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Esther Maria Magnis – With or Without Me : A Memoir of Losing and Finding

Plough Publishing

Paperback

ISBN 978 1 6360 8 0260

Price £12.99

With or Without me is an honest account of death, bereavement and grief that communicates the searing pain of loss. This is an explosive exploration of what it means for a 17-year-old-daughter to lose her dad and then as a consequence have her faith in God shattered almost beyond repair.

The account of loss is written in the style of a plaster being ripped off an open wound. The reader is spared nothing as sorrow, hurt and anger pour out. I was reminded of CS Lewis’s comments about grief: “No one ever told me that grief would be like this.”

This story unpacks the pain of saying goodbye to a dad too soon. Tangled thoughts, desperate cries and penetrating questions fill this book.

“Sometimes I wondered whether my belief in God wasn’t big enough ... what kind of game was God playing with my faith, my trust? I’d done everything any 17-year-old could do to trust and believe in God! I had tried so hard.”

Seldom have I read a Christian book that possessed such raw energy and passion. Much of this story comes in an unfiltered form that lays bare what it means to love and lose.

This book has been beautifully produced; I particularly appreciated the use of different coloured text at various point in the book to underline certain moods.

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex. He is Director of Training at the School of Preachers in Riga, Latvia.

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