Follow-up - I originally published this review on April 11. It would have been Jim's 61st birthday. Regina Brett's God Never Blinks is the only nonfiction book to make my list of favorites. It hit home when I read it. It made the July list, and it remains the book that meant a great deal to me following Jim's death. It's a book that would fit so many transitions in life. I've never met the author, but I can't thank her enough for this important book.
But, I wanted to tell you about one I discovered that was so special that I used some of the money to buy copies for every library in our system, in Jim's memory. It's a book that helped me get through the last two months. I read a few essays, then put it down. But, it means so much to me. Regina Brett's God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours was the book I needed. And, Tuesday is release date for the book.
Before I tell you about the book, let me tell you about Regina Brett. Brett was born in Ravenna, Ohio in 1956. Ravenna is in Portage County, neighboring Mahoning County, where I was born in 1957. Regina Brett and I were at Kent State Unviversity at the same time. I never knew her, and she quit school when she became pregnant, but it seems so odd that someone with that similar beginning has written a book that means so much to me.
When I turned fifty, Jim threw a surprise party I will never forget, bringing in my family without tellng me, and secretly working with my staff. When Regina Brett turned fifty, she wrote a newspaper column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer about fifty lessons life had taught her. Her lessons came from her life as a single parent, working on her problems with her relationship with God, battling cancer, and her difficult childhood as one of eleven children. The column went viral, appearing in church bulletins, newsletters, and small-town newspapers. That popular column became the book, God Never Blinks, with Brett's soul-searching essays.
If you haven't read the book, Brett's lessons sound like platitudes. There are titles such as, "Life isn't fair, but it's still good." That one hit my heart. How about "Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does." There's the lesson, "All that truly matters in the end is that you loved." And, perhaps, Brett's most important message is, "No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up for life." These stories are honest, and heartfelt. They touched me, moved me, and made me cry at times. I haven't argued with God about Jim's death. I didn't need Harold Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
I needed the lessons of Regina Brett's God Never Blinks. For Jim's birthday, I wanted to share this book with you. And, it may be an important book to share with others who are going through hard times. Life goes on. It was my mother who said, "Life will be different. It will never be the same. It can be just as good, but it will be different." These are two wise women from Ohio, my mother, and Regina Brett, with lessons to help people keep on living.
Regina Brett's website is http://www.reginabrett.com/
God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours by Regina Brett. Grand Central Publishing, ©2010. ISBN 9780446556521 (hardcover), 241p.
FTC Full Disclosure - My review copy was an ARC I picked up at our Main Library, where it had been sent for librarians to preview.