Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Could it Be Forever?

My Story
by David Cassidy
Headline Publishing Group, 2007

No one who grew up in the 1970s can forget The Partridge Family or its hunky lead actor, David Cassidy. It's telling, though, that this book was published in the UK, where David's star often shone brighter than it did in North America.

When I heard that David was coming to Centre-in-the-Square this coming February, I thought it would be cool to go and see him. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so to speak. And when I saw that he'd written this book, I thought it might prove an interesting read.

And so it is. The book covers his life pretty much from birth to the present, and in my opinion his stated purpose of allowing the reader to discover the "real" David Cassidy is achieved. In addition to his own words, the book is interspersed with the words of his family and close friends, who provide the perspective of more objective observers.

If you want an inside look into the life of a superstar, one who, at his peak, was even bigger than Elvis or the Beatles, read this book. It is definitely an eye-opener.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Season

A Coach's Story of Raising an Exceptional Son
by Gene Stallings and Sally Cook
Little, Brown & Company, 1997

Gene Stallings always dreamed of having a son, a strapping boy who would grow up to play football, the sport he loved. On June 11, 1962 it appeared his dream had come true. That illusion was shattered within hours when he and his wife, Ruth Ann, learned that Johnny had Down syndrome. Later it was also found that he had a major heart defect.

This book describes how the Stallings dealt with these blows. Advised to institutionalize their son, they instead chose to love and embrace him, and to raise him at home. It was sometimes a challenge, but Johnny also contributed so much to their lives and, later, to the lives of others. A vital member of whatever football team Gene was coaching, Johnny helped everyone he came in contact with to develop their compassion muscles, while his parents raised public awareness of Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Johnny died this summer at the age of 46, and as I read this book, I was amazed at the positive influence he had and how many lives he touched. It made me wonder if I will touch half as many in my lifetime, and yet I would be the one to appear more richly blessed.

Lessons I Learned in the Dark

Steps to Walking by Faith, Not By Sight
by Jennifer Rothschild
Multnomah, 2002

Jennifer Rotschild sees spiritual things more clearly than most people. Perhaps that is because she is physically blind. It wasn't always so; her sight began to fade as a middle-school student and she was declared legally blind at the age of 15.

In Lessons I Learned in the Dark, Jennifer shares the story of what it was like to go from being a sighted person to someone dependent on others, on a cane, and on other sensory cues. She also draws parallels between coping with physical blindness and approaching life with faith. Some of the lessons are: take the first step; fall down - get up; and laugh at yourself.

Today Jennifer is a highly sought-after public speaker, musician and song-writer, as well as a wife and the mother of two boys. Her story is one of encouragement and inspiration and its message is for anyone.

She has written a companion book, Lessons I Learned in the Light: All You Need to Thrive in a Dark World and another entitled Fingerprints of God: Recognizing God's Touch on Your Life.