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My Brother’s Shadow

A friend of mine has recently published a book that has been three years in the making. It was written after the tragic passing of her younger brother 5 years ago. She has asked me to review it for a newspaper, which I have done, and which is below. For those interested in purchasing it, details are after the review. 

Very few of us live a life that does not, at its darkest hour, question the God we claim to believe in. Few of us can reconcile the disconnect we sometimes find between what has been preached from the pulpits, and the tumultuous, gritty reality we find ourselves wading through. Even fewer of us again are able to put that journey to words in order to rediscover faith when it has been shattered by the world around us.

Hayley Reynolds’ book ‘My Brother’s Shadows’ is an exploration into exactly this. She tells the story of her younger brother Wayne whose story begins simply, but takes an unexpected turn when he is 16 years old. From increasing fatigue, to regular nosebleeds and wounds that would not heal, the warning signs culminated into a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. With a potential cure rate of 85-90%, and faith in a loving, healing God, there was plenty of hope; hope that was confirmed by a faith healer who proclaimed ‘complete remission’. Hope that came crashing down as the reality of leukaemia began to make its mark on a God-fearing family.

I know Hayley personally and witnessed this journey, yet this book remains poignant to read. It offers a unique insight into the thoughts, the hopes, and the despair when a loved one in a community of faith is diagnosed with such an illness. Hayley takes the reader on a journey of hope and a journey of faith shattered. She then begins the process of rebuilding what she thought she knew, to the new reality she now finds herself in, one that tries to deal with knowing her brother died from a very curable illness.

My Brother’s Shadows is subtitled: ‘a journey of faith in the midst of tragedy’, as it takes the reader through the innocence of youth, the starkness of reality, and the hope for something more. This story doesn’t end happily-ever after as it should. It takes a turn towards grief, mourning, and disappointment in God as Wayne loses his battle with leukaemia. Hayley poetically journeys through the 18 months of turmoil she and her family endured. She celebrates the highs, and is brought to her knees in tears during the lows, in what can only be described as brutal honesty. It is honesty that sets this book apart from others, It is honesty that will make you weep.

Many books have been written to try and find the ‘meaning’ in suffering, few actually take the reader on such a raw journey. I would recommend this book for anyone struggling with what life has thrown at them. It captures the essence of faith in the midst of tragedy, and is a reminder to us all what a loving God and a loving community of faith looks like when life shatters around us.

Books cost $20 each + $5 post & packaging

To order email: office@waynereynoldstrust.co.nz or phone: 09 480 7573

For more information, see: www.waynereynoldstrust.co.nz

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