Life Is Beautiful: How a Lost Girl Became a True, Confident Child of God

Sarah M. Johnson. Morgan James, $17.95 trade paper (198p) ISBN 978-1-63047-486-7
This debut memoir from Johnson, a marriage and family therapist, recounts the tragedy that tore her family apart and led to her spiritual and emotional turmoil. In August 2008, 19-year-old Johnson was on a volunteer Christian mission in Guatemala with her family. En route to the village where they were to build a school, their plane crashed. Johnson was unharmed, but her father and brother died and her mother spent months in a hospital burn unit. The present-tense narration is a gripping way of describing the incident itself, but it seems less appropriate for flashbacks to her Wisconsin upbringing with a drug-addicted father and her growing alcohol dependence during high school and college. The account of her Aunt Vicki’s slow death from cancer provides a strong counterpoint to her father and brother’s sudden deaths. The book ably recreates conversations with family members, friends, and a therapist, but expository sections mar the quality of the writing. The book begins quickly but never reaches a settled conclusion—especially concerning her mother’s health. Even so, the refrain “Your life was spared for a reason,” and Johnson’s journey out of alcoholism and into Christian faith, are truly inspirational. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 02/08/2016
Release date: 08/01/2015
Hardcover - 198 pages - 978-1-63047-488-1
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-1-63047-487-4
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