A lot has been said and written about the power, significance, and virtue of forgiveness but how many of us could really embrace it in our everyday life? This book, written by Kate Grosemaire, explores the real potential of a human heart. Kate and Andy are an ordinary married couple. They have three beautiful daughters: Sarah, Allyson, and Ann. They are living an ordinary life. Sarah is married, Allyson is a senior at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, and Ann is a teenager. Ann is the only daughter who is living with Andy and Kate. She has a boyfriend, Conor. Right from the early days of their relationship, he has been like a part of Kate’s family. Nothing extraordinary is occurring in any of their lives until Kate and Andy receive a devastating news; Conor has shot Ann, she is struggling for her life in a hospital, and Conor has confessed his crime. As one can imagine, this news turns a lot of lives upside down. Kate, Andy, their daughters, Ann, Conor, and Conor’s parents are heartbroken by this ordeal. However, in this moment of intense trepidation, Kate and Andy decide to do something that sets them miles apart from every single victim of our generation. They decide to forgive Conor because they believe that this one moment should not define his whole personality. Nevertheless, forgiveness is not a moment’s realization, it is a process that takes its course. Andy and Kate are no saints; they are normal humans like you and me. The only difference is that they believe in the power of forgiveness and decide to forgive their own daughter’s killer.
The central idea of the book remained “forgiveness.” This is a non-fiction, which eliminates the need to discuss believability of characters, their thought process, and dialogues. However, there were a few bizarre moments for me. For instance, when Kate receives the news of Ann being shot by Conor, she asks Jesus to be with Ann; this was normal to me. However, then she prays for God to be with Conor, too, which was strange and incomprehensible for my tiny brain. I cannot find it in my heart to pray for the soul for the criminals who have killed those people who are unknown to me. Then, I wonder how did she find it in her heart to ask God to be with the person who attempted to kill her own daughter. Another bizarre moment was when Kate mentions that Andy sees a vision of Jesus lying in place of Ann; however, I believe that God has his own ways of astonishing and inspiring his devotees. This may be unusual to me, but I do not doubt any word she described.
Her instant decision to forgive Conor did not seem realistic to me, and for 9 chapters (the book consists of 20 chapters) I struggled to connect with her decision. I thought to myself, probably she loves Christianity more than her daughter. What else could describe her instant decision of forgiveness? But after 9th chapter, when she started describing her difficulty with her decision, she felt human to me. Her description of forgiveness as a process helped me in connecting with her situation. Her reminiscences of Ann are both beautiful and saddening. Other than her journey of forgiving her daughter’s killer, she writes about her past ordeals, marital problems, and other difficulties, which helped me — as a reader — in connecting with her in a more effective manner.
The story begins slowly but after a few chapters gains the necessary speed. Generally, I lose interest as soon as I know the climax of the story; however, this book is different. In the end, when she narrates how other families of victims took inspiration from their act of forgiveness, I found myself captured by the beauty of it. The book is written with a sole intention of delivering the message of forgiveness, and the author’s narration and writing style achieve it, flawlessly. Kate has presented various excerpts from the bible to make the readers acquainted with the virtue of forgiveness.
The most crushing part, for me, was the reaction of Andy when he heard the circumstances in which Conor shot Ann. Andy’s difficulty in accepting the fact that he could not protect her daughter is written to the perfection. I think that every father would be able to feel his pain.
In today’s world when people kill the person who causes a dent on their car, the thought of forgiving a murdered may sound out-of-the-world, but Andy and Kate achieved this. That’s why their story is both inspiring and out worldly. I found it difficult to absorb their decision. Having said that, I applaud their decision and what they achieved from it. There cannot be enough praises for them.
This book deserves 5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend it to the readers who believe in self-improvement, humanity, and forgiveness. I had picked this book out of curiosity. It was impossible for me to wrap my head around the idea of forgiving the murderer of your loved one, and I am glad that I read it.
Disclaimer: ** I received this book for free in return of my honest opinion from BLB.