In truth, I resisted this book for a long time. I saw reviews of Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup in some magazines. I also heard her interviewed online. Finally I saw a podcast of her speaking before a group. Then I walked into our local library and the book was sitting on an end display. OK already, I will read the book! In the end, I was pleasantly surprised.
Here If You Need Me is the true story of how Braestrup overcame the sudden death of her husband, took care of her kids, became a chaplain for the Maine Game Wardens, and basically put her life back together. But it is far more than that. It had to be, because I don’t normally go for warm fuzzy perseverance stories. For one thing though, Braestrup tells her story honestly but with a sense of humor. She never dissolves into self pity or the woe-is-me attitude that many would. She still asks the hard questions, but she asks them with power.
And that leads to another reason I enjoyed this book. Although she might deny it, Braestrup is a strong women. Outside events may happen to her, but she alone chooses how she handles the events and how she reacts. She refuses to be a victim and in the end actually becomes a champion for the victims. By choosing the road of becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, as her late-husband had planned to do, she explores her faith and her strength. But by becoming a chaplain with the game and wildlife service, she puts that faith and strength to use together with her compassion. She makes a difference, pure and simple.
Here If You Need Me is not a long book and it is not a complicated book, but it is a good book. I would recommend it for anyone trying to find meaning in their life or for those who are trying to help others find that meaning. And truthfully, I would recommend it for people who are simply looking for a good read with a good story line that has some humor and human angst thrown in. And if it jumps on you from the end cap at your library, take the hint.