When a child is diagnosed with a developmental or mental illness, the whole family is affected. Parents are often thrown into a world that doesn't make sense and then begins the scramble to learn everything necessary to advocate for their child. I lost and found myself in Valerie's story as I read her book Off Script. As a mother of a child with a serious mental illness, I could relate to her fears, her exhaustion, and her treasured moments of love and happiness. Bravo! This is a must-read for all NAMI families.
I highly recommend this riveting, raw, and authentic read. Many unfortunate circumstances that are compounded, hooks the reader in awe. Every woman can relate to Valerie's life experiences and life lessons at some moment of her own journey. Whether it be through the lens of a parent, wife, daughter, or a young woman dreaming of her promising future. The prominent themes of control and surrender, teach us that life truly works for us in the most mysterious of ways.
As the mother of an adopted child, I could commiserate with the feelings and experiences that Valerie went through as an adoptive mom of a very needy child. It's easy to feel alone in your own unique experience and Valerie writes her story in a way to which so many parents can relate. It's a huge thing to not feel alone. And Valerie comes alongside you to let you know she understands. I appreciated Valerie's vulnerability and openness. I think in this way she gains the trust of the reader to continue to follow along on her harrowing journey. No matter what your experience with parenting I believe you can find insight and a reason to be grateful from Valerie's honest recounting of her experiences. I don't usually read anything but fiction, but this book will have you hooked!
My wife returned home from her weekend away last Sunday with your book. I had just plopped myself on the couch for a day of watching the pre-game and then the Super Bowl, so I picked it up and started reading. Then I had trouble putting it down, and I found myself staying up late that night to finish it. I wanted to reach out to you to thank you for being vulnerable enough to write your memoir. While our stories with our kids are nowhere near as challenging as yours, it was incredibly helpful to me to read about your journey, and that you have found some measure of peace with life now. Also, you are an excellent writer, though I suspect that is not news to you.
This is an honest and genuine perspective of making it through many life challenges. It is an easy read and encouraging to read about what the author learned and how she could handle things better in the future. Her insights can help us all learn for the future.
From the first sentence, you will be transported by the poetic imagery. I felt transported right into Valerie's world and on the road with her for this journey. As I read, I was moved by the story but also by very direct and honest statements about how Valerie navigated and felt about the many difficult circumstances she was in. As I was reading, I found myself inspired to look more deeply at myself and how I navigate my own personal struggles. While this book is one woman's story, there is something in it that we can all identify with. I found the quotes at the start of each chapter to be very powerful thoughts to sit with and meditate on. I was always excited to see how those revealed themselves in the chapter. The writing itself is energized, full, poetic, engaging and moves along at the speed of life. It was hard to put down, and yet I made myself at times because I knew there was a lot to think about. It encouraged me to pause and consider how I am evolving and growing. I'm inspired to dig deeper into my authenticity and to find ways to live in that and make no excuses. This is truly an inspired tale of resilience and hope. Everyone should pick up this book!
Valerie Cantella's heartfelt narrative is both heartbreaking and inspiring, but one I'm very glad to have read. As she unveils the events that unfolded over the course of her life, crescendoing as disappointments and revelations pile on top of one another, you can't help but wonder how much else can be borne. However, Cantella never claims to be heroic. She humbly reveals her own doubts and fears, as well as the questions that plagued her heart and mind and faith. Any parent - or human - who has felt desperate for a breath above the pounding waves life brings can empathize with her well-presented words. I am thankful to have learned about another family's journey through a multitude of challenges, and Cantella's honesty comforted me as I read and reflected on struggles my own family has endured over the last decade. If you'd like or need an easy-to-read, yet thought-provoking story of faith, hope, love, and incomparable yet imperfect strength, this book is a great choice!
Off-script is a memoir of searing reconciliation and resilience of a woman who had to find her way back, over, and through rigid expectations and black and white thinking. She shares her journey to an acceptance that while life is messy, heartbreaking, and can feel like it is pounding us into the ground, if we have the willingness to question our ideas and learn to flex and adapt, a much richer existence is possible. When our existence feels excruciating, some people bend and others break; the author shines as an example of an individual who learned to bend, to adapt, and who finally learned to love and forgive herself and others.
I just finished reading your book. With moist eyes and an incredible amount of respect in my heart. Thank you for sharing your courageous, gut-wrenching, and hopeful journey. I couldn't help thinking about how many people you will help with this book. Captivating, raw and page-turning! Bravo my friend. Wishing you much success.
What an amazing book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it - in fact it's a page turner. I love the way it goes back-and-forth between a story that is unfolding with her daughter and the references to the past that explains so much of the situation. It's a good read.
I read your book in two days. Incredible story, Valerie. Appreciated your openness, honesty, and vulnerability. The courage it took to do so, just wow. Inspiring really.
I just devoured your book (started it yesterday and finished after church today). You're a very talented writer. Though I knew most of the story, you made it come alive and wove the pieces together perfectly. I have several friends that I will recommend it too-they have had adoption and mental health challenges, so your story will be an encouragement. Well done!!