Author: Sonali Deraniyagala
Publication Date: 3/1/13
How I Found It: On Reserve for quite a while
Date Completed: 1/25/15
Summary: Deraniyagala tragically lost her parents, husband, and two young boys in the December 26, 2004 tsunami. Her memoir explores her journey through grief and mourning and how her life will never be the same.
What I Thought: I had this book On Reserve for so long, I honestly forgot what Deraniyagala's story was. I think I had gotten it confused with the Naomi Watts' movie The Impossible that came out a few years ago. In that also true story, the mother of three sons is eventually reunited with her family. For the first several chapters, I kept expecting Deraniyagala to have a similar miraculous experience. Instead, she was forced to face the most horrible reality I can imagine: losing nearly everyone you love and surviving.
Deraniyagala is very transparent about the dark times she went through after the tsunami. It took her years to return to her home in England. Instead, she stayed with extended family in Sri Lanka, only a few hours from where her family died. Without the support of her family and friends, she surely would have succumbed to horrors of her grief. She shares about desire to end her life and how she developed a dependency on alcohol in those early months.
Reading Deraniyagala's story was certainly painful at times, especially in the early chapters. However, the book eventually became more about her relationships with each family member than her own grief. She shares beautiful stories of each of them and reminisces about the times they shared as she learns to cope with her loss.
Quote I Loved: "And earlier, as the new heat of the day warmed my bench on this wooden boat, their absence crowded me."
Will I Re-Read: Maybe.
A Reduced Review: After losing her family in the 2004 tsunami, Deraniyagala sorts out her grief and memorializes her loved ones through this memoir.
I'm proud to remind you that this book is on my 2015 TBR Pile Challenge list. I'm so excited I joined this challenge for the first time. I am enjoying having some structure to my TBR and the change to make intentional choices about what I read next. Make sure you check out the rest of my list and follow the challenge throughout the year.