Author Mary-Ann Coetzee, a native of South Africa, endured more tragedy in her young life than most people do in a lifetime. Her mother tried unsuccessfully to abort her at three months — and told her about it when she was six. She was gang-raped at age three, though she didn’t reveal that for 25 years.
Her mother was an alcoholic, her father a member of Hell’s Angels. Despite being wealthy, her father forced his family to live in poor circumstances, and for nearly all of their lives, he remained emotionally detached from the author and her two brothers. At age 24, Coetzee was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic, incurable disease of the autoimmune system. She came close to death more than once, and yet this is her memoir of faith, hope, determination, forgiveness, and healing.
This book tells the story of Coetzee’s past, while also offering medical information about lupus: symptoms, different types of the disease, conventional treatments, and holistic ones. It’s an unorthodox combination, but the text is fluid and her personal experiences inform and illuminate the medical and healing portions of the book.
What pours from these pages is the author’s gentle honesty and deep Christian faith. Anyone suffering from lupus will be interested in Coetzee’s account of how she educated herself and mitigated her suffering using traditional medicine, meditation, and prayer. While focused on lupus, Coetzee’s healing methods would be useful for anyone suffering from disease or emotional trauma. There are a few typos here and there, but the writing is more than adequate to convey the author’s story.
Despite a difficult past, Coetzee drove herself to high achievement, becoming one of the first women to obtain the highest credentials in computer auditing in South Africa. She also overcame her deep fear of marriage.
Readers needing hope and a road map to wholeness may find it here.
Also available in hardcover.