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Review: Rare Bird, A Memoir of Loss and Love by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

Publisher: Convergent Books/Random House, September 9, 2014.
Genre: Memoir, grieving.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 224.
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent.
Source: Free copy from Blogging for Books, Convergent Books/Random House, in exchange for a review. All reviews expressed are from my own opinion.

Link to read the first sixteen pages: Rare Bird.

Book is available @
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Anna Whiston-Donaldson's blog is An Inch of Gray.

On an early September day, Anna Whiston-Donaldson encouraged her children to play outside. A storm had left the neighborhood creek swollen with rapid moving water. Anna's twelve year old son Jack fell into the creek and is swept away. Jack's family and friends are left in shock. The day's of grieving continue and Anna ponders life without Jack.
Rare Bird is the story of a family "working through" the grieving process. It is at times fragile. It is at times consuming. It is always there.

My Thoughts:
Where do I begin? Rare Bird is a memoir that makes an impact. My mind and spirit is shaken.
I have read memoirs in the past that felt as if the author held back. It is possible they hold back because the memory is painful. They do not want to be vulnerable. They do not want to relive every detail. I felt Anna Whiston-Donaldson gave her all. Her language showed raw anger. She stumbled literally and figuratively at times. She asks painful questions, and sometimes there are no answers.
Several areas are examined in the grieving process: shock, denial, anger, regret, sadness, and how to live life without a loved-one.
One particular point that I found interesting is the different way people grieve. Age and sex makes a difference in grieving responses.
A quote that resonated with me: "Grief is my work right now." I agree. Grieving is laborious. There is not a time limit on grieving. A life must be rebuilt without the loved one.
In conclusion, a difficult question is asked: "Why didn't God intervene?" It's as if the question is in the air swirling above my head, waiting for an answer.
At first sight Rare Bird seems to be the story of a family grieving the drowning accident of their son. On closer examination, Rare Bird teaches on the brevity of the life we have, and to "love well."