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MY REVIEW OF BEAUTY IN THE BROKEN PLACES A MEMOIR OF LOVE, FAITH AND RESILIENCE Allison Pataki, Author of Beauty in the Broken Places A Memoir of Love, Faith and Resilience has written an amazing, emotional, heart wrenching ,captivating and thoughtful memoir Can you imagine a thiry year old pregnant woman, and her thirty year old husband, who is a third year medical resident , facing an unknow tragedy The author and her husband were off on a baby moon to enjoy a much needed vacation, when her young husband has a life threatening stroke on the airplane The Airplane is forced to make an emergency landing, and Allison Pataki is faced life threatening challenges.The Author starts to write everything down, to keep it as something to show her husband if he survives I admire the author s honesty, courage, dignity, resourcefulness, compassion, and loyalty When the author was struggling to cope she turned to loved ones for help, and she kept praying Allison Pataki had hope and faith I would recommend this beautiful written memoir to other readers I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.Share This book was one I read in one sitting Well, not sitting down exactly D I took it to bed to read and I didn t go to sleep until I was done.Allison Pataki, pregnant with her first child, and her husband Dave, are on a plane for a babymoon , traveling to Hawaii for a nice vacation before the baby comes Their flight is interrupted when Dave innocently asks Allison to look at his right eye and see if it looks funny It does It is completely dilated, unlike the opposite eye, and Dave suddenly says he cannot see out of it He falls unconscious and this is the start of a medical nightmare.At only 30 years of age, a healthy, robust and in shape Dave is a victim of an extremely rare stroke, and one that never occurs in healthy young adults After an emergency landing, the medical nightmare continues on for a very long time.This description sounds like this book would be a real downer However, it isthan the story of a young couple soon to become parents for the first time, who are facing a medical crisis of the biggest proportions It is also filled with tenacity, determination, love, and an unblinking look at how such an incident can effect what was a good marriage.I won t sayin the interest of not giving spoilers, but I will say it is a great read, and I have the utmost respect for the unflinching look at what it takes to overcome a tragedy in the midst of what should have been the happiest time of their lives. I look forward to sharing this book with you all Thank you so much for reading. Rating 2.5On June 9, 2015, historical novelist Allison Pataki who was then five months pregnant and her husband, Dr David Levy, were en route to Hawaii Dave was about to enter the fourth year of his orthopaedic surgery residency at Chicago s Rush University, and he and his wife were taking a much needed break to recharge He had been driving himself hard for years since first entering medical school, in fact and typically put in 20 hour days Recently, most of those days had been spent seated at a desk engaged in an intensive independent study research project The sedentary nature of that work may have had some impact on his circulatory system and what was to occur on the plane that evening.Sometime around sunset, as the aircraft flew over the American midwest, Dave nudged his dozing wife awake, reporting that he couldn t see out of his right eye The pupil was significantly dilated and unresponsive to light Airline staff were alerted, and medical personnel who happened to be aboard the plane attended Dave who quickly fell unconscious A half hour was spent attempting to revive him before the plane made an emergency landing in Fargo, North Dakota Transferred by ambulance to a nearby hospital, Dave was found to have suffered a devastating ischemic stroke, not the hemorrhagic kind that typically affects younger people, from which they can recover though it s an arduous process A couple of anatomical variants in Dave s heart and brain, in combination with his recent inactivity, meant that a blood clot in his leg which would normally have ended up in the lungs which can be life threatening in itself instead made its catastrophic way to his brain It occluded the major blood vessel to the thalamus, the brain s critical central sensory switchboard, which determines where incoming signals need to be routed Not having received vital oxygen, the tissue there was now dead Within 24 hours Dave did wake up in the Fargo hospital He did not suffer the motor deficits or paralysis so commonly seen with stroke patients, but he was seriously cognitively impaired suffering amnesia and losing executive function the ability to plan and initiate actions He was also extremely sleepy, and, because of cranial nerve damage, unable to move his eyes Because this kind of insult to the thalamus is so rarely seen in cases of stroke a 2016 paper in the Annals of Neuroscience suggests such damage occurs in only.6 % of ischemic strokes , there was limited medical literature on the subject as Dave s father, a neurologist, and his brother, Andy, a cardiologist, quickly learned No one knew how Dave would fare long term The fact that he had survived such a catastrophic cerebral vascular accident at all was attributed to his youth, fitness, and good diet In recent years there has been a fair bit of talk about the plasticity of the brain, the ability of some areas to compensate for parts that have been irrevocably damaged Pataki points out, however, that plasticity becomeslimited as a person ages Dave was only 30 when his stroke occurred, still young enough for there to be hope that his brain might compensate for and adapt to the injury Further, in his pre stroke life, he had been very high functioning with an above average number of neurons firing to do his work as an orthopaedic surgeon, fit and strong and highly engaged in a rich and complex life, full of family and friends and activity Had his traumatic brain injury occurred a year or so later, his deficits would have been greater If the stroke had occurred when Dave was 35, it is unlikely he would have survived at all.The chapters in Pataki s book alternate between the past the story of the couple s relationship, which began when both were students at Yale and the time of the stroke and its aftermath The memoir also includes some lovely photographs as well as snippets of the laptop letters Pataki began composing to Dave from the beginning of his ordeal These letters provided a way for the author to converse with the husband that used to be and also served as records of the passing days For the most part, the excerpts included in the book are judiciously short until the conclusion, where an arguably unnecessary final letter in its entirety is attached.Many of the details in the book underscore the fact that the author is a child of privilege The daughter of a former governor of New York State, Pataki appears to have had every advantage in life Unfulfilling and stressful work as a news writer in her twenties, for example, could be left behind for six months in Paris Her aunt s apartment in the French capital was conveniently vacant at the very point Pataki needed time to take stock of her life When she returned to the U.S and was no longer part of the TV news business, she got a job in her prominent father s clean energy company She also appears to have had a large network of well to do, high rolling friends who were able to fly to assist her in her time of need As much as privilege helps a person negotiate life s vicissitudes, however, it doesn t ensure immunity to them What I am saying here is that in spite of her immense privilege, Pataki s distress can still be understood and related to The thoughts and feelings she describes as she attempts to come to grips with her husband s traumatic brain injury would likely be experienced by most of us were we to find ourselves in a similar situation.Pataki s writing is not stellar occasionally, it s overwrought Generally, though, it is serviceable, accessible, and obviously geared towards a younger, mainstream female audience Pataki is aware enough to know she had lived a charmed life until the fateful June 9th, 2015 flight She writes about an essentially sunny 11 year relationship with Dave his marriage proposal on bended knee, of course the custom designed ring he proffered the four leaf clovers the two found at the time of their engagement, and their large and elaborate wedding Some women might enjoy reading about this kind of thing, but I m not one of them Additionally, terms like the repeatedly used babymoon Pataki s word for a romantic holiday taken when pregnant appear in the book Again a word such as this might not bother some, but I felt annoyed every time I encountered it I understand the author s desire to mark the contrast between the apparently charmed before and the very difficult after , but the descriptions of the couple s first decade unfortunately read like stereotypical scenes from chick lit.For me, the sections that relate to the stroke made for better reading Emotions here arecomplex, conflicted, and credibly articulated Pataki is also able to movingly describe the many kindnesses that were extended to her and her husband in the course of their ordeal sometimes by complete strangers For instance, after the ambulance had delivered her husband to the Fargo hospital, an EMT lingered and passed her a wad of twenty dollar bills, telling her simply We collect a fund for the family membersfor moments like this Pataki describes the life she lived, including the progression of her pregnancy, as Dave recovered from his stroke moving from the hospital in Fargo to Rush University Medical Center, and finally to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the top facility of its kind in the U S. Towards the end of Dave s time in the rehab hospital, he and his family were told that he was expected to make a full recovery For his wife, though, the greatest challenges were yet to come when Dave was released from hospital After spending several months living with and receiving the support of Dave s parents, the couple went home to their new apartment Not only did Pataki now have a newborn daughter, but she also had a new, morphed, entirely unrecognizable version of the manshe had known and loved Having lost higher brain function, Dave no longer had the ability to be the self starting manager of his own life Pataki was tasked with the dual roles of being wife and caregiver, and she tells of the serious toll this took on herBeauty in the Broken Placesis certainly not the best memoir I ve ever read However, it is still a powerful testament to love and, at times, an affecting record of endurance and adaptation to adversity The reader cares about David Levy, roots for him, and appreciates the hardships his family members have faced, including the psychological adjustments that they, too, had to make Humans have a fundamental need to turn experiences particularly chaotic, terrifying, foundation shaking ones into stories Pataki s narrative of her husband s life changing stroke is apparently modelled after Hemingway s famous, often cited observation The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places which serves as the memoir s epigraph That quotation sounds profound and true, but I m not sure that I believe it, nor am I persuaded that Pataki does For one thing, the author s propensity for panic has only increased since June, 2015 I saw threats everywhere, she writes of the time after the crisis To illustrate one evening as she and her husband set out on a walk after Dave had been released from hospital , she became frenzied when he reported dizziness and faintness, thinking they must mean another stroke They were, in fact, only physiological responses to the brightness and heat of a summer evening Pataki s later assessment of her situation as an unwanted lesson in endurance rings truer by far than any Hemingway quotation This stroke was foisted on my family It s not like we chose it and then decided whether or not we could deal with it We have to deal with it because it s our reality And, if it was your reality, you would have to deal with it, too Allison Pataki is a person of some religious faith and there are occasional references to Jesus, the Holy Spirit, angels, miracles, and divine plans Clearly, her religious beliefs assisted her, but I find that when I encounter the language of traditional Christianity this particular brand of faith I feel a mixture of amazement, incredulity, and mild distaste I realize this is unfair of me Obviously there are all kinds of ways to be in this world and if a traditional Christian belief system supports someone in coping with great hardship and pain, who am I to judge In the end, I have mixed feelings about this book I was interested and even invested in Dave s story, but the writing itself isn t memorable, and I didn t care for the domestic detail and the back story of the couple s courtship I think an editor should have advised the removal of significant chunks of that content I believe it would have improved the book in the process. This was an emotional read It is a memoir telling the heartbreaking story of recovery from a stroke Dave Levy, a thirty year old orthopedic resident suffers a catostrophic brain injury The author, Alison Patacki is pregnant and walks every step of the way with her husband through rehabilitation Love and faith Family and friends Doctors and specialists The letters Alison wrote through out the trying days of recovery show the strength and resilience of this love story beautyinthebrokenplaces alisonpataki Five stars to author Allison Pataki for opening up a window into the life of her family after a devastating and unexpected stroke befell her young husband I know from experience that things we think we might have to face when we re older come as a great surprise when they happen many decades earlier I was moved by her faith and the strength of her family, but also her honesty about the times she felt like giving up A sure winner, Pataki s book will resonate with anyone who has struggled that is, anyone who is human.I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Allison Pataki and Dave Levy met while they were students at Yale University They began dating and slowly realized that they each had met a soulmate They married and began their lives together Allison worked as a television news writer but hoped to eventually become a writer of historical fiction Dave began medical school In 2015, Allison and Dave found out that they were to become parents and decided to celebrate by going on a babymoon trip to Hawaii While in flight, Dave turned to Allison and asked, Does my right eye look weird I can t see anything out of it Shortly after that he closed his eyes and was unconscious.In this beautifully written memoir, Allison describes how their lives, in a matter of minutes, were changed forever It s a powerfully moving story of family, love, perseverance, faith, and hope that is hard to put down.Thank you to Bookreporter, Random House, and author Allison Pataki for giving me the opportunity to read the ARC of this unforgettable book. Although I primarily feature fiction, I had to include this remarkable memoir by author Allison Pataki Pataki was five months pregnant when her husband suffered a massive stroke on an airplane Pataki s story of how she cared for her recovering husband is an uplifting tale of resilience and strength in the face of adversity. When Dave woke up from a near fatal stroke, age thirty, beautiful, seemingly strong and outwardly intact, he couldn t carry memories from hour to hour, much less from one day to the next I had enjoyed Pataki s novel Where the Light Falls, so I was curious about her memoir concerning her husband s stroke when she was five months pregnant She spends a large portion of the beginning of the book bringing us up to date on how they arrived as this point Their meeting, courtship, early marriage They didn t have it easy, but she still gives it too much of a fairy tale tint to it I get that these were two people very much in love But this is the weakest part of the book The back and forth is used to impress on the reader how everything changed in the literally blink of an eye Most of us who marry will recite the traditional marriage vows But most of us, like Alli, don t expect the in sickness part to rear its ugly head until well into our later years The scariest saddest part of the book for me was when their dog did not recognize the altered, post stroke Dave She gives us enough medical explanation, especially concerning executive functioning, so that we understand what they re experiencing There are some lovely passages on faith here and I found myself highlighting whole pages This is an inspiring book that serves as a wonderful reminder to all of us that life cannot be taken for granted My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book. `READ DOWNLOAD ⇸ Beauty in the Broken Places ↿ A Deeply Moving Memoir About Two Lives That Were Changed In The Blink Of An Eye, And The Love That Helped Them Rewrite Their FutureFive Months Pregnant, On A Flight To Their Babymoon, Allison Pataki Turned To Her Husband When He Asked If His Eye Looked Strange, And Watched Him Suddenly Lose Consciousness After An Emergency Landing, She Discovered That Dave A Healthy Thirty Year Old Athlete And Surgical Resident Had Suffered A Rare And Life Threatening Stroke Next Thing Allison Knew, She Was Sitting Alone In The ER In Fargo, North Dakota, Waiting To Hear If Her Husband Would Survive The NightWhen Dave Woke Up, He Could Not Carry Memories From Hour To Hour, Much Less From One Day To The Next Allison Lost The Dave She Knew And Loved When He Lost Consciousness On The Plane Within A Few Months, She Found Herself Caring For Both A Newborn And A Sick Husband, Struggling With The Fear Of What Was To ComeAs A Way To Make Sense Of The Pain And Chaos Of Their New Reality, Allison Started To Write Daily Letters To Dave Not Only Would She Work To Make Sense Of The Unfathomable Experiences Unfolding Around Her, But Her Letters Would Provide Dave With The Memories He Could Not Make On His Own She Was Writing To Preserve Their Past, Protect Their Present, And Fight For Their Future Those Letters Became The Foundation For This Beautiful, Intimate Memoir And In The Process, She Fell In Love With Her Husband All Over AgainThis Is A Manifesto For Living, An Ultimately Uplifting Story About The Transformative Power Of Faith And Resilience It S A Tale Of A Husband S Turbulent Road To Recovery, The Shifting Nature Of Marriage, And The Struggle Of Loving Through Pain And Finding Joy In The Broken Places