A moving and courageous story of recovery from disaster and loss.

By Melanie Harris-Brady

I read this book over two sittings on one night. I found it almost impossible to put down, and in fact, woke in the middle of the night, got up and finished it! Apart from the author’s harrowing journey, which keeps you on the edge-of-your-seat, I was deeply moved by her vulnerability and honesty about the complexity of her feelings. There are no easy fixes or transformative realisations that suddenly make everything better when you’ve lost your home, all your precious belongings, and, most heartbreakingly, your beloved dog who you didn’t have time to rescue.

Toko-Pa Turner in ‘Belonging’ discusses how the New Age movement has pathologised so-called ‘negative emotions’ and made them socially unacceptable. “We are taught to ‘rise above’ things like anger, anxiety, sadness – and by whatever means necessary, stay in bliss and light. This kind of bypassing is dangerous because it teaches us to not only dissociate from the multiplicity of ourselves but from the magnificent spectrum of life itself.”

In contrast, Melanie Harris-Brady’s story encompasses both light and dark. She includes and acknowledges the regrets and trauma that remain, as well as many uplifting and heart-warming stories of healing, humanity and new beginnings.

I was both inspired and deeply touched.