my grammar.
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Post by Debjani Ghosh » 10 Oct 2018, 02:29

This seems to be a heart-touching memoir that celebrates the power of family. Nevertheless, the errors you mentioned deter me from picking it up. Thanks for the review!

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Post by Omoyajowoelect » 10 Oct 2018, 03:55

It must have been really tough for his family i cant imagine how a brain surgery will be done anyways it keeps their family together

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Post by kandscreeley » 10 Oct 2018, 10:21

It sounds like the family had quite a few challenges and dealt with them with hope and peace. That's so difficult to do. I know they would have much to teach us. It just needs a good editor. Thanks for the review.
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Post by Eva Darrington » 11 Oct 2018, 21:29

I thought this sounded interesting but think I will pass considering the editing problems. I hope the author can fix the problems as it sounds the book could help people who are in long-term caregiving situations.
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Post by writer808 » 13 Oct 2018, 11:49

Wow, i like books showing emotional scenes. I am up for it

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Post by teacherjh » 15 Oct 2018, 11:17

This sounds inspiring and heart-warming. I admire the family for walking this difficult path.
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Post by SABRADLEY » 22 Oct 2018, 17:32

wendos wrote:
10 Oct 2018, 00:01
The tour is really an emotional one. I have never heard of the surgery to remove the brain. I am sure this is a hard one for any family. That you for a detailed review.
I appreciate the comments on my review. I can imagine that this book was a bittersweet undertaking for Maria.

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SABRADLEY
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Post by SABRADLEY » 22 Oct 2018, 17:35

Bianka Walter wrote:
10 Oct 2018, 01:22
I love that there were family photos in the book. It always makes it that much more easy to relate to the family.
Awesome review :)
I agree with you! I'm a sucker for photos and these ones were a showcase of a happy child growing into adulthood. Thanks for your lovely comments. :)

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SABRADLEY
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Post by SABRADLEY » 22 Oct 2018, 17:40

ParadoxicalWoman wrote:
10 Oct 2018, 01:38
I cringe with the part about a baby has to go through complex surgery. I really want to read this book but the lack of editing is the turn off and I can't afford it when I'm also polishing my grammar.
The thought of a baby going through the surgery (and seizures and so much more) is always difficult to read! Luckily, the love in Mark's turned a nightmare medical situation into something of everlasting beauty. Thanks for your comment :)

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SABRADLEY
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Post by SABRADLEY » 22 Oct 2018, 17:43

Debjani Ghosh wrote:
10 Oct 2018, 02:29
This seems to be a heart-touching memoir that celebrates the power of family. Nevertheless, the errors you mentioned deter me from picking it up. Thanks for the review!
Indeed, it is beautiful and uplifting. Thank you for your wonderful insights. :)

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SABRADLEY
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Post by SABRADLEY » 22 Oct 2018, 17:47

Omoyajowoelect wrote:
10 Oct 2018, 03:55
It must have been really tough for his family i cant imagine how a brain surgery will be done anyways it keeps their family together
Thanks so much for leaving your thoughts on my review. :)

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