Death Defied, Life Defined

A Miracle Man’s Memoir

Non-Fiction - Memoir
224 Pages
Reviewed on 05/03/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Death Defied, Life Defined, coauthored by Paul E. Perkins and Anita Agers Brooks, is a testimonial of life, death, and life again. Not knowing how much time he had left, Paul wanted his miraculous story written. Inspired by their similar transplant stories, Anita agreed to help Paul pen his story. Paul Perkins faced death many times, and he actually died twice, both medically documented. His experience of enduring years of agonizing and debilitating sickness, followed by becoming a double transplant recipient changed his life. Paul learned how fragile life really is; it doesn’t always turn out like we plan either. Through his sickness and pain, through death and life, Paul discovered that his life had a greater purpose than he ever imagined.

Death Defied, Life Defined not only causes you to think, but to feel. The authors approach life and death in a practical and yet spiritual manner. Death is a part of living, but “death is not the end.” The narrative is emotional and real, it shares intimate details of thoughts and experiences. It is not a selfishly told story, quite the contrary; Paul includes the perspectives of his family, his doctors, and his donor’s family. Creating an astounding narrative hook, the memoir begins with his death experience. Caught up in his story, each chapter tugs at your heart and soul and refuses to let you go. Paul Perkins’s story is incredible and inspirational. It is one of pain, suffering and survival. Through pain he discovers purpose. Through suffering he realizes the resilient, unwavering power of love. Through death he discovers life. Death Defied, Life Defined is remarkable; it is a story that needs to be shared, for written upon its pages is a divine message of hope.

Patricia Day

Death Defied, Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir by Paul E. Perkins is the compelling story of Paul’s battle against heart failure. While waiting for a transplant, he shares the trials and tribulations of the accompanying health and emotional issues involved. What becomes paramount, when the waiting becomes too much, is the sheer determination to not give up. Through surgery after surgery, relapse after relapse, he outlines the struggles he valiantly chose not to succumb to. His weary body came close to giving up the fight until the moments when he died. His out-of-body experiences are described in riveting detail, to the point of making the reader envious of the ‘journeys’ he travelled. They give credence to other reports of heavenly visits, and of messages of hope that the recipients are charged with sharing on their return to the earthly realm. He gives dramatic details of medical teams, family and friends' support, all so vital in providing him with the will to continue the painful, harrowing months of waiting for much-needed organ transplants that became his only option to defeat death.

There is much in-depth detail in this story. Paul gives greater power to his death experiences with the infinitely elaborate accounts of events leading up to each occurrence. His obvious respect for the medical teams on whose care his very life depended is obvious. A book that cannot be ignored. A story to make you think beyond your own limitations. A tale of hope and love, and the deep will to live. I found it fascinating, captivating, and exhausting, as I took on the weariness of his fight to survive. His overwhelming determination to overcome provided me with much food for thought, and the out-of-body episodes were enthralling – I could understand his yearning to just let go. His tremendous fighting spirit left me battle-weary, but hopeful of better things to come, proven as being credible once again.

Gracie Bradford

Death Defied, Life Defined – A Miracle Man’s Memoir is written by Paul E. Perkins with Anita Agers Brooks, with intense and powerful renditions of the lasting influence and impact of simple family moments on the ability to connect mind, body, and spirit when at the lowest moment of a life changing event. Paul tells his story of going through not one but two transplants of the primary body organs, spending 61 days of hell in a hospital. Who dies twice and is resuscitated to live again? Read Paul’s gripping story of his journey. I was especially touched by how the author emphasized the role of good humor in the healing process. Pet puppies play a role in motivating a sick patient to want to get out of bed – an honest admission from a strong person. The most substantial and compelling reason to read the book is the chapter on taking away lessons seen by the doctors that treated this patient who defied all odds. A profound question that makes one think is, “What does it feel like to die?” Read on to find the answer - you won’t believe it!

The writer captured many aspects of death and dying that you don’t usually find in the typical book about survival. The literary work is excellent, bridging scenes and emphasizing human weakness. A profound and deep statement: “Only God could guide the hands of the doctor and give them wisdom.” I found this statement to be a powerful tribute to healthcare, co-mingling religion and medicine in the healing process. There is an interesting dialogue on the surprise waiting on “the other side.” The authors told a strong story of suffering, denial, determination, and strength. I especially liked the interview with the doctors. Most people are under the impression that doctors are superior beings. This book brought out the human aspect which is much needed in a hospital setting. The authors also gave the reader the parents' aspect of grieving through an organ donor, especially so young. The book is informational with a religious base.