BOOK REVIEW Accidental Pilgrim from mammogram to miracle
Author: Erin O’Brien [email protected]
Book Reviewer: Patricia L. Brooks, author and publishing consultant
Erin O’Brien’s heartwarming, provocative and uplifting experience will capture your heart and challenge you to take a look at your own faith. You will be enticed to read on.
The Accidental Pilgrim is more than a story about a woman’s battle with breast cancer and coming back to her faith. It is a story of hope, and the willingness to sign on for the challenge of her life. Erin reminds us we are all going to die and to live in faith and God’s grace while we are alive.
When O’Brien hears the news she reacts as anyone would – this happens to other people. And despite a fierce fight against it and a stance on taking the lead in her cancer journey, she feels overwhelmed as things progress. She makes life changing decisions in a small amount of time while feeling helpless to do so when life begins to take on its own persona. She realizes how preoccupied she has been with a safe life and that she does not know an authentic connection with the space she inhabits.
O’Brien writes engagingly about the human spirit when faced with a life threatening illness. In this highly introspective tale she deeply examines the meaning and complexities of her faith alongside her battle with stage 4 cancer. Her mind is a playground and at times her take on things is amusing, and certainly refreshing.
She addresses hard questions such as how will my body changes change me? How will my spiritual life take me toward new life? How will I refresh myself with God to grow stronger?
O’Brien’s healing in the spirit proves to be a meaningful milestone as she begins the New Year after her endless dark days of treatment. She begins to recognize how we are like flashes of light until we learn to stop and tough the light.
This powerful book takes us from mammogram to miracle as the sub-title suggests. It is the story of a woman knocked down by cancer playfully and courageously getting up after chemotherapy, radiation and surgery to a spiritual transformation and open to a miracle.
O’Brien’s prose has a spare, clean elegance that is precise, but can, at times, leave the reader wanting more. Her love of life is infectious. She does not offer any explanations beyond her faith and personal convictions. She prods us along to accept death and life as part of our journey. You might be frustrated with her casualness, but don’t be; her heart is beautiful.
She shares the lessons she learned about life and herself. She’s open to possibility – both in battle with life threatening cancer and a return to her faith. She does not sanitize things for us by minimizing cancer or illuminating faith. She does not baby-proof anything and takes things head-on. I challenge you with this memoir.
Patricia L. Brooks, author, publishing consultant