Friday, April 10, 2015

"Your Heavenly Father isn't afraid of your questions, your doubts, or your frustrations."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

He Wanted the Moon by Mimi Baird

A mid-century doctor's raw, unvarnished account of his own descent into madness, and his daughter's attempt to piece his life back together and make sense of her own.
Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Dr. Perry Baird was a rising medical star in the late 1920s and 1930s. Early in his career, ahead of his time, he grew fascinated with identifying the biochemical root of manic depression, just as he began to suffer from it himself. By the time the results of his groundbreaking experiments were published, Dr. Baird had been institutionalized multiple times, his medical license revoked, and his wife and daughters estranged. He later received a lobotomy and died from a consequent seizure, his research incomplete, his achievements unrecognized. 

I requested this book from Blogging for Books to review because I was immediately fascinated by the subject. I've read a couple of other books dealing with the subject of manic depression disorder (now called bipolar disorder) such as An Unquiet Mind and Brain on Fire (both really great!). 

He Wanted the Moon is a daughter's quest to know and understand the father she never really got to know as a child. Dr. Perry Baird was a brilliant Harvard educated dermatologist who suffered from manic depression. After experiencing his first manic episode and being diagnosed he became interested in studying this disorder. He was convinced there had to be a biochemical root to manic depression. Trying to identify this biochemical root he started conducting an experiment but never got to finish it because of his disorder getting out of control. He was institutionalized multiple times and got to write about his experience with the brutality of psychiatric treatments for manic depression. His intention was to write a book about it, but never got the chance to do so.
Mimi Baird, Dr. Baird's daughter started on a journey to get to know her father, his life and illness after receiving all of his notes and manuscripts. She was determined to study it all and put it together piece by piece, this way continuing the work of his father and getting the recognition she felt he deserved for his medical discoveries.  

The book is divided in two main parts. The first part consists of Dr. Baird's notes and manuscripts put together with medical records and psychiatric evaluations to explain his physical and mental state before and while being institutionalized. This first part uncovers some horrific psychiatric treatments used to "treat" manic depression such as constant restraint, cold water packing, lobotomy. From Dr. Baird's notes, the reader can identify his manic state based on his hallucinations and paranoia that sometimes interferes with his normal thought process.

The second part consists of Mimi Baird's narrations. She begins by evoking her childhood and the limited perspective and information she had on her father's situation. When she grew older and came in contact with some of his father's manuscripts she started to research his live and get in contract with some of his father's friends. I really admired her willingness to go through this much work to get this book done. I really believe it wasn't easy. At one point she mentioned the fact that it was a therapeutic process for her, because she found a new identity, getting to know her father. She is determined not only to write this book but to get recognition for her father's scientific discoveries as well: 
"I couldn't help but hold up my father's research alongside Dr. Cade's. Like Cade, my father believed that some biochemical abnormality or deficiency  might be in part responsible for manic depression. While Cade's experiments led to one of the key scientific discoveries of our time, my father's research was forever halted by his illness. It is impossible to know how my father would have developed if he had been given more time, but I can't help but feel that he had come tantalizingly close."

It was an interesting read, I was intrigued by the story but horrified by the details of it; at the same time impressed by the determination to bring a great but tragic story to a beautiful end.  

Mimi Baird is a Bostonian, a graduate of Colby-Sawyer College. After working in the Dean's office at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she later moved to Woodstock, Vermont, where she worked as a manager at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. This is where she met a surgeon who had once known her father, a meeting that prompted her quest to finally understand her father's life and legacy. Mimi has two children and four grandchildren. This is her first book. 

*I have requested this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. The ideas and opinions expressed here are my own. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

For Such a Time as This by Angie Smith

"For Such a Time as This" illuminates the stories from the perspective of prominent women of the Bible, including Eve, Sarah & Hagar, Esther, Mary Magdalene, Gomer, and more with vivid and historical accuracy. Girls aged 6 to 10 will enjoy learning about God through the recounts of the Bible’s heroines and stunning illustrations. Summaries at the end of each story highlight the attribute of God to be learned and offer thoughtful reflections for both parent and child to takeaway. 

For Such a Time as This is Angie Smith's second children's book, a Bible storybook for girls that features 40 biblical retellings from prominent women in both the Old and New Testament. (Her first children's book is Audrey Bunny, review here). This one is a beautiful book, illustrated once again by Breezy Brookshire

The stories are really accessible to little girls. I think Angie did a great job! She uses simple words and sentences that I think are perfectly suitable for children. What I especially loved about these stores is the way she managed to intertwine the Old Testament stories with the New Testament stories. You really have a feeling of continuity. She focuses on women's character traits in each story, giving such a beautiful and comprehensible perspective on each of their lives, the context they were living in and their connection and encounter with Jesus.  I really love that she finds a way to link stories with each other.

The book starts with a Letter to Parents explaining how the book is supposed to be read and better explored. After each story we have the Bible reference where readers can find the original story. Then, each story ends with the He, Me, She section. 
  • The He section focuses on God and an aspect of His character (such as sovereignty, righteousness, holiness, majesty etc.) that was revealed in the story. 
  • The Me section focuses on the reader and explains how girls can incorporate the truth of each story into their lives. What new character traits (such as obedience, humility, prudence, mercy etc.)  they can pursue? This section gives practical examples for girls to focus on. 
  • The She section is written for parents and offers a Scripture based prayer they can pray over their daughters. 
  • At the very end of this page you will find a memory verse that relates to the story and a Hebrew or Greek word for parents and girls to learn together as a family. 
At the end of the book we have some extra goodies. First, there's A Peek Behind the Scenes where Angie Smith presents her vision for this children's bible study, explains how she got in touch with Breezy and the way they connected throughout this book. Then, there's From Concept to Illustration section written by Breezy Brookshire explaining with words and sketches the process of transforming sketches and thumbnails into those amazing illustrations. She also explains the importance of historical research when creating the thumbnails for the book: "Being historically accurate is important because all of the stories in God's Word really happened. I loved studying the different aspect of these people's lives, and God's work in their lives. I hope you do, too!"

I really enjoyed reading this book! It's perfect for girls aged 6 to 10. Parents will discover that this book can be a great resource for their girls to learn more about the women in the Bible and relate to their stories. 

Here's a video of Angie and Breezy explaining a bit about what this book is about: 

Angie Smith is the wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of Dove Award-winning group Selah) and author of Chasing God, I Will Carry You, What Women Fear, and Mended. She also has written two children’s books, For Such A Time As This and Audrey Bunny. Along with being an accomplished writer, Angie speaks to and encourages thousands of women each year. She lives with her husband and daughters in Nashville, TN.

Breezy Brookshire grew up in Indiana. Her skills as a young artist are mostly self-taught, drawing characters from her imagination as a young child. At the age of seventeen, Breezy opened an Etsy shop called The Breezy Tulip Studio where her artwork is sold and was first recognized by author Angie Smith. Breezy resides in Indiana to this day, sharing a home studio with her sister Emily Rose. Audrey Bunny was Breezy’s first illustrated work with B&H Kids, which reached no. 1 on Amazon’s Christian Children’s Book list in October 2013.

*I have requested this book from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The ideas and opinions expressed here are my own. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015