Life is Beautiful by Sarah M. Johnson
Sarah M. Johnson shares a story of great personal tragedy and personal triumph in her spiritual memoir, Life is Beautiful: How a Lost Girl Became a True, Confident Child of God. It is a powerful and gripping story from the beginning. Yet, after reading the first chapter focused on the plane crash that took the lives of Sarah’s father and brother, the realization comes that the crash really isn’t the beginning of the story. Sarah flips back and forth, especially in the first half of Life is Beautiful, from reflections and descriptions of the plane crash, the deaths and the survivors, to life prior to her family’s trip to Guatemala. Her father had not often been present during the early years of her life. Yet, getting arrested for drugs and then bringing Sarah’s aunt home to die led to his transformation. He no longer wanted to take from others, but instead wanted to give back. This is why Sarah and her family flew to Guatemala. As the story jumps back and forth, you also come to realize that heavy drinking was a part of Sarah’s family culture. It is no surprise that she, too, tried to escape her issues through drinking. Between alcoholism, the tragic loss of her family, and the failure of her first year of college, she comes to realize she has tremendous work to do on herself. Throughout Life is Beautiful, she explores her connection or lack thereof to God. Eventually, she steps fully into her faith and finds herself walking life’s path with God at her side.
Life is Beautiful is very well-written even if the flipping back and forth between time frames is a bit perplexing at first. Sarah M. Johnson has an inspirational story to share with the world, and she has done an eloquent job of doing so. By sharing her story in such an open and honest way, Sarah shows readers they are not alone. She finds that there are others who are willing to be there and help her. Just as Sarah found guidance and help, she inspires others to do the same. Sarah M. Johnson truly expresses the concept that life can be beautiful no matter what has happened in our past.
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