Likely to appeal only to Christian readers.

MIRACLE FOR JEN

A TRAGIC ACCIDENT, A MOTHER'S DESPERATE PRAYER, AND HEAVEN'S EXTRAORDINARY ANSWER

A mother’s searching memoir about how she and her family found their faith tested in the aftermath of a devastating car crash.

Baptist evangelical speaker Barrick had the perfect life. A Bible study leader, she was happily married and had two blessed children. Her son was a gifted athlete; her daughter, Jen, was a “straight-A honor student, varsity soccer player and nationally ranked varsity cheerleader” who loved God. But in 2006, tragedy struck when a drunk driver collided head-on with the car in which she and her family were riding. Her son escaped with bruises and scratches while Barrick and her husband suffered multiple fractures and severe lacerations. Jen was hurt worst of all and sustained life-threatening head injuries. Barrick and her husband struggled to come to terms with their now-shattered lives as Jen lay in a coma for over a month. Against all odds, she began to respond; even more amazingly, she started conversing with God in language that was perfectly intelligible. Like her mother and father, Jen recovered her health, but was even more profoundly changed by the accident than they were. Now brain-injured and nearly blind, she was only able to regain normal speech with great effort, although her ability to speak to God unimpaired continued to astound those around her. Barrick admits throughout to longing for a daughter who could be “normal” again. But through Jen, she came to understand that her human desires were secondary to God’s plan, which was to give her daughter “her own special place in His world.” The author’s story is moving but will no doubt frustrate secular readers, as she remains silent about other neurologically based explanations for her daughter’s remarkable abilities and recovery.

Likely to appeal only to Christian readers.

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4143-6119-2

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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