Mysterious Ways

Discovering the Miracles of Life as I Fight for My Own

Non-Fiction - Memoir
234 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2022
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Author Biography

I wrote this memoir, in a larger sense, to inspire readers to move toward a feeling of hopefulness. Whether someone is dealing with a life-threatening medical challenge, as was my case with end-stage renal failure, or any other physical, emotional, or spiritual challenge, the shift to hopefulness is needed.

I taught English as a Second Language at a New York City public school and later produced professional stand-up comedy shows. After the birth of my daughter Lizzie on 01-01-01, I was inspired to merge my educational experience with a desire to bring together and inspire audiences by founding A Vision in Motion Speakers Bureau. I assisted many presenters over the years in sharing their unique stories at schools, colleges, conferences, and companies nationwide, but always felt that one day I would share my own story. A grateful kidney transplant recipient, I currently encourage others in need of a life-saving transplant and am an ambassador for The Gift of Life.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Mysterious Ways: Discovering the Miracles of Life as I Fight for My Own is a work of non-fiction in the memoir and inspirational subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Jay Gittleson about his own incredible life experiences and miraculous occurrences. In this heart-warming life story, we learn of the extreme traumas that haunted this author’s youth, and how he overcame those to live a successful and happy life both at work and at home. But when tragedy strikes again and Jay is critically ill, his belief in faith and the kindness of the people he meets on life’s journey come back to aid him just when he needs them most.

I love inspirational stories about human nature, love, and kindness, and this book really lifted my spirits at a time when they sorely needed lifting. Author Jay Gittleson has such a warm way with words that it feels like a dear friend is telling you to continue to have faith, and that everything works out in the mysterious ways that the title proclaims. The Reconnection Tour is such a superb concept for reconciling one’s past and discovering yet more positivity in our lives, and this is just one of several incredible attitudes and concepts that Jay upholds throughout the tale no matter what life throws at him. As such, I would not hesitate to recommend Mysterious Ways to any reader seeking hope and guidance in their lives, and for anyone who enjoys warm-hearted, friendly narration, excellent storytelling, and messages of faith and love.

Edith Wairimu

Mysterious Ways: Discovering the Miracles of Life as I Fight for My Own is a heartfelt collection of inspiring experiences from Jay Gittleson’s life. In the memoir, he shares devastating details of his traumatic childhood. Despite the setbacks he faced early in life, he managed to attend college, establish a career, and start a family. He includes touching moments spent with his daughter and with people he has met along the way including a homeless man and a famous athlete. In 2015, he was facing renal failure and desperately needed a kidney transplant. He details his medical journey prior to his remarkable transplant and the supportive community that made this miracle possible. The memoir is also filled with many inspiring moments of his outreach activities.

Jay Gittleson writes with humility and vulnerability and includes many poignant experiences that will resonate with readers. The memoir is captivating and captures his fascinating experiences with people from different backgrounds. I found his medical journey hopeful and encouraging especially for anyone suffering from a life-threatening illness. His professional and personal achievements despite his challenging background are also uplifting. In his powerful work, Mysterious Ways: Discovering the Miracles of Life as I Fight for My Own, Gittleson candidly describes his battles with anxiety, depression, trauma, and isolation. His memoir includes many impactful life lessons about hope and winning despite the odds. Readers will find inspiration from Gittleson’s kindness and his efforts to help others and they will find his life story absorbing.

Nino Lobiladze

Mysterious Ways: Discovering the Miracles of Life as I Fight for My Own is an emotional and captivating memoir by Jay Gittleson. At the age of forty-seven, he experienced kidney failure. A transplant could save Jay's life, but he was obliged to undergo dialysis as he was waiting for a donor due to some weight complications. Nevertheless, the waiting was not in vain. Jay moved his family to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where they began attending an evangelical Christian church, despite Jay being a Jew and his wife Ellen a Catholic. They enjoyed tremendous support from the local community. Jay reminisced about the many remarkable people he encountered during his impressive career as a teacher, stand-up comedian, producer, and founder of a motivational speakers bureau. Jay opens up about his difficult teenage years and his strained relationship with his parents.

I liked the fact that the narrative is not linear. Jay Gittleson relates the story of his life detail by detail, adding new shades and faces one by one. This serious writing style makes the book more profound from a psychological point of view. I enjoyed the way that Mysterious Ways let us delve into the atmosphere of New York City before it was struck by the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Jay Gittleson speaks about his friendship with famous athletes, like Doc Gooden, or singer-songwriters, like Trey Lorenz. For me, the most striking are chapters about Robinson, a homeless person from a New York metro station, or Bill, a gambler and a poet. I enjoyed the story of Jay meeting his wife-to-be Ellen for the first time and was overwhelmed with emotion reading about his younger years and complicated family relationships. This book is not an ordinary memoir. It is a story of fighting a good fight that will provide hope and inspiration. I recommend this book to those who love memoirs, the family drama genre, going through hard times, and believing in miracles.