Author Marie Maiden undertook an eighteen-year journey to find her father, a man who had left her family when she was a small child. She had no real recollection of him as a person, but throughout her life, she had always felt like something was missing. After weathering through a teen pregnancy that resulted in a handicapped child, as well as several failed relationships, she finally met a woman who took her to church and introduced her to a God who cared about her and loved her. It was around this time that Marie became truly serious about doing whatever it took to locate her father, so that she could finally put the longing to know this man to rest. You Cannot Find Peace Until You Find All The Pieces chronicles not only the events that led to her making this fateful decision and the search itself, but also the surprising things she learned about her ancestry and the emotional healing that she found after finally completing this seemingly impossible task.
You Cannot Find Peace Until You Find All The Pieces is author Marie Maiden's inspirational memoir that is primarily about her eighteen year search for her father and how that affected her life, both before and after locating him. Her story is a relatively short one. It only took me a couple of hours to read, but she manages to pack quite a bit into its sixty-four pages. It begins with an explanation of how, in the course of trying to find her father, she first found her heritage, which traces back to slaves on the plantations of Virginia in the 1800's. In the first couple of chapters Ms. Maiden chronicles many of the details she discovered about her ancestry and some historical facts from that era. Being a history buff, this part was very interesting from a historical perspective, but I didn't feel like it gave me much insight into how, or if, discovering this information affected her on a personal level or contributed to her later emotional healing.
From there the author takes us through her early life growing up and the difficulties of becoming the teenage mother of a handicapped child. During this time she felt her father's absence keenly. He had left the family when she was very young, so she had no real memories of him, only what little information she'd gleaned from her mother. I really admire her for finishing school and continuing on to college in spite of the challenges of doing so with a small child. I also can appreciate how hard it must have been to make the loving choice to eventually allow someone better capable of the task to raise that child. After one failed marriage and a string of failed dating relationships, Ms. Maiden met a woman who invited her to church, and that's when things really started to change for her. Feeling a strong need to do so, she began searching for her father in earnest. I really have to give her credit for sheer persistence. It took many years, lots of phone calls, and thousands of letters to finally make some contacts with people who actually knew her dad. Although by then, the man himself had already passed on, leaving no chance of a happy father/daughter reunion, she was able to learn about him from his friends and family members, many of whom welcomed her.
Once this task was accomplished and she had found all the missing pieces of the puzzle of her life, everything seemed to fall into place for her, to where she finally felt that the healing could begin. In the latter chapters, the author discusses how God really began to move and change her for the better. I have to say that I was very impressed with her self-awareness, and her willingness to apologize and ask forgiveness from others she had wronged in the past. This is a very difficult thing for most of us to do. I also appreciated how she talked about constantly renewing our minds. I recently read something similar in another book, but it's a truth of which I always seem to need reminding. Maybe God is trying to tell me something?:-)
Overall, I enjoyed You Cannot Find Peace Until You Find All The Pieces. The story moves at a pretty fast pace, and I never felt bored at all. In general, I thought it was well-written, although a little more attention could have been paid to editing as I found some repetition in wording. I also have a feeling that many readers will balk at the nearly $20 cover price for a paperback book that is essentially novella length (and I can't blame them), but it is a very worthwhile read. Perhaps the author will eventually be able to release it in e-book format for a cheaper price, which I think would make it possible for her to reach a much broader reader base. All in all though, despite any small misgivings, I found You Cannot Find Peace Until You Find All The Pieces to be an inspiring little book that I think would help others who might have experienced similar circumstances in their lives.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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