In the same way that no one jumps into a swimming pool without at least sticking their little toe in the water to gauge its temperature, authors often “leak” copies of their finished manuscript to a group of select “advance readers,” who they trust to provide candid feedback – and then they hold their breath. If you were to ask, most authors would at least move their lips in an effort to convince you that they treat all the “reviews” they receive in return – good and bad – the same (i.e., that they don’t allow a truly critical one to knock them off their stride, let alone drive them into the fetal position, any more than they assign special significance to one that is particularly affirming). But, I know better. Two days ago, when I very much needed to be reminded as to why I’m doing all of this, I received the following e-mail from one of those “advance readers” and it left me speechless – and humbled:
Got it, saved it, opened it, read it!
WOW! What a story!
I’m overwhelmed by the poignancy of your prose. Your book is heart-breakingly tragic and emotionally powerful without ever being sentimental. It is a brilliant juxtaposition of hope and hopelessness, trust and doubt, faith and despair, fear and courage, and, ultimately: love.
I am awed both by your courage in writing this soul-baring work and your courageous journey of self-discovery as you struggled to help your daughter.
I cannot find the words to express how proud I am of you and how proud I am to be gifted with this incredible experience through your book. I will reread with a more critical and editorial eye in a few days. For now, I just want to soak in the emotional journey you have shared so bravely and eloquently.