Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love
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Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love


On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.

In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.”

With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe. This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think.

Title:Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:240 pages

    Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love Reviews

  • Larry H
    Oct 30, 2014

    I remember in September 2011 when the Washington, DC area was hit by a quickly moving and unexpected set of rainstorms that left highways flooded, creeks running far over their banks, and trees felled...

  • Jennie Goutet
    May 17, 2014

    There are almost no words to describe how much this book moved me. If you have suffered grief and want to see how to reach the other side of the chasm, or if you have faith, and you want to see how it...

  • Alison Lee
    May 21, 2014

    A stunning, heartbreaking and heartwarming memoir of a mother's tragic loss of her son, and how she found light in an impossible nightmare. Anna writes with honesty, raw emotion and yes, even humour. ...

  • Poppy Marler
    Jun 11, 2014

    This book is difficult to review because I would have much rather read about repurposing old furniture and I'm not a DIYer. It also wasn't a quick read as I found myself lingering over the description...

  • Kir
    Aug 05, 2014

    Love and loss are forever entwined. Some say we can’t know great joy or gratitude until we've experienced heartbreaking loss and I’m inclined to believe them. You can’t know how much something m...

  • Liz Whiston-Dean
    Jul 03, 2014

    I have started this review three times already. My words are inadequate to describe the gift of this book. It is a window into real grief - not sugar-coated, not pretending to be ok. It is wrestling w...

  • Katie Sluiter
    May 10, 2014

    It's so hard for me to muster the words for how I felt reading Rare Bird. I was hesitant to pick it up since I have two young boys and I suffer from anxiety. I thought surely reading about Jack's acci...

  • Arnebya
    May 22, 2014

    Anna's words will leave you haunted, breathless, wanting to encircle her and her family in a cuccoon of safety. That's impossible, of course. If that could have been done, one would think the precauti...

  • Jennifer
    May 07, 2014

    This book is a gentle reminder of how fragile and fleeting life can be. It's also a treasure of hope and inspiration for those currently in the midst of a tremendous loss. I am comforted having read A...

  • Natalie
    Dec 31, 2014

    I don't think I've ever read a book that made my heart ache from cover to cover as much as this one did. I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a child in such a freak accident and I hope I ne...

About Anna Whiston-Donaldson

Anna Whiston-Donaldson

Anna Whiston-Donaldson is a former high school English teacher and bookstore manager from the Washington metro area. She began writing the blog An Inch of Gray in 2008 to share funny stories of life and motherhood. After the sudden death of her 12 year old son Jack in 2011, Anna chronicled her grief journey in real time for her readers in order to share what grief is really like and to find healin