Title: Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith and Resilience

Author: Allison Pataki

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 01 May 2018

Genre: Biographies, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Allison “Alli” Pataki never imagined that her babymoon trip would result in a hospital trip. Her thirty-year-old husband, Dr David Levy suffered a stroke while en route trip to  Hawaii.  Beauty  in the Broken Places is a product of the letters that she wrote to her husband during his treatment. Allison shifts back and forth in time referencing their relationship journey while holding the hope that the “old Dave” come back to her.

Most people start these kinds of personal projects with the hope of helping others but end up experiencing catharsis and self-discovery. Allison’s journey of maturing in her faith will be evident to her readers. Alli says that she had experienced luck although her life from her privileged youth to her stable relationship with Dave. However, Dave’s stroke helped her recognise the difference between innocence and purity. While the former is circumstantial that is dependent on exposure or experience, purity is about an active choice that can only be attained through passing a test or trial.  She recognises that prior to Dave’s accident she possesses the faith of the innocent which was easy to keep. However, this new normal helped expose the weaknesses in her faith that she needed to re-examine and work through. As she says:

Ultimately, I realized, this was the moment when things between God and me finally got real. This was when I needed to live the faith that I had been thinking, for thirty-one years, that I had been living. I did not understand why the things that had happened had happened. But did I still—even in that place of not knowing or understanding, especially in that place of not knowing or understanding—believe that God was with me? Was He there beside me in my pain and brokenness, just as I had always believed Him to be beside me in my joy? Did I believe that God could take this heartbreak and this fear and this fatigue and somehow weave something beautiful from all of the frayed and feeble threads? That there was a divine plan at work here, a much larger picture than the one I could see, a framework that exceeded my capacity to understand?

Readers will fall in love with the couple and their journey of re-discovery and will make them yearn for intentionality in their relationships. If you loved the late Dr Paul Kalanathi’s book When Breathe Becomes Air, then this book is right up your alley. Like Kalanithi, Allison has her way with words but without the more technical and philosophical tone that can be attributed to his medical training. Personally, I have never read any of her historical fiction novels which she wrote mostly during this trying period. Beauty in the Broken Places has piqued my interest in what else she has in store.


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Note: This book was requested from NetGalley

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