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Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience

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Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience

May 2018

A couple of years ago, I was at a party for Allison Pataki’s historical novel, SISI. Though we had not met before, she was so warm and gracious, spending time with every person in the room. I thought to myself, She really has it all.

Someone mentioned that her life had had a twist the year before. When she was five months pregnant, she and her husband, Dave, had gone on a babymoon to Hawaii. They left from Chicago, planning a stop in Seattle on the way to see her brother-in-law. Shortly after they took off, Dave, who was just 30 years old at the time, asked her to look at his eye, as he could not see out of it. She looked and realized something was dreadfully wrong as his pupil had widened so much that she could not see the iris of his eye. Moments later, he was unconscious, she was seeking help from the flight crew, and not long afterwards they made an emergency landing in Fargo, ND, where he was diagnosed with a stroke.

BEAUTY IN THE BROKEN PLACES is their story of the years that led up to that moment, as well as the time that followed as Dave recovered and their baby daughter was born. It’s beautifully written, and there is a lovely foreword by Lee Woodruff (author of IN AN INSTANT), who knows all too well the impact of a traumatic brain injury on a family from her own husband, Bob. Right after the incident, Lee reached out to suggest that Allison take control of the situation in the one way she knew how --- to write. She was clear that she would not remember all that had happened later, and writing would be something therapeutic for her to do as the outcome of this event was uncertain. Allison started to take notes on what was happening in the form of letters to Dave. That writing formed the backbone of the book.

It’s frank and full of emotion, while at the same time giving a perspective on strokes and the toll that they take. Dave’s age is one of the reasons that he was able to recover from this massive injury. Allison is now expecting their second girl. She is as far along with this pregnancy as she was when he had his stroke. He will be participating in this part of her pregnancy for the first time.

Perception is a lot. Recently, Allison shared that hours before the party for SISI, she was melting down, not sure she was ready to appear in public and still feeling a bit fragile. It’s amusing, as that night I thought she had it so together. It made me realize that Allison really does have it all --- just not in the way I first perceived her.

Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience
by Allison Pataki

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2018
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House
  • ISBN-10: 0399591656
  • ISBN-13: 9780399591655