I was swept into the tragedy and heartbreak of the McAndrew family from page one of this book. The pain was so real and raw as each member of the family was having to figure out how to grieve over the loss of their 3-year-old brother, Joel. The hard thing about grief is that each person in the family unit deals with grief differently. In this case, Joel and Abby couldn’t express their grief easily, and in some cases, at all. There was fear to wrestle with, as well as the pain and the guilt of all of the “what if’s.”
Abby’s mom tries to move forward, even in her grief. She knows that she cant stay stuck and must keep pushing her family forward. However, Abby’s dad, a pastor, just can’t seem to figure out how to take even one step. This begins to take a toll on the family. Abby is left wondering what will even happen to her family. Can they make it through this hard time? Is there life after Joel for her family? When will the guilt go away?
I appreciated the hard questions in the story. Ann Marie Stewart didn’t just tie it up in a bow and make it seem like the family was going to just trust God without wrestling with the hard questions that make you go deeper in your relationship with God. I loved that she brought out the wrestling with each member of the family and reminded her readers, it’s okay to have doubts. It’s okay to have questions. But take those things to God because He’s big enough to handle those questions.
I found myself thinking about this book even when I wasn’t reading it. I’m watching a friend walk the cancer journey with her son and all I could think of was how one day….maybe years from now….I’m passing this book to her. It’s so odd that a fiction book has that kind of influence, but this one did.
I receieved this book free from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.