Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

If you like to read in public places, don’t read Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. Your eyes will leak without warning and your body might start shaking. This woman lost both her parents in the Tsunami that hit Sri Lanka December 26, 2004. And her husband. And her two wonderful boys. She could have easily died as well, but somehow survived with minimal injuries. After knowing the fate of her family, especially of her children, she wanted to die and I could feel her every emotion through the retelling of her story.  In so many heartbreak stories, the author seems to recover and regain all that was lost, just in a different form. Not this book; it is incredibly raw with no happy ending.  She eventually begins to enjoy life again, but it takes a long time with continual struggles. As of the writing, she hasn’t remarried or had additional children.  She just learns to get through the days, weeks, months and years without everyone that previously made up her world.  A truly compelling story.



The Devil in Pew Number Seven

I really wanted to like The Devil in Pew Number Seven. Both of the author’s parents clearly had an incredibly strong faith in God as do both her and her brother. The author’s mother was The devil in pew number seven_shot and killed in front of her and her father was shot twice but survived only to die later a very broken man.  Her family was tormented by a disgruntled community member over several years, which included several homemade bombs detonating outside their home. Her baby brother was miraculously uninjured during one of these bombings.  And then, the climax of the story if you will — she forgives both the family tormentor and the man who murdered her mother (2 different men)!  What a great example of how to truly live out Christian values — I love that and aspire to be that type of person.

Unfortunately, the book itself leaves much to be desired.  It drags on and on and on and on.  While there was a lot that happened to her family, it really wasn’t enough for a regular length book, so it feels like a ton of repetition.  Snoozer!  I did push through and finished and am glad I did because the best part of the book was the afterwards stuff (which might not be in the original print…not sure on that).  In this part, she talks about meeting her mother’s killer after he is released from jail on Dr. Phil.  That part of the book was exciting, fresh and new.


Note:  I have a “really complicated” rating system.  The status at the bottom of a review will be one of the three following rankings:

1. Recommend — I recommend reading this book.

2. Take It or Leave It — this book had both good and bad qualities.  I wouldn’t recommend it, but it wasn’t entirely bad.

3. Thumbs Down — I do not recommend reading this book.

Dying To Be Me

booksI just read the book Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani.  Super interesting story, granted I’m a bit fascinated by Near Death Experiences.  This woman has cancer, which in and of itself is common.  However, she should have died (and kind of did thus her NDE) — many of her organs shut down.  They don’t come back under normal circumstances, but hers did!  Amazing!

Her take on life post-NDE becomes kind of New Age-like, believing we are all part of the whole, and the whole is love and ultimately borders on what I normally consider to be a bit wack-a-do.  Despite this, I still really enjoyed this book!  What I love is her new outlook on life — she no longer has fear or anxiety about the everyday matters of life.  She has deep compassion for all people, even those whom most of us want to despise.  Instead, she sees that their wrong actions (including some actions I’d deem evil) as confirmation of a broken person in need of love and compassion.  This life view, along with her remarkable story of healing along with an NDE, is super inspiring.  To top it off, she shares her story and new take on life in a completely judgement-free manner.