“I don’t know what I expected, but I know I did not expect to stay up all night reading it,” says one person about my book, A Path Revealed: How Hope, Love, and Joy Found Us Deep in a Maze Called Alzheimer’s.
Says another: “I am purchasing copies for several beloved family members because it is written so well that any family tragedy experienced will be aided by what Carlen has so graciously shared.”
And another: “A must read for families struggling with Alzheimer’s.”
“Even though the book is spiritual…one does not need to be of the same mindset or religion to appreciate the strong sense of faith that was so important to the family’s journey,” says a fourth reader.
My book was released three weeks ago on Amazon. Since then, my time and emotions have been overwhelmed by the response our family has received. In this short period, the book’s launch has prompted hundreds of responses (at least 1,600 that I’m able to identify) from friends and strangers alike—in person, by email, by phone, and on Facebook and other social media.
At this writing, 44 persons have posted reviews on Amazon. The variety and depth of responses to our story is what I’d hoped for, but was unsure whether it could be achieved. As I’ve mentioned, Alzheimer’s is not the focus of our story—it’s the context. The focus of our story is the spiritual path that arose from a dark, impenetrable crisis.
In describing this spiritual journey, I write this in my book’s Prologue: “In telling our story, I must speak in Christian terms and images because that’s the faith and tradition I grew up with…In doing this I’m not denying another’s spiritual heritage. Our story is not about scoring theological points. It’s about trying to survive…”
That’s enough commentary from me. The rest of this post is from readers of A Path Revealed, their comments edited for clarity and brevity:
Reader 1: “Carlen Maddux has written a book about his family's struggle with Alzheimer’s. His wife, Martha, was diagnosed at 50 with early onset. During the 17 years they struggled, Maddux and his family found hope and peace in a path that took them from conventional religion into meditation and an inspiring journey through monasteries and communion with God that saved his family and helped them deal with the loss of a vital mother and wife who was suddenly enveloped in the horrors of a disease that has defeated many other families. It is a must read for any family in the midst of this dreadful disease.”
Reader 2: “The author is speaking to anyone who has had an unexpected medical diagnosis. You feel that Carlen is speaking to your heart through his own experiences. Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's and a year later my husband had a stroke. We have had a similar journey that included many of the emotions, frustrations, pains, and realizations. I started reading the book early afternoon and finished it after midnight after laughing, crying, and nodding my head in agreement.”
Reader 3: “Reading A Path Revealed was uncomfortable for me. I don't share the author's religious faith, or his ability to keep striving in the face of despair. Yet I was unable to stop reading. I am not in Maddux's situation, and I fervently hope never to find out what I would do. However, I feel that this book gave me some insights and mental tools that will serve me well if ever needed. It was a joy to read a book so well written and well edited, a treat all too rare today. The language is casual, but every word earns its keep. The dialog would be at home in the best of scripts. It's real and relatable.”
Reader 4: “A Path Revealed is both intimately personal and transcendently universal. Having faced personal and family crises, but not Alzheimer's, I found Carlen's frank descriptions of pain, fear, and grief to be authentic. He put words to feelings I'd had but could only express in a limited way. Likewise, the joys and setbacks of his spiritual journey were so well described that I felt we were sharing together in a local coffeehouse.”
Reader 5: “Carlen directs us to spiritual resources in a way that is real and raw. He writes as if he is sitting down to have a conversation with you, expecting you to question the sometimes strange paths he took along the way and then reminding you that we are all searching for answers that are not easily found, that we want hope and connection and healing, and sometimes that comes in mysterious ways.”
Reader 6: “I don't often find a book that pulls me to the next chapter, but this one does. Carlen's honestly told search for answers concerning his wife's early onset of Alzheimer’s led me to re-examine questions about the meaning of faith for myself. He wastes not a word is this tightly told recounting of a battle with death that led him (and I suspect most who read this book) to a whole new view and experience of life and God.”
Reader 7: “While highly personal, the author's experiences are important for anyone in a search for life's meaning. During this exploration the author uncovered deep-seated resentments and personal animosity which required facing head on. A favorite passage in the book for me was: ‘It took a long while before I understood this fundamental fact: God has given each of us the spiritual resources and framework to face a crisis that seeks to crush us. We are created with the capacity to discover these resources. And as we do, we must be willing to embrace them.’”
Reader 8: “All I can say is thank you for sharing all this; you have given me a LOT to think about. This is a rare and inspiring, and very approachable, book. The depth of your revelations is really impressive.”
Reader 9: “This is not an easy book to read, as one would expect considering the subject matter. In fact it's wrenchingly honest about dealing with the hard decisions and horror of alzheimer's. Carlen does a first rate job of describing this in vivid and personal detail. It also allowed him to find a path through all of this which is both heartening for him and will be helpful to all who are in the process of dealing with this tragic disease. This is one of the best resources you can find if alzheimer's or its kin intrude on your life.”
Reader 10: “A Path Revealed is a beautifully written journey of a family’s coming to grips with uncertainty, illness, and despair with hope, promise, faith, and love. The intensity of the family’s support and love for Martha is really at the heart of this page turner. Expect to laugh, cry, and feel tremendous warmth and love. And as an added bonus, the well crafted inclusion of the children’s perspective and handling of their mother’s Alzheimer’s affliction is truly an inspiration and a wonderful balance in understanding all that the family endured, conquered, and survived throughout Martha’s illness.”
To each of you who read my blog and my book, I thank you. I thank you for your ongoing participation in our family’s story. And I thank you for your willingness to share it with others.
P.S. If you want to buy A Path Revealed, click on my publisher’s page at Paraclete Press, or my profile page on Amazon. And if you’re up to writing a review on Amazon—which will help broaden the reach of my book—go to that same page. Thank you.
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