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Book Review: All My Belongings

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This book has become another favorite. I read it in one night (about three hours total) because I knew the busy week ahead would hold little time for reading. I woke up exhausted the next day, but it was completely worth the lack of sleep. 🙂

Warning: There are spoilers, though I will not tell the ending…just for your information.

All My Belongings is the story of a woman trying to find home when home is a place she cannot wait to escape.

I resonated with this, even though our reasons for running were vastly different. I came to a point in my life where home was full of bitter regrets and stifling rules without the saving grace to buffer me. I did not know who I was apart from the four walls of what I imagined at the time to be my prison cell.

I know now that there is healing and grace and forgiveness in the relationships and bridges I tried so hard to burn. I found Christ for myself, though I knew Him all my life, in the great big world. I discovered my identity in the Savior and realized that running away would never fix the wounds I carried. So I found home again, in the arms of those I loved and with new-found perspective to see them for the children of God they really were.

This book is exactly that. And it’s a whole lot different too.

Because I never had a father who practiced the crime (or art depending on who you talk to) of mercy killings. In the stylings of Kavorkian himself, Jayne’s father helped (or forced) many people to take the final step into the afterlife–including her own mother. Even before she walked in on him administering the fatal dose (and reported him to the authorities) her parents had shut her out of their lives and their home. Oh she was still present physically, but she was unwanted and a necessary annoyance in their world of disease and devastation. She gave up everything–her hopes and dreams–to care for her ailing mother and it all fell down around her with her father’s devastating choices.

To escape the stigma attached to her name after her father’s trial and conviction, she changes her name to Becca Morrow and moves across country to take care of the sister of her dear friend and mentor.

Upon meeting the elderly woman and her handsome son, Becca realizes just how difficult it will be to keep up the facade her life has now become.

How does one continue a lie when one is desperate for truth and love? When one is desperate for a home to call her own?

Just as Becca is settling in to her new life and finding peace in the midst of a new normal, tragedy strikes again. She’s once more at the center of a murder investigation, only this time, she’s the chief suspect. The victim? The mother of the man she’s fast falling in love with, and he doesn’t even know the real Becca Morrow.

I love the redemptive power in this story. Not only is there reconciliation with her past, there is a genuine chance to start fresh in the beauty of an identity that is God-given. No longer is Becca homeless and destitute and unloved.

She is a daughter, a friend and beloved. The pain of the past is not erased. Her wounds have to be reopened for true healing to occur. But she finds home in the most unlikely of places and a chance for redemption in the loving arms of her Savior.

Cynthia Ruchti has the amazing ability to take such raw, emotional topics and weave them into a powerful story of forgiveness, healing, and the binding up of the captive’s wounds. She writes of tears and laughter and life and hope that glows in the dark. I find myself swept up in another tale that doesn’t have all the loose ends tied up in neat packaging with easy answers and quick fixes. It’s one of the reasons why her stories restored my faith in the Christian novel. Because life is not always neat and wrapped up pretty.

Life’s actually a lot like guacamole…you can’t get the good stuff without getting the mashed up bits.

And life’s really good with chips and a side of guacamole..

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