Today Show fourth-hour co-host Kotb (Hoda, 2010) tells the story of six people who faced extraordinary challenges in life and turned their lives around.
The stories are heartbreaking. One woman’s partner physically abused her for many years before she found the courage to stand up to him. After she broke away from him to regain custody of her children, she lost 325 pounds through exercise and diet. She now travels around the country talking to victims of domestic abuse. The second story is that of a young woman who fought two cancers and managed to preserve her fertility through freezing her eggs. Horrified that no doctor or nurse had discussed that option with her, she founded a nonprofit that raises awareness about fertility options for cancer patients. Another devastating story is that of a man who lost his sister on 9/11 at the exact same moment he was helping a burning woman stay alive. One story that does not fit with the others is that of Roxanne Quimby, founder of Burt’s Bees. In the afterword, Kotb writes that Quimby went from “organic rags to riches.” While that is true, Quimby says that her poverty was a product of her own doings, as she chose to live in the forest to grow her own food. While Quimby is accomplished, it seems disrespectful and odd to put her story alongside those who faced challenges the world threw at them without giving them a choice.
Despite the subjects’ inspiring stories, the author fails to create a sense of purpose.