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In Marian Armstrong Rogers’ Astonishments: Stories as True as Memory, we read about the author’s life in a collection of stories, linked together with love. With memories spanning from 1945 to 2015, the author has given us the privilege of sharing her life story. Beautifully written, with moments that make you laugh, cry, shake your head in bewilderment and narrow your eyes in frustration, Astonishments is a tale of two loves, and two illnesses that beset the lovers.

The linked stories fit seamlessly together, even though they aren’t entirely chronological. The author, even after watching beloved family members suffer dreadful and even fatal illnesses, sees the beauty in the world, and is honest about the fact that she wasn’t always able to do so.

As she details the journey of marrying her childhood sweetheart, becoming a young mother, entering the workforce and seeking a college education, you begin to think Ms Armstrong is determined, but not particularly revolutionary- after all, this was the 1970s, when many women were doing just exactly that. In the midst of these milestones in her life, her husband becomes increasingly ill during a time when the world knew much less about mental illness, and still, she perseveres. An affair with an unlikely (and also married) man turns into another long lasting love, until he, too, becomes sick and eventually dies.

Living through the death of a marriage, the death of a husband, and the deaths of other loved ones and still having the courage to write about it is one thing. But detailing the life in between the deaths, and remembering the love, the joy, the intimate moments that make up a life and then managing to write about that as well with just as much emphasis and clarity is a true skill.

This book is truly enjoyable. It offers a glimpse into a long and well-lived life. It shows the unimaginable amount of compassion and depth of emotion that humans can have for each other while not being too serious, even when the subject matter is as serious as it gets- life.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 227 pages
Publisher Marian Armstrong Rogers
Publish Date 15-Jan-2016
ISBN Buy this Book
Issue April 2016
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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