Trade Paperback, 206 pages
When Reverend G hears the devastating diagnosis - dementia with the possibility of early-onset Alzheimer's - she struggles with the pain of forgetting those she loves and the fear of losing her connection with God. With the help of her friends at the assisted living facility, Bert, a farmer from Oklahoma, Roxie, the stressed-out activities director and Gabriel, a cat with the gift of forecasting death, she soon discovers there's humor to be found in forgetting part of the Lord's Prayer, finding her iron in the freezer and losing a half-gallon of ice cream. And she discovers that while the question she wants to ask is, 'Why, ' the answer really is, 'Who.'
The Unraveling of Reverend G by RJ Thesman follows sixty two year old Reverend G (short for Gertrude) as she retires from the ministry and enters an assisted living facility. Reverend G has noticed she is forgetting more and more words and events but her doctor has confirmed her suspicions. She is in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's. With help from her son, Jacob, and daughter-in-law she is selling all her household goods and moving into Cove Creek, an assisted living facility.
Reverend G. is struggling with trusting the Lord in all things and finding significance in her new life while allowing Jacob to handle the details of her physical transition. She asks the Lord "Show me, Lord. As long as some of my brain cells operate, please let me be an example of your love. Do not let me waste away into oblivion or forget who you are. Do not let me lose your voice." (Page 35)
As she struggles to find a place in her new life, she continues her conversation with God and suddenly comes to a realization that "Perhaps God sent me to Cove Creek to share his love. How many other residents lay awake tonight, wondering about their children or dreading those last moments before death? Perhaps my purpose here was to listen, to be a friend, a confidante." (Page 63) It also is clear that she needs to grieve the loss of her old life and the changes her diagnosis has inflicted upon her.
But mostly, as Reverend G makes her way through her new life meeting her cat, Gabriel, and embracing the new ministry opportunities before her, she realizes that she needs to continue to give thanks to God in all things.
This is a inspirational celebration of this difficult time in her life as Reverend G. talks to God and truly has to rely on her years of faith and Bible memorization to make her way through her new life and home with grace and dignity. Her ability to rely on her faith and what she does remember from her years of memorizing the Bible proves that she can still minister to others, that God can still use her, even while she is in a crisis of her own and forgetting more and more. She discovers that God is not through with her yet and that she still has a ministry even during this season of her life.
The Unraveling of Reverend G is a highly recommended Christian book that guarantees a great appeal to many woman of faith. Although it has a simplistic writing style and plot, this makes it readily accessible to minister and give encouragement to a large number of women. This is not a difficult book to read so Reverend G's journey is easy to follow. Reverend G is the very definition of an optimist in many ways. I found The Unraveling of Reverend G a bit overly sweet and perhaps not completely realistic, especially the ending. I do think many women will find it uplifting and inspirational because she relies heavily on her faith throughout the whole book and never descends into self-pity or bitterness.
This Intermission for Reverend G, released April 21, 2014, is the second book in the proposed three book series featuring Reverend G. The Unraveling of Reverend G was a finalist for the Grace Awards 2012 Women's Fiction.
Disclosure: My paperback edition was courtesy of the author for review purposes.