Common Stones by Alicia M. Smith

Common Stones

A Glimpse Into Several Different Worlds, In An Effort To Become More Acquainted With Our Own
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Christian-themed first-person accounts on loss and redemption.

One man was grievously injured in an auto accident. A married man with two children lost his 10,000-square-foot restaurant and beautiful beachside home in Hurricane Katrina. A young woman’s father died of brain cancer. Their tragedies, which were recorded by debut author Smith, are slightly softened by their unshakeable faith in God’s “ultimate plan.” This faith, and the refusal to let tragedy reign, informs the entire collection. The title refers to how people share the same set of steppingstones through a difficult situation, primarily by placing their faith in God and the notion that it will all work out somehow (although hard work, persistence, and a lack of fear of government agencies play big roles, too). Quotes by historical figures, including Ralph Waldo Emerson (“God enters by a private door into every individual”), and chapter-by-chapter review questions offer readers the chance to get outside perspective as well as write down their “steps.” These steps include “notice the mistakes,” “honor your responsibilities,” and  “live up to your word.” Although the book’s tone is serious, there are flashes of humor: the man who lost his restaurant and struggled to collect insurance on his decimated properties ends up inventing the “FEMA martini—’cause it takes a while to hit’cha!” The essays themselves are tightly paced and engaging. Death, loss, betrayal, illness—nothing can keep these people from embracing forgiveness and the will to keep going. Whether stranded along the Gulf Coast or facing difficulties in the plains, in early adulthood or much later along in life, the subjects in this collection offer their own reflections on how to transform a disaster into a personal triumph.

Inspirational without being patronizing; a well-organized collection. 

ISBN: 978-1-4624-1164-1
Publisher: Inspiring Voices
Program: Kirkus Indie
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