Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Moonlight in the Desert of Left Behind: A Journey of Love, Terminal Illness, and Hope by Jan Baumgartner is a spellbinding memoir, an emotionally charged story of survival and hope that will touch readers in subtle ways. They sold their home in San Francisco and moved to the coast in Maine, seeking a quieter way of life. But less than four years after getting settled in their new home, Jan Baumgartner’s husband, John, was diagnosed with the terminal illness amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS. It was the prime of their marriage and they were a young couple, just starting out in life. The news was devastating for both of them, and the author knew she’d spend her life as a caregiver to the man she loved. This is a powerful story that depicts what it takes to “stand in love” and it comes with wonderful lessons for the reader.
Jan Baumgartner’s memoir is a book that speaks about courage, love, sacrifice, and the power of connecting to things and persons we love. In a beautifully written work, the reader follows the author as she seeks answers, embraces her tough and challenging reality, and reaches out to give love even when she feels broken. It’s wonderful to see how she grows in faith and love, believing in the love she has for her husband and allowing that love to nourish and transform her. The narrative voice is powerful and it rings through with honesty. As the reader follows the author in her travels to the wilds of Africa, in her attention to her dying husband, and in the pain that awakens her heart, they feel invited to embrace their own humanity with courage. Moonlight in the Desert of Left Behind: A Journey of Love, Terminal Illness, and Hope will make readers cry and laugh at the same time. Here is what it feels like to live with a person with a terminal disease and the joys of embracing the experience.