Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Under a Desert Sky by Lynne Hartke

Cancer redefined life for Hartke. It started with her own diagnosis of breast cancer. Then her dad and soon after her mom were diagnosed with cancer – both incurable. Cancer redefined her concepts of strength and courage. It made her reevaluate her understanding of beauty and what it means to belong.

This is a well written and captivating memoir of struggling with unanswered questions, of being in hard places, of having more than she could handle. Hartke crafts a great parallel between her experiences and being in the desert.

Hartke draws great spiritual lessons from her experiences. I really like her analogy of the desert. It contains a beauty that can be discovered only through difficulty. There are lessons from God that can be learned only in the desert.

I also like her insight and honesty. She notes that people will sometimes say that God will not give you more than you can handle. “It's blatantly untrue,” she writes, “because if I never had more than I could handle, when would I ever need God?” (Loc. 1043/3717)

I highly recommend this book to those interested in an honest and insightful memoir of facing cancer. It would be of particular interest to hikers as Hartke shares many hiking stories. The book would be an encouragement to anyone waylaid by cancer. There are questions for discussion and personal reflection included. Hartke has also added a list of Scriptures for desert sojourners, arranged by need.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Lynne Hartke is a breast cancer survivor who celebrates the difficult and the beautiful with her husband in Chandler, Arizona where they have pastored a church for over thirty years. When not out on the desert trails avoiding rattlesnakes, she is blogging, speaking and volunteering with several cancer organizations, and keeping up with their four grown children and three grandchildren. Hartke is currently training to hike from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the North Rim (a distance of 23 miles) in one day – because cancer has taught her to grab onto life with both hands.

Revell, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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