With Angel’s Wings by Stephanie A. Collins
How do you review a memoir? It feels wrong to apply the same criteria I would apply to fiction. This isn’t a story someone has written to entertain the reader. This is someone’s life.
“With Angel’s Wings” is the brutally honest account of life with two handicapped children – one of them often closer to death than alive – and the resulting fight on many different fronts. Family, doctors, authorities, friends – there is no area of life unaffected.
If this was fiction, I would criticize the fact that problems are brought up in the course of the story which are not resolved satisfactorily. For example, one moment the situation with the children’s father escalates seemingly beyond repair and in the next moment his older daughter spends the weekend with him. How was the problem solved? I don’t know. But I do know that life is crazy; that other, more pressing things come up.
While a fiction author has time to spend on happily resolving problems to make the story perfect, a special needs mom is simply glad she doesn’t have to worry about one thing anymore while five others hit her in the face. That’s what this book mirrors.
You do not read it to enjoy carefully composed literature. You read it because you want to know how anyone can survive such an ordeal. You want to know what a true hero looks like – and how deep the emotional pit is she has to crawl out of over and over again.
It will touch you, unless you have a heart of stone.