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Friday, March 29, 2013

Amazing Depth, Great Self-Awareness! Raving Review for Replacement Child by Judy Mandel

Book Cover - Replacement Child
Judy Mandel
Book Review - Replacement Child 
Review by Crystal Casavant-Otto
Book by Judy Mandel
Link to Amazon: click here

Book Review: Replacement Child   by Judy L. Mandel
By Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

Within the first few pages of Judy L. Mandel’s memoir, I scribbled the following notes in my journal:
·        Amazing depth, pulled me in right away!
·        Great self-awareness in seeking her own seeds of truth.
Whether you enjoy reading historical fiction, memoir, non-fiction, relationship, or self-help books, you’ll enjoy Replacement Child as Mandel guides you through the development of her family. The story unfolds like a play and Mandel herself admits “I was not a lead actor in this play”.

Replacement Child   jumps back and forth between Mandel’s current life and the tragic plane crash that happened years before she was born. This was a little hard to follow at first, but allows readers to understand how the past and the present are delicately woven together forming the reality of each character.  The events were depicted so honestly that I often found myself crying during the trials and cheering during the triumphs of many characters.

Replacement Child   may involve the plane crash that took the life of Mandel’s sister, but the story began much earlier than that. Mandel does a fantastic job digging into her parent’s courtship and the early years of their relationship to inspect their emotions and thoughts. She took the time to carefully examine and then develop each character without casting blame or judgment. The care and dedication to this work can only be described as a labor of love and a journey of self-discovery.

Mandel’s parents had a loving marriage, a modest home, two lovely daughters, and then tragedy strikes as an airplane crashed in their kitchen and her mother must choose which child to save first. Neither child was spared; one child perished and the other child was burned so badly she nearly died. Mandel’s parents hadn’t been able to salvage much of their home, and they were willing to do anything to salvage what they could of their relationship. This is where Mandel comes in, during Act II as she calls it, as the replacement child.

I love the honesty Mandel shows when she admits that telling the story of an entire family is really a high wire act. I’m a big fan of this book and appreciate the care Mandel took with collecting historical information to ensure as much accuracy as possible. Judy L. Mandel has done a great job with her memoir, Replacement Child   and I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others. As a mother, I would also recommend having a box of tissues handy.

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