A WALK ALONG THE PATH by Jessica Roby

A WALK ALONG THE PATH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this memoir, a woman recollects how faith helped her endure extraordinary travails. 

In 1994, debut author Roby was happily married and preparing to start a new job as a teacher. Then her husband, Henry, suddenly and inexplicably died, and at the age of 25, she found herself a single mother of one child, seven-and-a-half months pregnant with another. In 1997, when her daughter, Jordan, was 2-and-a-half years old, she suddenly collapsed and was rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital. She suffered from congestive heart failure, and her doctors determined that her heart was so weak that she was a candidate for a transplant. She was approved for the procedure and transferred to a new hospital, while Roby stayed at a nearby Ronald McDonald house. The operation’s risks were considerable; even if it was successful, there was still a possibility that Jordan would need another transplant a decade or so later. The surgery went well, and the road to recovery seemed promising, if fraught with challenges. However, a few years later, Jordan fell seriously ill again, and her organs started to shut down. Doctors attempted to save her life, but the strain proved too much for the young girl, who finally died. The bulk of Roby’s recollection is devoted to her account of Jordan’s struggle to stay alive, but she also discusses her own youthful Christian awakening and the abuse that she weathered as a child. Roby tells this heartbreaking tale with affecting emotion, but she’s also relentlessly optimistic, repeatedly cataloging the many things for which she’s deeply grateful. The whole story feels like less of a lament than a kind of love letter to those who supported her during her time of profound distress. She also provides a thoughtful reflection on the faith that sustained her through her many trials, offering a kind of Christian theodicy: “There is evil in this world. Some bear witness to it, while others endure its devastation and subsequent hardship. In acknowledging there is evil, one must also acknowledge there is good, for one cannot exist without the other.” 

A tender meditation on the hope that one can discover in the darkest despair.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5127-6140-5
Page count: 108pp
Publisher: Westbow Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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