Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Invisible Girls

The Invisible Girls
Sarah Thebarge

The Invisible Girls: A Memoir

Genre: Fiction

Summary (from the publisher):  Twenty-seven-year-old Sarah Thebarge had it all - a loving boyfriend, an Ivy League degree, and a successful career - when her life was derailed by an unthinkable diagnosis: aggressive breast cancer. After surviving the grueling treatments - though just barely - Sarah moved to Portland, Oregon to start over. There, a chance encounter with an exhausted African mother and her daughters transformed her life again.

A Somali refugee whose husband had left her, Hadhi was struggling to raise five young daughters, half a world a way from her war-torn homeland. Alone in a strange country, Hadhi and the girls were on the brink of starvation in their own home, "invisible" to their neighbors and to the world. As Sarah helped Hadhi and the girls navigate American life, her outreach to the family became a source of courage and a lifeline for herself.

Poignant, at times shattering, Sarah Thebarge's riveting memoir invites readers to engage in her story of finding connection, love, and redemption in the most unexpected places.

Review:  The description of this memoir doesn't indicate that it is a Christian book, but it most definitely is.  Anyone wanting to read this book should understand that before picking it up, because Sarah's relationship with God plays a major part in the story.  I didn't know that before I chose this book, but I ended up loving Sarah's cries to God for help during her battle with cancer, and her attempt to understand why a loving God would inflict such pain on his beloved children.  I found Sarah's struggle inspirational.

I also loved reading about how Sarah saw a need for action and stepped in to help a single mother Somali refugee and her five daughters. How wonderful to be able to have the ability to make a concrete difference in the life of a family!

This book definitely had flaws - the narrative jumped between her life as a child, her battle with cancer and her interactions with the Somali family, and the transitions didn't always flow smoothly or even give an immediate indication of which part of the story she was talking about.  The author's writing reflected more of a journalistic style, which could have been improved upon, but at least made sense since the author wanted to be a journalist.  But I am a huge sucker for inspirational stories about everyday people helping others, and so I am willing to overlook most of those flaws to give this book a high rating.

Rating: 4 stars (5 stars for story, 3 for writing)

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