First, our book reviews tend to meet with resounding silence, so I’m posing questions at the beginning for you to think about as you read.
How has living (or visiting) in different places changed your view of the world?
As emissaries of Christ, do we have a responsibility to understand other cultures?
Where would you choose to live– for a few years or forever– if given a chance?
How can those of us who are planted in one city gain a world view?
Also, if you have any questions for Melissa, she’ll be checking the comments.
This is NOT an unbiased review.
Contributing to Segullah since 2007, Melissa Dalton-Bradford is one of our OWN. In fact the acknowledgments read, “…Segullah aided in the development of my voice and the telling of this story.” If you search her name on our blog or literary site you’ll find her gorgeous poems, essays and musings. And personally, I love and adore Melissa Dalton-Bradford around the globe and back.
Still, I’m offering no personal prejudice when I say– Melissa can write.
I know a lot of writers. I’m a fair writer myself. But I know only a few who have been touched by the finger of God and gifted with flowing, poetic, gorgeous words. When Melissa sends a text or an email her words sing. You can imagine the beauty of her book.
As the memoir made it’s way around my family, we read passages out loud to each other, discussed aspects of Scandinavian/French/German/Singaporean/Swiss culture, laughed at Melissa’s self deprecating wit, and we cried. Everyone cried. I sat between two of my sons–each with Global Mom in hand– on an airplane this summer and watched as they both wiped their eyes. One morning my youngest son whispered to me, “I think Dad’s reading about Parker.” as my husband sat on the couch surrounded by Kleenexes.
Nothing on the cover or in the marketing, presentiments the death of Melissa’s oldest son Parker two-thirds of the way through the book. But I will. And as a Segullah reader, you likely know something of her story. Far from a deterrent, I believe Melissa’s journey to hell and back, inspires every reader. To bury a child represents every parent’s darkest nightmare– I would much rather learn from Melissa’s hard earned wisdom, than walk that thorny path on my own.
Melissa speaks beautifully, and profoundly, about keeping our loved ones with us. Remembering birthdays, speaking their name, telling their stories. At the Bradford’s home, every morning and evening prayer mentions each child by name– Parker, Claire (on a mission in Italy), Dalton and Luke– wherever they may be.
On a less profound level of learning from other’s experiences– Global Mom gave me a taste of nomadic life. I’ll admit, I’ve always coveted international moves. Planted in one city my entire life, I longed to travel the world, raise my children in foreign cultures, switch effortlessly from English to French to German. Reading Melissa’s experiences, I discovered the nomadic life contains both more excitement and more hardships than I’d imagined. Ultimately, the book left me still intrigued with global living but grateful for my own, less exciting journey. I can plant fruit trees and enjoy the harvest.
One last thought… the Bradford family motto (translated from my rusty German):
We build here so firmly.
And yet we are but guests and strangers
And where we should build eternally
We build too little.