Two Highly Recommended Reads

Two books I read recently were “Finding My Father’s Faith” by Wynne Leon and “Surviving Sue” by Dr. Vicki Atkinson.

You may know Vicki and Wynne from The Heart of the Matter blog. They both have personal blogs: Victoria Ponders and Wynne’s Surprised by Joy.

Both books are autobiographies which include memories of their childhood through adulthood with one of their parents in the starring role. The books are well-written, compelling and I gained so much insight into these two women.

Wynne’s book is a much happier story than Vicki’s. Wynne’s strength and independence shines through and she doesn’t shy away from taking charge of her life. From running a high tech business, climbing mountains around the world and raising her children, I gained a huge amount of respect for Wynne.

Also, I got to know her father through his stories of ministry and living in India. I was impressed that throughout his journeys, he learned about other people’s lives and religions and wasn’t there to tell others how or what they should believe.

Another thing I found interesting was my parents met at the University Presbyterian Church and at Calvin Club, just like Wynne’s parents. It might have been around the same time. They might have met! Also, I attended her father’s church as a child visiting friends who were part of the congregation.

As for “Surviving Sue,” I began to read the book with trepidation, having grown up with parents with similar issues — mental illness and alcoholism. I wasn’t sure I would be able to read it, but then with Sue’s (Vicki’s mom) unbelievable behavior striking out at Vicki, blaming her for all her own self-inflicted problems and isolating Vicki from family members, a light went off in my head. I realized my parents loved us. My parents were never mean to us.

Vicki’s story has kind supporting characters including her father, husband, daughter and a sister who is mentally disabled. Vicki’s love and kindness is visible throughout.

Through Vicki’s tale and Wynn’s, I realized they both are women of strong character, grit and in command of their lives. Neither one would ever play the role of victim.

What books can you highly recommend? What are your reading now?

I was honored to be invited on a podcast with Vicki and Wynne at The Heart of the Matter. Here’s LINK.

44 thoughts on “Two Highly Recommended Reads

  1. Elizabeth – thank you so much for reading and for your kind comments about “Surviving Sue” (and “Finding My Father’s Faith”). Honored and humbled by your praise and endorsements and I’m grateful to you for reading even though your heart was unsure at first. Thank you for seeing the goodness and light, despite the weight of Sue’s story and behavior. Big hugs! 🥰

  2. Wow, Elizabeth! I am so incredibly honored to read this. Thank you! I love that connection between your parents and my parents. My mom just went to the funeral of Earl Palmer who I think was the youth pastor at UPC at the time you mention.

    I’m trying to put into words what it feels to be seen by you through my words. That you saw that my dad wasn’t a person that judged anyone’s behavior means so much to me.

    And then the insights into Vicki’s book – her love and kindness does shine through, doesn’t it? And that it led to insights about your family – wow, that is beautiful.

    I think it takes someone very special to read and reflect on books in this deep fashion. Thank you, Elizabeth, for being that dear person and for this beautiful post. <3

  3. Ugh. If you EVER catch me reading non-fiction (especially biographies), you will need to look around for the other Three Horseman of the Apocalypse, because the rapture is underway.

  4. What a great review EA. I just finished Wynne’s wonderful book and just started Vicki’s. Neat to see them this way. Like you, I worried about reading both actually. I thought it might be too challenging to read . . . my relationship with my dad wasn’t always the best. I feared it would bring up some bad memories, but I’ve learned like you that my dad really did love me, he just didn’t always know how to express it. Anyway, love the reviews!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. That is so sweet of you to add reviews for new authors. We do appreciate it. Although this is not my style of book, I can appreciate your generosity with wordsmiths. Most writers have thick skins if they are published. The best you can do for a writer is not attack them but be fair as each person has different value and brings a different perspective to reading a book. Although I might not read these books, I appreciate your candor.

    • You get thick skin by weathering criticism, both good and bad. Todays youth do not accept negative criticism (think participation trophies) and spend their whole lives running from it, hence the demand for “space safe”. Criticism is one of those things that make The Earth Spin.

      • As a teacher, I have gotten into trouble for my honesty even with adults age 45 and been send to the Principal to monitor my pc.

      • That’s terrible! I read an article this week about a college student who got a zero on a paper for using the term “biological woman.” It was a paper about transgenders competing in women’s sports! The student fought back and I think the professor is on suspension.

      • Wow, I have read papers that were totally different from my political views, downright mean at times, and derogatory and graded them entirely on content objectively. I would tell my husband and he would say ‘you are a better person than I.’ I grade for grammar.

      • I am very objective and fair. However in the public school district, I have been counselled about some weird things, including telling a cafeteria lady how to heat up my dish for pot luck. Yet, these are the same places teachers leave for a different admin. Sometimes, in this case, the other Admin leaves. It is happening to others. Yes, moving on.

  6. I love both those ladies and have their books in my TBR pile at the lake! Now I’m even more excited to dive into their stories! Wonderful reviews Elizabeth! Hugs, C

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