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on July 19, 2012
My Emily by Matt Patterson is a poignant tale of a precious child's life and the people she touched during her brief time here on earth. Her Creator made her for a special purpose many years later. I knew Emily's story would be extremely hard to read because of the many trials her family had to face during her short life. I also knew that I would be extremely blessed in reading it, but was reluctant to pick it up at the same time. I was more than rewarded!

I first got to know Matt, the author, through the "International Online Book Club of Clean Reads." I was so inspired by Matt and how he was always so upbeat and always encouraging and promoting other authors. At the same time, Matt was also tirelessly promoting his book My Emily on the blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc. I started to read a few interviews and guest posts that Matt gave on My Emily, and couldn't believe I was weeping over a guest post on a blog I had happened to stumble upon. Matt's passion just shone through that much on everything he did regarding what he viewed as his calling in life at that time--to get his little book into as many hands as possible and share Emily's story with as many people as possible. I knew I had to know more about the story of My Emily!

Don't be fooled--this little book packs a big punch. My Emily is the story of Matt's firstborn daughter, Emily. Emily's life is told from Matt's point of view. Matt shares on one of his blog entries part of this story. He tells of how excited he was to find out he was having his first child. The doctor then told him she was born with Down Syndrome. Matt talks about how he did not even know what Down Syndrome was at the time. My heart broke along with his and his wife's as I read that paragraph. THEN, I read on and came to find out that Emily is later also diagnosed with leukemia. My heart dropped! I can not imagine!

But Matt's attitude is so refreshing in today's society in the way he views his Emily. He loves her so completely. That blesses me so much. I love what he said soon after he found out that Emily was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, "I wanted a boy, but now I had a girl--a girl with a disability. Did I feel cheated? Heck no...I didn't understand people's reactions...Whatever the case, my little angels had such a tight grip on my heart. All I could do was think of them. Forget about going out for a night on the town for two years. I could not wait to get home to see my girls and tuck them in" (298). Matt saw Emily as perfect, just the way His Creator did.

The rest of the story tells of Emily's struggle with these two diseases. Matt writes the story just as if he were sitting down with the reader. He does not try to bog one down with any confusing medical terminology. He just tells things as they are. He gives his raw, but oh-so-real emotions, laying bare his heart to the reader. I think that's why so many people love "My Emily" and can relate to it. He also breaks up the weighty subject matter with a great sense of humor. Between the tears, I found myself laughing out loud at Matt's quirkiness.

Most of all, Matt's message of faith is touching and not preachy. It is just him sharing his beliefs about God's purpose, perfection, and living each day to the fullest. These are things he came to terms with as he lived them out. They are lessons we can all learn from as well. I was especially touched by the quote he shared from Rick Warren, "You never know God is all you need until God is all you've got." Thank you Matt for sharing Emily's life with us and letting it continue to bless others!

I give this book 5 stars! It is a clean read.

I want to thank Matt Patterson for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's CFR 16, Part 255.
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on May 8, 2012
Recently, thanks to Matt Patterson's book, I got to meet his Emily.

If you read this book, it's likely you will cry. I bawled. But, mostly I celebrated the love of a daddy for his first born daughter. I especially love the way the Pattersons saw their daughter as perfect. She was Emily and that was enough.

As Matt shares Emily's life with readers, through the tears still present long after her journey into eternity is a cadence similar to a song or perhaps a hymn. A praise to God for the joy and grief. Suddenly, this short book about a joy-filled life applied to me and my sorrows. That's the lesson that lingers with me days after finishing the book.

I read it in one day - I meant to enjoy it slowly, but once I got started, I couldn't turn my Kindle off. There will come a time when I'll re-read this story-song. Emily's life will inspire me yet again and remind me of how beautiful the love of an innocent child is. My soul will dance to the gentle rhythm that beats softly in the background. Tears will flow again as I grieve for a Mom and Dad so loved and their little girl.

There's an especially amazing part I will not reveal here - but I do believe Matt experienced two miracles - one in the life of Emily and one in a moment after she was gone. Although I knew something about the second one, when I read it, I was blown away by God's tender mercy. Honestly - what He did for Matt is so like Him.

Emily's Story is more than a memoir; it's a gift.
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on May 27, 2013
My Emily is a bittersweet account of a little girl's brief but meaningful life, told by a father who both celebrates her life and grieves her death. We read about two parents overcoming the news of their baby being born with Down syndrome. They move past the shock and into a blessed life with a beautiful baby girl. But God has more plans for Emily and her family. At two, Emily is diagnosed with leukemia, and her family's world is turned upside down. Matt speaks of his faith being tested, but in the end he sees the miraculous hand of God, and he shows us a glimpse in this memoir.

The description for this book says, "Her loving nature and courage touched the hearts of everyone she met." That is exactly what Mr. Patterson does in this book: he touches the hearts of everyone who reads it.

I was worried I would cry my whole way through this book, but this isn't a story of sadness. I laughed more than I cried and couldn't put the book down. Matt Patterson's Emily changed people with her love, light, and life. Her father is continuing her legacy with this memoir.

This book is a must read for parents of special needs children, but it is also a must read for people who question the power of God, and people who are seeking to find answers in the midst of pain. Mr. Patterson shows that God is at work in ways we don't understand, but even in tragedy there are blessings. Emily, and in turn her father, Matt, are inspirations. Emily clearly got her strength, courage, and loving nature from her father.

Love can change the world. Matt Patterson shows that in My Emily.
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on August 2, 2012
The bravery Matt Patterson must have had in order to write My Emily is commendable. Reading about his struggles and fears as a father with a child diagnosed Down's Syndrome was so uplifting. His ability to look back and realize his faith hinged on the fate of this beautiful little girl - I don't know if I could be so forgiving. I smiled when he wrote of her infectious laugh, her smiles - I cried with him when I read about her birth and when they found out she had Down's. I cried with the image he painted when he and his family found out she had leukemia. I, really, was just a mess of emotions throughout this short piece of magic. My Emily will resonate with me as a parent, as a human being. The courage weaved in his words, the pain, the laughter, the hope, the ultimate peace they eventually found - I can't forget it and I honestly don't think I ever will. This is not just a story for those who have gone through or are going through similar circumstances. This is a story for all those who have children. This is a story for anyone questioning their faith, questioning their relationship with God. I want to thank Matt for sharing his story. It touched my heart in ways I never thought possible.
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on June 30, 2012
My Emily does something few women have ever seen. It gives an honest, in-depth look at the emotional guts of a man; not just any man, but one who is hurting and mourning. If you are a wife who is or has dealt with heartbreaking diagnoses, family hardships or the death of a child, and you've wondered how your spouse is handling need to read My Emily. Too often men in crisis keep their emotions bottled up and coast on what seems like auto-pilot which can be incredibly difficult for women to process. Matt Patterson does a great job of providing insight into what goes on inside that auto-pilot world.

This book is a must-read for women who need that insight, but also for men who could use some help putting words to their own pain. Matt's honesty and ability to be both raw and witty will help men who face their own crises to see that vulnerability is manly too, and transparency is important, even if it ends up being in retrospect.

My Emily made me gasp, weep, and even chortle as Patterson handily shared his deepest heartbreak with real humanity and strength of spirit.
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on August 3, 2013
My heart goes out to the family of Emily. This is one of the most heart wrenching short stories I've ever read. Who could have imagined what the pages held for the reader? I didn't. I've lived my share of tragedy through the years, but nothing as difficult as losing a child. The story really started sinking in the with photo section. I connected with Emily and her two year old innocence.

I found myself tearing up after she passed, not during her final breath. Now that is brilliance on dad's part. It wasn't planned. There wasn't a big build up, just Matt's story and how they were all affected. Brilliant, just brilliant; the writing style, not the outcome.

I feel trivialized having to assign stars to this work. I feel ashamed because I'm giving the death of Emily five stars. A more appropriate rating would be EXCELLENT TRIBUTE. That to me is much more fitting.

I am so sorrowed you, Bonnie, Lauren and the grandparents endured such a devastating loss, but as you say in the end, God was there to listen and heal.

A must read for those who have traveled this path.
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on August 27, 2012
This book takes you into the life of a man who has a child that is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. She is a beautiful loving child. I have never met a Down Syndrome child that was not the most loving child you could imagine as was Emily. Before long the family tragically finds out that she is sick. This father takes you through his heartbreaking battle to try to save her life. This book is a must read but you better have the kleenex ready.
Thank God, most of us cannot even imagine what trauma a family goes through when losing a child. This man takes you through this journey of how Emily brought him closer to God. He now can celebrate Emily's life instead of her tragic death. This book is a must read for everyone, whether you have children or not.
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on June 27, 2012
My Review:
I was so overwhelmed by this book. Not sure that I would have been able to write such a story. But Matt Patterson has diffidently wrote a very special book. Emily was an amazingly sweet girl. And Matt allowed us through this book to come into their life and see how the Lord can take something and or someone such as cancer and Emily to become a blessing within our life that we know we have to share it.

I was so moved by the insights and the background given. So hard to read about the issues of Down Syndrome then to be also diagnosed with leukemia. Some times I know we tend to blame God for things like this. But even when this family was angry and did question, they still stepped up to the plate.

Reading this book is a must for any family or friend that you know of that is or has gone through trials that doesn't seem fair. Read to find out how precious life can be or become when what some might see as tragedy. To find out how satan can try to turn things around to make you believe God must hate you. But Matt and his family are so down to earth. They try to move heaven and earth to make their family what God wants them to be.

Since I believe that Matt Patterson done an awesome job writing this book, even through his own pain and joy of it being about their daughter. I could not put it down, cried, smiled and prayed for family. I am going to give this book my breath of life rating of:
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on January 29, 2013
Like most young couples Matt and Bonnie Patterson were eager to start a family. Their hopes and dreams of delivering a healthy newborn were typical of expectant parents. Shock and confusion shattered those dreams when their newborn daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Acceptance stemmed from overwhelming love and joy that far outweighed their initial disappointment. A precious and loving child, Emily brought life and light to the family. Two years passed at which time Emily received a second diagnosis. The family's dreams were once again shattered with Emily's diagnosis of leukemia. Additional heartache and pain brought this family to the discovery of numerous blessings through the courage and love of their special angel, beautiful in every respect, a precious gift from God.

Through a father's eyes, Matt Patterson tells Emily's story with love, courage, and poignancy. Although a difficult story to read, Emily's life is a reality that may assist and bring healing to others who have experienced similar situations. Disappointment, heartache and raw emotions are interwoven with love, joy and blessings throughout this emotional and heartwrenching true story. "My Emily" had a profound affect on me. It's a reality story I'll never forget.
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VINE VOICEon April 11, 2012
Will any of us, this side of eternity, every truly understand God's grace? Where some would look at having a child with Down Syndrome followed with a diagnosis of Leukemia as nothing but a burden, Patterson and his wife learned to see it for what it was - unmerited favor... God's Grace.

Do we think God's love for a child who comes into this world unique and full of challenges is LESS than that He has for any other one? What about the family He gives that child to? Does he look for one who simply hasn't had enough burdens yet?

Pretend with me, for a moment. You are a social worker. You have several children in your care, one of whom is a special needs child, and you are looking for families to place them into. All the families who will get these children have been screened. They are all acceptable good families. But wouldn't you look for a something a little extra in the family to take care of the special needs child? One that you knew would be willing to go the extra mile, give a little more, mete out a little more compassion?

Don't you think God does the same when He has a soul, one He loves dearly enough to have died for, one who is going to face some obstacles on this physical plain, one through whom His Grace can shine extra bright?

Don't get me wrong, Patterson's book in no way claims that they were extra special because God blessed them with little Emily, it is simply a heartfelt journey from a perspective of faith, but I think when you get done with the book you will see them as God must have seen them before He chose them to take care of His little girl - they had that something extra special, that potential to learn and to share and to SEE.

Who are we, us blobs of clay in The Potter's hand, to tell The Potter what "perfect" looks like? Who are we to cry, "But I don't want to be used this way!"?

My Emily is a short book. Oh, but there are some powerful truths packed within its pages. I highly recommend it. You'll smile. You'll cry. And in the end you will walk away changed.
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