Saturday, March 31, 2012

Surviving Emily by Laurie Bellesheim


Surviving Emily


Abigail Hooper and Stephen Sparks had never heard of Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy until one fatal morning in November when it crushed their hopes and dreams. Twelve years after the devastating loss of their dearest friend Emily, they find themselves still affected by the trauma. 

Abigail, married and newly pregnant, helps others through her work for the Department of Children and Families. When a new client with epilepsy unexpectedly forces her to re-examine the past, Abigail realizes she's the one who needs saving. Stephen has struggled emotionally, physically and spiritually after losing the love of his life, and the long-term effects of his grief have kept him from truly living and finding love again. 

As the two search for redemption and the power to heal, their paths cross once again. Emily's presence so long ago still has meaning in their own lives, teaching them the meaning of true friendship and what's really important. Drawing on her own experience with a close friend with epilepsy who died, author Laurie Bellesheim raises awareness about the disease in this compelling tale told partially through flashbacks. 
(Copied from Goodreads )

From the outset, this was an emotional ride. Imagine losing a best friend and never quite letting go of future dreams and plans you’d made with that person. Heartbreaking.
Surviving Emily looks at some interesting faith issues surrounding death. Throughout the book the characters question their faith and relationships based on the loss of a loved one.

While reading, I could understand why people may also lose their faith because of false perceptions of illnesses – in this case, epilepsy, held by some religious people. 
A major thread through Surviving Emily is the danger or untreated epilepsy. I personally haven’t met anyone with epilepsy who doesn’t take medication – but I’m sure there are people out there who refuse to seek medical guidance.
Being such an emotional read, I was hoping for a happy ending. But it didn’t come. The ending was finished and satisfying, yet there was one scene that could have been made happy and wasn’t. I know that’s my personal reader preference – I’m a happy ending kind of girl.   

I received a complimentary copy of this book from World Literary Cafe to read and review. 

16 comments:

  1. You find such great books to read and review. I'm a happy ending person as well.

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  2. I think I like the sound of this one.

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  3. It sounds like a sad but rewarding book. Thanks for writing about it.

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  4. I prefer happy endings too. I'm not sure I could read this book, more because of the intense emotional side of it though.

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  5. Aw, sounds like a beautiful read. I love books that explore sorrow so deeply.

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  6. Yes, I'm a happy ending kind of gal too. It does seem like an intense but eye-opening/touching read. Thanks for the review!

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  7. I've heard about this book, and the other reviewer said the same thing about the ending. But she also said it was a good read. I guess if you know going into it that it won't end on an up note, it's okay!

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  8. I'm a sucker for a happy ending, too. But as long as it's a completely satisfying ending, I'm willing to overlook it. And that cover is fantastic!

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  9. This sounds like an intense and thought provoking novel. I do prefer happy endings, but as long as there are no loose ends and the story ends with a sense of satisfaction, I'm content. Thanks for this review.

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  10. This sounds like a real tear jerker. I like happy endings or at least hopeful endings.

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  11. Michelle, I gave you an award on my blog. Stop by.
    http://kellyhashway.blogspot.com/2012/04/one-lovely-blog-award.html

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  12. Wow - sounds like a powerful read. I know a few people with epilepsy, but like you, I only know those who take medication. It would be terrifying without it. Can't even imagine.

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  13. Yeah, happy endings are good but, unfortunately, not all are the same in life... it seems an interesting story. Thanks, Michelle.

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  14. Hi Michelle! Thanks for your review of such a harrowing read! Sounds like it was very emotional too! I love happy endings as well - especially when I'm so involved with the characters' lives I can't contemplate anything bad happening to them!
    Take care
    x

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  15. Books with loss can be so hard to read, but can be so powerful. Thanks for the review.

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  16. Wow, it certainly sounds like an absorbing read. Thanks for the review.

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