One of the things I love the most besides writing of course is reading and reviewing for other authors. I had the pleasure of reading this book for the purpose of reviewing it. It should have come with a box of tissues.
HEARTACHE AND HOPE IN HAITI-THE BRITNEY GENGEL STORY. BY LEN AND CHERYLANNE GENGEL
Imagine going off to Haiti at the tender age of nineteen on a mission to help the poorest of the poor in Haiti. Haiti is a third world country in the Caribbean that shares and island with The Dominican Republic that by contrast is a lush tropical Paradise.
Imagine that a few days into the trip a horrible Earthquake rocks the country leaving thousands of islanders dead, injured and homeless.
Imagine that six of the workers sent from Lynn University in Florida are also killed in this terrible disaster. Imagine that one of these people is Britney Gengel.
Len and Cherylanne Gengel have written a wonderful tribute to their lost child who wanted to do so much to help the Haitians. It was Britneys dream to return to Haiti and build an orphanage when she was older.
The dream did not perish with Britney.
The book takes us through a lot of Britney stories to get the point across about who their daughter was. We see the anguish at finding out she was missing right after the earthquake hit. We read about the bad intel they experienced about the status of Britney. They family gets their girl back and buries her but not celebrating her life with friends and family.
It is decided that Britneys wish to build an orphanage will be honored through the BeLikeBrit Foundation that the family sets up. Len Gengel with his building contracting experience along with people who wanted to make this dream come true is successful in the undertaking of the project and by late 2012 two and a half years after losing Brit the project is completed.
I was touched by the accounting of this story. Anyone with a heart would be. You experience the anguish of not knowing whether she made it and grieve with them as they bury their only daughter.
The story was told with heart by both Len and Cherylanne and takes into account the struggles of their two sons Richie and Bernie before during and after the earthquake. I felt the presence of Brits spirit as I read about the triumphs and the obstacles faced in fulfilling her dream. We were introduced to the Haitians and discovered the gratitude and the fighting spirit of people with so little.
Yes the book made me cry, as I felt how I would deal with having lost a child that way. Brit was the same age as my daughter. It made me chuckle as I kind relate to the teenaged mischief and angst Britney was involved in before the trip. Mostly it made me proud that such a child wanted to make the world a better place. The Gengels are proud and should be so that they honored her wish. Well-played!
I give this book five golden Bs for poignancy and bravery in the face of tragedy.