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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Shining Through: From Grief to Gratitude is a non-fiction memoir written by Soraya Saraswati. Saraswati's middle child attempted suicide just a few days short of his eighteenth birthday. Prem was a special child, sensitive, caring and quirky, but he was seriously affected by the trauma of the early death of his father and the latter rejections of Mitch, his stepfather, and the other male role models in his life. When he finally reached out for help, Saraswati went with Prem to a doctor who arranged for him to be hospitalized until he could get into a rehabilitation center. Prem and his mom both felt he was doing the right thing, but she was immediately alarmed by the relatively remote location of his room and the removal of a watcher for Prem, who had attempted suicide previously. Then, the hospital doctor prescribed an antidepressant which was contraindicated for young adults, especially those with suicidal ideation. But Prem reassured her that he'd see her the next day, and, dismissing her alarm, Saraswati left. He attempted suicide that night and was in a comatose state and on life-support when she saw her son again.
Soraya Saraswati's moving non-fiction memoir, Shining Through: From Grief to Gratitude, is a beautifully written and inspirational tribute from a grieving mother to her son. I loved reading about the author's early life and her years spent studying and living in the Australian Ashram where she met her husband and the father of her three boys. Saraswati makes it clear in this book that her motivations are those of her son, that he'd want to know that reading about his struggles may help others in similar circumstances, and I think she's right on target there. The picture she builds of Prem is rich and fully dimensional; one of a caring, quirky and fun-loving kid with a serious side and a sensitive nature. I'm glad to have met him through this book and applaud the author for sharing her memories of him. Shining Through: From Grief to Gratitude is highly recommended.