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Reviewed by Gail H. Scoates for Readers' Favorite
Stories of my Life is a collection of reflections, journal notes, prayers, and poems by Elisabeth M. Seidel. According to editor Jennifer P. Tanabe, the original works were personal notes written in English and French, and modified into the chronological format presented in the book. Elisabeth’s stories begin with her childhood in France. Later she traveled to the United States where she was an early Western follower of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Elisabeth engages the reader with stories about her life as a wife and mother of two children, and as an active member of the Unification Church in America and Canada. Numerous photographs throughout the book provide a wonderful visual connection with her stories.
Elisabeth M. Seidel provides a fascinating autobiography of her early childhood going back to her great-grandparents, and how she was forbidden to attend church. Seeking information about religion, Elisabeth was introduced to the Unification Movement while studying in Milano. Soon after, she traveled alone to America and continued her spiritual journey. Shortly after arriving, she married her German-born husband, who she met on the day of their wedding. She provides intimate details of supporting her husband while he obtained his doctoral degree in theology all while raising two children. Some of her writings are spiritual, some are poetic, and some are happy stories while others detail the obstacles she faced. Throughout her writings, Elisabeth shares her inner thoughts. Her story ends with a loving tribute to her family and her husband, Dietrich. Elisabeth Seidel offers an insightful book for anyone looking to read about faith struggles as well as a detailed view of the life of a family in the Unification Church.