Life is full of the unexpected and faith can be the only way to overcome the incredible odds. This is the premise of Brenda’s book. Unfortunately, while she has her share of difficulties and certainly tragedies, there is a shrill tone to the book that makes it extremely difficult to empathize with her. For example, when she shares how hard it was to accommodate all the friends who wanted tickets to see her husband play football, or how difficult it was to say no to people’s requests for merchandise for charity events, it feels as though she has nothing but gripes – even though she probably has a point. It is hard for professional athletes, I imagine, and their families to go from being accessible to everyone to limiting that access for their safety and sanity. I think the problem I had with the book is the constant “my life is so hard” perspective; although Brenda professes a faith that helps her through difficulties, she often focuses too much on the difficulties. As she describes how much they impacted her, it feels as though she’s saying “feel sorry for me, or else!” Since I know families who are raising special needs children, whose grace and faith in those circumstances are not about them, but about the ways in which God has truly provided, it is hard to reconcile their sacrifices and humility with Brenda’s “look at me” diatribe. I don’t doubt that dealing with having to live with Mom and Dad with 2 kids, or having to go on public aid, or going back to school were easy things to manage, especially when one of the children has severe disability. Indeed, the story of her son is nothing short of miraculous. That he is able to engage with others when Brenda was told he would never walk or talk is amazing. The problem, and it’s a big one, is that the story of her struggle is told from the perspective of someone who was never at fault for anything, never needs to be repentant for any action, and who seems to categorize her challenges and struggles as somehow bigger than everyone else’s. That she may not legitimately feel that way is hoped, that her book makes her come across that way is then unfortunate.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255