Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Hachette Book Group) April 16, 2009
Genre: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
From the Publisher:
Nine years ago, Pam Cope owned a cozy hair salon in the tiny town of Neosho, Missouri, and her life revolved around her son's baseball games, her daughter's dance lessons, and family trips to places like Disney World. She had never been out of the country, nor had she any desire to travel far from home.
Then, on June 16th, 1999, her life changed forever with the death of her 15-year-old son from an undiagnosed heart ailment.
Needing to get as far away as possible from everything that reminded her of her loss, she accepted a friend's invitation to travel to Vietnam, and, from the moment she stepped off the plane, everything she had been feeling since her son's death began to shift. By the time she returned home, she had a new mission: to use her pain to change the world, one small step at a time, one child at a time. Today, she is the mother of two children adopted from Vietnam. More than that, she and her husband have created a foundation called "Touch A Life," dedicated to helping desperate children in countries as far-flung as Vietnam, Cambodia and Ghana.
Pam Cope's story is on one level a moving, personal account of loss and recovery, but on a deeper level, it offers inspiration to anyone who has ever suffered great personal tragedy or those of us who dream about making a difference in the world.
Pam always felt something was missing from her life, that a beautiful house, wonderful family, and great vacations just couldn't satisfy. Unfortunately, her son Jantsen dies which brings Pam, to the very precipice of life versus death. Through this tragedy Pam realizes she is meant for bigger things. After her trip to Vietnam and seeing those children, Pam realizes her life has a purpose: to ease the suffering and help as many children as she can, whether they are in Asia or Ghana.
This book chronicles Pam's expreinces and emotional struggles from both the loss of her son and her journey to the realization of her life's purpose.
"Maybe this is what it had always meant for me to have a life of meaning." pg 111
Pam describes her depression after Jantsen's death so vividly, that I felt as though I had lost a son, and I don't even have children. A foundation was established with donations recieved after Jantsen's death and this is the beginning of Pam's lifes work. Pam's travels to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Ghana are so vivid and full of life, that you feel you are right there beside her soaking it all in. She also gives background inforamtion as to why these children end up in these poor living conditions. From changes in government in Vietnam to the harsh realities of life in Ghana, Pam describes everything succintly. Human trafficking is also a part of this story, in all of these countries. It is a harsh reality that unfortunately exisists.
All in all I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It made me think about my place in the world, and the little things I could do to make it better for someone else. The writing was wonderful and it didn't feel like a memoir or biography to me. It reads like a well told story.
Jantsen's Gifts are many: the foundation started in his name, the realization by Pam of what her life's purpose should be, and the story itself. With this story, the plight of children everywhere will be discussed and maybe a little something can be done about it. We are not alone.
My Rating: 4.5/5
If you would like to learn more about the Touch of Life Foundation, please visit their website