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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
The Extended Hand by Marti Eicholz follows a woman’s quest for meaning and happiness. In this memoir, the daughter of a preacher — a man with a great sense of control over his family — tells her story and shows readers the constraints of love, her inability to nurture herself, because, like most of us, she yearned for acceptance. In retrospect, she takes readers on a journey that has powerful psychological implications, exploring how our need to please others and to gain approval can lead to our not being able to live a life of our own. In this narrative, she shares her fears, her struggles, and the epiphany that turned her life around. From declaring bankruptcy to finding inner freedom, Marti Eicholz explores her humanity and, in her story, she unveils the mistakes that stop most people from allowing the wellsprings of life to flow from the center of their being.
This is a moving memoir that follows an interesting journey to some of the most meaningful lessons in life. The author explores how our faith can become a limitation to exploring who we truly are and reaching deep within ourselves to claim our freedom. There are significant moments in this memoir and I enjoyed the connection the author has with Robert, the man she’s come to love and who helps her discover the beauty of love. Self-discovery, the freedom to love and be loved, family and friendship, and the quest for happiness are among the themes that are written into this story. What I loved most about The Extended Hand is the author's ability to take a retrospective look at her life and identify lessons and universal truths that compel readers to look at their choices in life and respond to the question: Am I living my life or am I living a life designed for someone else? The writing is atmospheric and the relationships are beautifully explored. A story that is both an eye-opener and a revelation.