A Heroic Voice: A Review of Dana L. Goodman’s ‘In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning’

Book Reviews

The great power of story telling is comprised of a symphony of words and of sentences, of tone and of finesse, of emotion and of truth. Sometimes the stories that we tell are inspired by true-life events, and at other times, mere representations of overactive imaginations. In the case of Dana L. Goodman’s riveting ‘In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning’, the story is not only a true one, but it’s also one that takes a journey of one woman and transforms it into a lesson in compassion and personal triumph.

‘In The Cleft…’ is a harrowing memoir that chronicles the author’s own personal journey in reclaiming life after the loss of her husband, young son, and mother-in-law to cancer. Goodman takes the reader and tells them point blank about the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that one must attempt to overcome when the dreaded C-word enters their life and refuses to leave.

Highlighting the daily struggles of caring for a sick child so soon after having lost a husband to the dreadful disease, Goodman is careful not to become a victimized narrator. She details plainly the rollercoaster of emotions that accompany her situations, inspiring the reader to reflect on the human condition and strength that rears itself in times of such turmoil.

I recently lost my sister to cancer, and because of my recent loss, I was affected greatly by Goodman’s story. She reminded me that the wounds that lay deep in my heart will heal through faith and propensity to love. I found in The Cleft to be not only a veritable joy to read, but therapeutic and kind. It’s pacing and tone pulls the reader in from the very first word, and by the book’s end, the reader truly feels like they know Goodman personally. This is a story that inspires and beats with the thousands of hearts of those who lost their fight with the awful disease, and I feel like a stronger person for having read it.

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