Published by Good Book Company on October 1, 2022
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Memoir, Writing
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Author Melissa Zaldivar talks honestly about losing everything that once defined her and how God used unexpected opportunities, like working at Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women, to spark a journey of working through her grief and encountering the all-sufficient love of Christ.
Weaving inspiring passages of Scripture and insights from Little Women into her personal story, Melissa encourages readers with her discovery that it's when we have nothing left to offer that we can receive God's love the most. And that's something that can never be lost.
Readers will be reassured that God will meet them in the midst of their mess and urged to look to him for help, comfort and strength.
A great gift for those whose faith is being tested in the face of a loss of any kind--a loved one, a job or a relationship.
Melissa Zaldivar reflects on her experiences with loss in this powerful memoir, showing how profoundly her best friend’s death upended her world. Throughout the book, she draws parallels between her grief experiences and what Louisa May Alcott went through when her sister died, showing how Alcott’s choice to “go first” in sharing about grief has helped generations of people grapple with their own losses. Zaldivar’s experience working as a tour guide at the Alcott’s home provides an unusual angle for this book, but it isn’t just for Little Women superfans. Zaldivar provides clear historical context for everything she says about Alcott, and she never assumes that the reader has preexisting knowledge about her or her family.
Although I was already familiar with Alcott’s life and her inspiration for Little Women, I learned new things and found the excerpts from Alcott’s diaries deeply touching. I also appreciated Zaldivar’s guttural honesty about her spiritual struggles in the midst of grief, and her story of how she learned to feel Jesus’s presence even when she couldn’t feel safe in the world anymore or perform the kind of faith she wanted to have. Although What Cannot Be Lost is intensely Christian and may not appeal to secular readers, she writes about her faith in a raw way that doesn’t rely on spiritual clichés or shared beliefs for someone to understand or care about what she’s saying.
What Cannot Be Lost: How Jesus Holds Us Together When Life Is Falling Apart is an incredibly unique book because of the historical tie-ins and the author’s honesty about a less-acknowledged type of loss. I have read a number of grief memoirs, but they are almost all about the deaths of spouses or children. This is the first time I have read a book like this about the death of a friend, and I am thankful for Zaldivar’s willingness to write about this trauma without undercutting it. Her testimonial of profound love and loss honors the value of platonic friendship in a beautiful way, and I am so grateful for this unique and needed approach to talking about death and grief.