In this short book inspired from the author’s personal journals, author Carol Hughes chronicles her life after her husband is decapitated in a car accident outside Fairbanks, Alaska. Left on her own to raise five children at the tender age of 29, she enters into a marriage of convenience that gives her children a roof over their heads and warm food to eat. Soon thereafter, Carol experiences a born-again moment and finds a faith she never realized she had. This grace guides her and supports her during the most tumultuous of times: a fire that ravages her home, alcohol addiction, cancer, and even an attempt on her life by a complete stranger.
This may all sound a bit melodramatic, but Hughes writes with a detachment that makes for compelling reading. There is no maudlin sentiment here, and sometimes her deadpan prose reads like a cross between Jack Kerouac and Mary Karr. Hughes’ great ear for storytelling, however, leaves you wishing the book were longer and more detailed, and there are some rough patches in the narrative where her writing is less than precise. The book needs heavy copyediting.
Yet all of this is completely forgivable. One of the last stories Hughes tells us is about a stroke she suffered and about how this book was written using voice recognition software. This just goes to underscore the fact that tenacity and a hearty faith can be very inspiring indeed.