Top critical review
part memoir, part spiritual encouragement, part mental health advocacy
October 30, 2018
If you follow Mandy Hale, many of the stories in this book will be familiar. Much like her previous books, the author pulls heavily from writings she’s already shared through her blogs and social media posts. This isn’t a bad thing - she is a talented storyteller - and she continues to share her experiences with an openness and honesty that has endured her to her readers like an old friend. The author’s connection with her readers provides a platform on which great things can be built. The tag line of overcoming heartbreak, claiming healing, and stepping into wholeness describes the journey Mandy Hale (bravely!) publicly walks in this book. Things that we don’t often discuss freely in society - wrestling with a sense of lack, questioning our faith, struggling in the pursuit of mental wellness - are discussed. By allowing herself to be vulnerable, the author brings us a powerful story. The last chapter lost some of that power because the timeline didn’t ring true (for example, her kayaking trip was about a month before she lost her friend, so how were they there mourning her loss and feeling her spirit in the breeze?... very distasteful writing). However, as I continued reading I realized the timeline was manipulated for a “bookend” story arc about tattoos, which left me as a reader feeling manipulated and wondering if I could trust the honesty of other parts of her story. The book seems part memoir, part spiritual encouragement, part mental health advocacy... sort of a “hero’s journey” in which she goes through hard things and comes out with a treasure to bring back to her readers. It’s a reminder that the power of our story lies in our struggle, and we can help one another along by sharing it.