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Books Distilled » Contemporary Literature » Book Review: Kindle Single I Was a Stranger to Beauty, by Caroline McGraw

Book Review: Kindle Single I Was a Stranger to Beauty, by Caroline McGraw

i was a stranger to beauty



On Monday my dear friend Caroline McGraw of A Wish Come Clear published a Kindle Single, I Was a Stranger to Beauty.

I encourage–suggest–politely demand–that you click over and buy this book for $1.99 immediately–not because she’s my best friend, but because her story will break your heart in the best possible way, break it open in order to let light in.

If you don’t own a Kindle, you can download a Kindle Cloud reader for free.



On to business.  Caroline tells the story of her road, which is rocky at the best of times, toward loving and accepting her younger brother Willie, who is on the autism spectrum and who struggles with violent outbursts.  She describes her childhood, first loving her sweet brother, then seeing him overtaken by a rage that seems to subsume his very self, seemingly without cause or provocation.  She vividly describes her fear and then, slowly, her journey into understanding that she cannot change her brother; but she can choose to love him.

Caroline also describes her journey into living and working at L’Arche, a faith-based non-profit organization that creates homes where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together.  The differently abled friends she meets there allow her a different window into loving her brother and people like him.

She writes,

The mission of L’Arche is to announce the gifts of people with disabilities in a world obsessed with ability. To proclaim the importance of inclusion, both for people with special needs and for those of us who are considered normal. To say that, if we as a society aren’t welcoming people with special needs, we are missing out on some of the best that this life has to offer.  … I can’t help but think that if you had a chance to know these people as I do, you’d find yourself at the threshold of a new space–a space of simplicity, small wonders, and overarching peace.

She asks hard questions:  how can I continue to love someone who can be a danger to himself, to me, and to those I love most?  How can I go on when I have no idea when this might change?  Could I welcome a child with special needs, knowing just how much care they need?  And even when she cannot yet find the answer, the spirit of her movement towards those answers is always yes.  Yes to life.  Yes to love.  Yes to this crazy journey, no matter how hard and long it seems at times.

Caroline’s story does what all stories do best:  it teaches us how to become more human.

Five percent of the first month’s sales of the book go to L’Arche.  Buy here today.

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3 Responses to "Book Review: Kindle Single I Was a Stranger to Beauty, by Caroline McGraw"

  1. Hi my dear, am just seeing this now – thank you so much for the review! <3

  2. [...] Book review, I Was a Stranger to Beauty, from Brooke Law at BooksDistilled [...]

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