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Reviewed by Irene Valentine for Readers' Favorite
Desert Song: Claiming Joy while Walking the Wilderness is Brittnie Blackburn’s memoir of her struggle through anorexia, infertility, parenting a special-needs child, and birthing a stillborn child. Despite life and death events that threaten to drown her joy, she has learned to walk through the desert of grief and chooses to trust in God’s unfailing love. Her awkwardness with her own body began in 6th grade. By 13, she had decided she was fat and that summer she resolved to lose weight. She lost 13 pounds. Thinness was a major accomplishment as skinny was beautiful in her worldview. This created a deceptive sense of control and power. Soon after graduation, she married Brandon, her college sweetheart. She confesses that her weight was the center of her thinking every waking hour. Still eating meals, she was sure she was in control and deflected her family’s concerns. About eighteen months into her marriage, when to her shock, she weighed only 89lbs, she admitted to Brandon that she needed help. Her nutritionist advised her to take small steps like replacing skim milk with 2 percent. Brandon went shopping with her for moral support. They both knew she needed to be the one to buy the milk. Bargaining with herself and with God, out loud for 20 minutes in front of the milk section, describes the bondage of anorexia.
I did not want to stop reading. Brittnie Blackburn’s memoir is a heartrending yet heartwarming story of a decade of her life, recounted simply and honestly to offer hope to others. Nothing trite, rather she is learning to focus on how good God is, rather than her trials. Transparently and skillfully, Brittnie shares her story of struggle and hope. She offers practical tips on each of her Desert Walks. Like purging your closet of those 00 size jeans which could tempt. Like encouraging others to speak the name of a deceased child. She said to hear her son Chance’s name was like music to her ears. To know that while he isn’t living on this earth, he is living in the hearts and minds of those around her. I encourage you to read Desert Song to learn how to claim joy while walking your wilderness. Regular Real Talk questions with Action Steps are posted for you to evaluate in the context of your life journey.