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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Room 312 is an inspirational Christian Living memoir written by Hope Encalade. From the time that she was very small, everyone around Hope knew that she was driven and full of enthusiasm -- though no one would have guessed that the imaginary friend she palled around with was actually God. Hope grew up to be an inspiration to her friends, family and community. She was actively engaged in non-profit organizations that helped people in need, particularly after Hurricane Katrina. Hope’s children would beg her to relax a bit and spend some time with the family, but there was just too much for her to do. The work ethic of her ancestors was so strong in her, and her cognizance of the need people had for help made it all too easy for her to forget about everything else but her work. After Katrina, however, she began to tire easily and had trouble keeping up with the rigorous routine she was used to. Even walking became a struggle which felt as though someone was holding her back. Still, she persisted in keeping the long hours of service until her body just gave out. She had trouble breathing, and her doctors soberly informed her that she had life-threatening conditions -- not one, but three. How she left her hospital bed where she was at death’s door was a testament to her belief in God’s purpose for her. She knew He had more in mind for her in this life, and her belief, prayers and hope were answered.
Hope Encalade’s inspirational Christian Living memoir, Room 312, is an invaluable cautionary tale for anyone who loves their work just a bit too much, or feels that their role in their job can only be fulfilled by them. I empathized with Hope as she pushed just a bit harder each day and tried to meet those deadlines, even as she felt increasingly exhausted, worn-out and ill. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in business and forget about taking care of your health, both physical and mental. It took God to get Hope to understand that, and reading about her enlightenment as she listens to God is illuminating indeed. Encalade’s story is beautifully told; she swiftly and easily gets the reader involved in her passion for helping others, and her descriptions of her growing health issues are shared with a wry acceptance of her responsibility for not listening to her body or her God. She shares her fear and disbelief at being in that hospital bed, as well as her conviction that God would have her walking out of that hospital three days later. Reading how she does just that is marvelous. Room 312 is highly recommended.