27 February, 2011

Mistaken Identity

Title: Mistaken Identity
Author: Don & Susie Van Ryn and Newell, Colleen & Whitney Cerak
Genre: Non Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: In April 2006, a van of college students and staff crashed on the way back from an event. 5 people were killed and one girl - Laura Van Ryn lay comatosed in hospital. Her family sat by her side while the other victims were buried, including Whitney Cerak. As Laura progressed, the Van Ryn's became her cheer squad, going with her to therapy and staying with her at all times. 5 weeks after the accident, the occupational therapist asked her to write her name. She wrote Whitney.

What I thought: This book came through the returns chute at work and I thought it looked interesting. What I didn't realise is how religious the book is. Both the Van Ryn's and the Cerak's have strong Christian beliefs which unsurprisingly form a large part of the book. I continued to read it only because it was the only book I had with me on a day that involved a lot of waiting for things to happen. I'm glad I kept going because the story is an amazing one. I cannot even imagine burying your daughter, only to find out later she was still alive, let alone thinking your daughter had survived only to find out she hadn't. It's unimaginable how it happened and my guess is guidelines have been tightened incredibly to stop it happening again. I think the authorities would feel incredibly lucky that it happened to two families who never even thought of seeking compensation, or attributing blame. I'm fairly sure that would not have been me! If you are not a religious person (and I'm not) you could struggle with the constant talk of God and Jesus, but really, in the end, this is what got these families through. While I don't share their beliefs, I do admire the strength of them and their conviction that all of this happened for a reason.

Recommended for: those who enjoy uplifting, Christian writing.

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