• M. E. Weyerbacher

Straining Forward: A Book Review

Updated: Sep 12, 2019






Straining Forward: A Book Review


Sitting outside on the back patio, bare feet pressed onto the pebbled concrete, sun not quite beaming, I determined to finish this book before getting up, even to use the bathroom. I would read and not stop.


I couldn't. Living history had me in a snug hug. I was going nowhere for a while.



Minh with her doll


Coffee on the upside down cooler next to my writing planner and current edit-in-process, I gobbled up Straining Forward. And by gobbled I mean, breakfast turned into lunch right quick.


Once I shut the book, I came to our bedroom and looked at my husband who had recently awoken from his off shift and was waiting on his coffee to finish brewing. I secretly hoped he would leave the room so I could do what I knew was about to happen, alone.


I think this was because I didn't want him to ask me why I was crying, because I knew I wasn't prepared to answer or get into a long conversation. I needed space.


I just finished this book, and needed to process it. I would have gone outside, but that's where I had just come from.



Minh with dad's car


I pointed out to my husband that the coffeepot had beeped, so he exited the room just in time for me to drop to my knees next to the bed and wail into our soft, blue blanket.


I'd been holding it in. I could tell by the way my ribs felt and the way I cried. It was like mourning at first--on some level--then rejoicing with Minh.


This book is excellently written by Michelle Rahal, of Minh Phuong Towner's powerful story.


It begins in her younger years, following Minh throughout her life until the present, and tells of her seemingly impossible trek through the hardest experiences one can imagine living through.



Minh on a motorcycle


This story could not have been easy to write and I am thankful for Michelle and Minh for working together to complete it so true Hope can go out to the world.


I can tell I will be processing this long after I currently write this.


I am going to lend this copy to my mom who already claimed it next, but I am buying more in the paychecks to come, to hand out like we would think of doing with Bibles. Trust me. Read it and you will see why I feel this strongly.



Minh Phuong Towner with Michelle Layer Rahal


I am so thankful to you, Michelle, for sending me a copy of this memoir. I am forever grateful to have read it. It is going to set people free and spread hope like wildfire.


This book needs to be read by the world!

***People with certain triggers be forewarned, you may have to pass due to the graphic content, or at the very least brace yourself, then cautiously skip those parts as they approach your eyes.


About Michelle


Michelle is former radio news reporter and educator with degrees from Hofstra University and SUNY at Buffalo. She lives in Virginia with her husband.


Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and over at her blog.



Buy Keep Straining Forward on Amazon!


50% of all proceeds from the sale of this book go to individuals and groups involved with missionary work abroad.


Purchases made through links on my site will result in me getting a small commission.






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