A GIFT FOR LIFE by Paula L. Taylor


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This debut volume of a mother’s memoir recounts her experience of turning to God for solace in grieving the death of her two-year-old son.

Beginning with her adolescence and moving forward to her son’s untimely death from complications relating to influenza, Taylor writes of her lifelong curiosity about death and the role that God plays in it. After the tragedy in her family, both issues intensified to a point of obsession for the author. At its heart, this story is as compelling, difficult and rewarding as any great personal memoir. Written long after the tragedy of her son’s death, Taylor views the events and circumstances of her life and that time with the practicality necessary to prevent the narrative from slipping into an eyeless, self-indulgent mess. The problem is that Taylor places this sensible approach in a much larger scope. In the introduction, she makes clear that the entirety of the book hinges on God and how He affects our ideas of life and death. This is a fine foundation for this type of memoir, but the author is too hesitant to truly sell the idea, probably because of her difficult experiences with “death in the family” books after her son’s passing. Taylor leaves readers to draw their own conclusions about the relationship between God and mortality, which comes across as alarmingly indecisive for a woman who intends to focus dutifully on that exact relationship. While it’s refreshing to see such a devout woman allow others their opinions, the author could have made her points more forcefully. However, even with this shortcoming, she tells the story of her emotional survival after her son’s death with a confiding gusto that avoids bleak self-pity, becoming palatable and mature.

A moving yet muddled personal story.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4363-2848-7
Program: Kirkus Indie
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