Cover image for Rare bird : a memoir of loss and love
Rare bird : a memoir of loss and love
Whiston-Donaldson, Anna.
Personal Author:
First Edition.
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Convergent Books, 2014.
Physical Description:
xiii, 224 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Introduction: You're braver than you think -- The storm -- Impossible -- Rara avis -- Tomorrow and tomorrow -- Nothing is impossible -- Epilogue: Full hearts.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BV4907 .W46 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
BV4907 .W46 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BV4907 .W46 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BV4907 .W46 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



I wish I had nothing to say on the matter of loss, but I do. Because one day I encouraged my two kids to go out and play in the rain, and only one came home....

Now a New York Times bestseller!
On the other side of heartbreak, a story of hope rises.
On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.
In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother's story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. "Anna's storytelling," says Glennon Doyle Melton, "is raw and real and intense and funny."
With this unforgettable account of a family's love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us--beyond all earthly circumstances--safe.

This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you're braver than you think.

Praise for Rare Bird

"In her beautiful, clear-eyed prose Anna brings to life complex miracles: that the anchor of being strong is tied to feelings of unbearable weakness; that the ache of grief is often accompanied by glittering beauty; and that all we do not understand is more important to making sense of life than what we know. Her story, as well as Jack's story, is gorgeous, bold and true, and no one will be unchanged in reading it."
-- Stacy Morrison, Editor in Chief, BlogHer; author of Falling Apart in One Piece

"This is not a book; it is a kaleidoscope. With every turn of the page, a new discovery is made that forever alters your view of pain, joy, heartache, time, hope, and healing. As I journeyed through Anna's divinely written prose, I found myself unable to stand by as a passive recipient of her message. I needed to act. Because of Anna and Jack, I talked with my child about heaven. I walked around the pool's edge to sit beside a grieving woman. I looked into the darkest places of my soul and for the first time, I did not look away. If you yearn to stop hiding from that which prevents you from truly living, step into the kaleidoscope that is Rare Bird. Turn the page--wake up, stand up, comfort, love, and live. Turn the page--let your eyes be opened to the light that exists in whatever darkness you face."
-- Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times best-selling author of Hands Free Mama

"A masterpiece of hope, love, and the resilience and ferocity of the human spirit."
-- From the foreword by Glennon Doyle Melton,; author of Carry On, Warrior
"Rare Bird is not just another well-written story of love, loss, and the aftermath of death, but it is a story that clearly shows the constant presence and grace of a loving God. It gives assurance and comfort to those whose hearts are grieving, and hope to those who are afraid."
-- Mary C. Neal, MD, New York Times best-selling author of To Heaven and Back

Author Notes

Anna Whiston-Donaldson is a popular blogger at An Inch of Gray. A graduate of James Madison University and Wake Forest University, she taught high school English for six years before becoming a full-time mom and writer. She lives with her husband, Tim, and daughter, Margaret, in suburban Washington, DC.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this powerful debut memoir, blogger Whiston-Donaldson tells the tragic story-of the death of her 12-year-old son Jack. The author is an emotionally insightful guide to the territory of grief. She notes the relationship of grief and shame, the comforts and sorrows of sex, and the hideous fights between bereaved parents. From its disarming opening sentence (I thought the first book Id write would be about painting furniture), the book avoids sentimentality. The book is well paced-the reader knows from the start that the authors child is dead, but doesnt know precisely how he dies for some chapters-and is underpinned by a steady drumbeat of faith, as Whiston-Donaldson negotiates a new relationship with God after Jacks death. She feels deeply loved by God, almost as if Im wrapped in a soft, cotton batting, but she is also disappointed and hurt... and the only broken body I can picture right now is Jacks. Whiston-Donaldsons compelling account belongs on the shelf next to Richard Lischers Stations of the Heart. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Glennon Doyle Melton
forewordp. xi
introduction: You're Braver than You Thinkp. 1
I the stormp. 5
II impossiblep. 77
III rara avisp. 133
IV tomorrow and tomorrowp. 167
V nothing is impossiblep. 191
epilogue: Full Heartsp. 216
acknowledgmentsp. 223