First Mistake

Facing Death, Finding Life

Non-Fiction - Memoir
304 Pages
Reviewed on 10/18/2018
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Author Biography

D.J. Chang is a memoirist and social purpose entrepreneur. She now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her spouse and their dogs. D.J. was raised in a white, upper-middle-class suburb of New York City, where, as a child, she witnessed her caregiver die suddenly and, as a young adult, grappled with issues of sexuality, class, and ethnicity. Throughout her life, D.J. has searched for the meaning of identity, love, life, and death, and she explores these big questions and the events that shaped her life in her debut memoir, First Mistake.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Spiritually rich, emotionally gripping, and intelligently written, First Mistake: Facing Death, Finding Life by D.J. Chang is a book about death, about a powerful spiritual connection, about love and meaning, a book for readers who hunger for more truth than this world can reveal. It begins with a tragedy, with incredible loss. At the age of nine, the author witnessed the death of someone close to her family. Although the author never spoke with Ah Kung — the man whose life-long career had been that of a domestic servant — because of a language barrier, when he died at eighty-six of a heart attack, she felt an irresistible need to speak to him. In this narrative, the author takes readers on an odyssey that would last for a period of forty years, from when she was just nine years old to her maturer years, a journey in the company of Ah Kung, her spirit guide. The lessons are strong and manifold, and the entire narrative is filled with light and love. Things weren't easy, but the author has found meaning and purpose along the way.

I loved the formatting, the sentence structure, the timely paragraph breaks and the dramatic effects they have on the reader. The writing is gorgeous and the author has a perceptive, insightful way of looking at things that will certainly inspire readers. Here is a powerful testimony to the reality that the “dead are not dead but alive,” that language becomes simplified in the spiritual realm and that there is more to life than the quest for pleasure and comfort and wealth. The author writes beautifully about love, faith and purpose, and opens a path that allows readers to search their souls and find the thing that makes them and their destiny unique in this world. The writing itself has a magic of its own, a music that arouses the soul powerfully and a wisdom that flows from experience. First Mistake: Facing Death, Finding Life is one of those books that I read and find myself going back to, because it offers a unique and spiritual experience to the reader.