by Sarah Thebarge
I am always drawn to books that are honest — honest about failure, honest about doubts, and honest about what a raw encounter with our own human limitations and God’s lack of them can do to change a direction.
When my new publisher friend Wendy gave me this book, I thought I’d read it so that I could respond intelligently about her new publication. Oh, but I had no idea who the “invisible girls” were or how this teeter-totter memoir would place me standing in the middle, watching the rise and fall of two interwoven stories.
First, I was intrigued by this back-and-forth format of the book. Then I was gradually beguiled into caring about the real people on both ends of the seesaw. One was a young woman in her 20s away from home and faith, working to finish her Ivy League degrees in medical science and journalism, who is diagnosed at 26 with aggressive cancer. The other is a Somali woman with six little girls whom the young journalist meets on public transportation. Both the author and the Somali family are changed by the encounter, and all over the “chance” relationship that develops are the fingerprints of a God who is wooing them all with His grace. This is a very real and gritty read — and the language can be raw at times. But the story is definitely worth hearing despite words or events some may find offensive. Sarah Thebarge is an author to watch. Her writing for Christianity Today earned first prize from the Evangelical Press Association in 2012, and this personal memoir begins to broaden her emerging style and unique voice.