Official Review: Isn’t That Enough? by Patty Ihm

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Cecilia_L
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Official Review: Isn’t That Enough? by Patty Ihm

Post by Cecilia_L » 05 Nov 2018, 08:45

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Isn’t That Enough?" by Patty Ihm.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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"Are they yours?"
"Why doesn't she live with her real parents?"
"I could never give them back."
"Don't you worry about how this will affect your other kids?"
These are several of the questions related to her experiences fostering children in her home that author Patty Ihm has been asked by curious strangers and addresses in her memoir Isn't That Enough?! Musings of Motherhood and the Meaning of Life.

Written as a collection of dated entries that are often complemented with personal photographs, the book features the author's reflections on the beauty as well as the challenges that can be found in everyday life as it relates to her family which includes foster children. "I have a journey to share; one of motherhood, blessings, trials, passion, and the gifts of each given day. Isn't that enough?" As a fan who listens to games on the radio, she jokingly likens her nine children to a baseball team. She introduces us one-by-one to her children which include those she has birthed, adopted, and currently fosters with her husband, Dan. The memoir delicately balances anecdotes of daily life in their farmhouse caring for her brood of children and chickens with the more serious issues that accompany life as a foster parent. The author addresses topics such as advocating for our children, autism, reactive attachment disorder, inpatient psychiatric care and having to turn away needy children when their home is at full capacity. She also candidly shares her bittersweet acceptance that sometimes love is not enough to heal, but that simply being there does make a difference.

When it comes to writing about her large family, the author is articulate and even poetic as she expresses her love, concerns, and devotion for them. Readers who are parents--especially those who have adopted or fostered children--will relate to her heartfelt concerns and desires for the well-being and emotional healing for those in her care. I was truly moved by her commitment and giving spirit to the children who have lived in her home for various reasons. I could relate to the soothing affect daily tasks such as gardening or little victories with the children seemed to bring when challenges became overwhelming, as well as her memories and reflections on her relationships with her grown children.

However, there were sections of the book I found hard to follow. The timeline of the dated journal-like entries is erratic, constantly jumping back and forth between 2014 to 2016. While the author often refers back to earlier seasons in her marriage, friendships, and parenting; that in itself isn't the issue. It's the constant volleying between the recent years which I found confusing. For example, the first entry is titled Beginnings and dated February 7, 2014. With the book's final entry dated January 24, 2016, the reader might expect a chronological progression. However, after the first several entries journal through the end of March 2014, the next entry suddenly jumps to January 6, 2016, continues in the same year for several entries and then suddenly reverts to 2015. This sporadic pattern persists throughout the book. Many of the entries dealt with specific issues or treatment related to the care of the foster children, and since the timing of the events was chronicled so haphazardly, I found it increasingly difficult to keep up with their progress which was frustrating. I can understand the desire to date the entries for personal reference. However, for a public audience, the book would flow more cohesively if the entries were better organized or included by topic alone, which would eliminate some of the confusion.

The book was professionally edited, and as I found the thought-provoking and eloquent reflections surpassed the problematic timeline, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers who are interested in foster parenting and those who enjoy memoirs related to parenting. However, while the content is not explicit in nature, those who may be triggered by subjects related to abused or mentally ill children may prefer to pass on this one.

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Isn’t That Enough?
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Post by sonya01 » 06 Nov 2018, 01:58

It is heartwarming to read of experiences like these, and I am in awe of these selfless people who open their homes and their hearts to foster children. Thanks for your comments on this book, which in spite of the timeline difficulties, sounds like it could be an enlightening and touching story.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 06 Nov 2018, 09:15

sonya01 wrote:
06 Nov 2018, 01:58
It is heartwarming to read of experiences like these, and I am in awe of these selfless people who open their homes and their hearts to foster children. Thanks for your comments on this book, which in spite of the timeline difficulties, sounds like it could be an enlightening and touching story.
I agree. Thanks for your comment, Sonya.

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Post by kandscreeley » 06 Nov 2018, 09:38

It takes a special person to be a foster parent, so I always enjoy stories such as this. It really is too bad about the uncertain timeline. That can really ruin a book for me as I don't really know what's happening when. Still, it seems like a worthwhile and inspiring read. Thanks.
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Post by Cecilia_L » 06 Nov 2018, 10:12

kandscreeley wrote:
06 Nov 2018, 09:38
It takes a special person to be a foster parent, so I always enjoy stories such as this. It really is too bad about the uncertain timeline. That can really ruin a book for me as I don't really know what's happening when. Still, it seems like a worthwhile and inspiring read. Thanks.
Thanks for your comment.

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Post by Caylie_Cat » 06 Nov 2018, 21:24

Fostering must be one of the hardest and most challenging jobs a parent could do, and I take my hat off to those who love to do it. Great review, as usual, Cecilia!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 06 Nov 2018, 22:22

Caylie_Cat wrote:
06 Nov 2018, 21:24
Fostering must be one of the hardest and most challenging jobs a parent could do, and I take my hat off to those who love to do it. Great review, as usual, Cecilia!
I think so, too. Thank you for your comment, Caylie.

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Post by Dael Reader » 07 Nov 2018, 08:58

This sounds like and honest and heartwarming book on topics that more people need to consider--adoption and foster parenting. Thanks for such a detailed review.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 07 Nov 2018, 09:16

Dael Reader wrote:
07 Nov 2018, 08:58
This sounds like and honest and heartwarming book on topics that more people need to consider--adoption and foster parenting. Thanks for such a detailed review.
You're welcome. I appreciate your comment. :tiphat:

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Post by Sahar Majid » 07 Nov 2018, 10:14

This seems like an educational sort of book for foster parents, and just people in general. It sounds quite heartwarming. Thank you for the great review!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 07 Nov 2018, 15:07

Sahar Majid wrote:
07 Nov 2018, 10:14
This seems like an educational sort of book for foster parents, and just people in general. It sounds quite heartwarming. Thank you for the great review!
Thank you. I appreciate your comment.

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Post by sarahmarlowe » 07 Nov 2018, 21:00

Excellent review! (I picked up some pointers.)

This books sounds very interesting to me. I am a school counselor, and I see only the school side of troubled foster kids. Thanks for your thorough treatment of this book.
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Post by Bianka Walter » 08 Nov 2018, 06:54

These people that open their lives to foster children are truly saints. I loved your review - you really made the book come to life.
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Post by fredrick otieno » 08 Nov 2018, 08:00

living with children whom are not biologically yours can be challenging and i think this book could help one learn how to support fostered children even better. This is a great a book and worth reading

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Post by Cecilia_L » 08 Nov 2018, 22:26

sarahmarlowe wrote:
07 Nov 2018, 21:00
Excellent review! (I picked up some pointers.)

This books sounds very interesting to me. I am a school counselor, and I see only the school side of troubled foster kids. Thanks for your thorough treatment of this book.
I bet you would really enjoy this book. Thanks for your comment.

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