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Monday, March 25, 2013

North of Hope by Shannon Polson

I deeply enjoy people's stories. As I was reading the description of this book, it drew me in. I wanted to read Shannon's story. Her memoir beckoned me. Really, it's an unbelievable tale of losing her parents to a bear attack in Alaska and taking her own journey to grieve and make peace. We follow her through white water rapids in the Alaskan wilderness as she travels to the campsite where her family died.

I have read many a biography and many autobiographies. Even though I love hearing the stories that people have to share, they are not always well told. Sometimes a poignant and gut-wrenching tale is told in a shallow way. This is not the case here. Shannon is obviously a woman of brilliance with a rich and deep character. The way she lays out her text is genuinely profound. It takes us through Mozart's Requiem. Requiem meaning rest is the name given to a funeral proceeding or a mass for the dead. Shannon takes us through each of the traditional portions of this service by giving it a life and a definition showing us the stage of grief she was in. In a way, the mass could be compared to the stages of grief. In the end, it all beckons us on this journey towards healing in the tender arms of the Lord Jesus.

This work of literature spoke to the inmost places in me and made me feel more alive upon reading. I connected to her journey. Even though, I have not gone backpacking through the Alaskan wilderness, I understand the need, and I relished her journey. It is an opulent tale of the human heart. We can see through honest eyes how we are brought to deal with grief and the things in our lives that we wish had been different. Exquisite. I can't recommend it enough.

This is my standing ovation. Brava!

This book was graciously provided for review by Zondervan.

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