Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review of Left at the Altar by Kimberley Kennedy


I was given a copy of “Left at the Altar” by Kimberley Kennedy from BookSneeze. This was a simply delightful book! I can already hear some of you: “Now hold on, Sharon. Delightful? Is this book about what I think it is?” You bet your sweet patootie it is! And Kimberly doesn't pull any punches either. She completely exposes herself. This gorgeous, highly successful TV anchor woman doesn't leave out a detail of every hope, dream and joy that gets smashed during her wedding rehearsal when Lew, her fiance, tells her that he, “just can't go through with it.”

To add insult to injury, he sends his sister to break the news to everyone else and to ask them to be sensitive because the whole thing was “very hard on poor Lew.” His family then proceeds to secure the band that was to play for the reception to perform for a dinner they would  give later that day for would be wedding guests. Good old Lew takes his brother to the South of France where the honeymoon was to be (why waste money?) and afterwards moves into the house they had bought together.

Do you hate Lew, yet?

The rest of the book is Kennedy's step by step journey from hating and blaming God (she never could bring herself to blame Lew), going through all the stages of grief (that she describes very well and accurately-which I unfortunately know from experience) to her journey back to God and discovering some painful things about herself through self- or rather Godly- examination. This examination allows her to understand that the real blame lay within her own proud, driven-to-succeed nature that had to be in control of every aspect of her life and a refusal to yield to God's will for her life.

Kimberley's honest evaluation of her own character and review of her relationship with Lew (lots and lots of red flags that she ignored because she was going to get what SHE wanted) gives the rest of us invaluable insight and wisdom that will hopefully help others avoid the painful path she walked down.

This book also provides much comfort for all of us who have gone through loss and rejection- not just those who have been stilted at the alter, but women who have experienced abandonment through divorce, death, or unexpected break ups. Kennedy has an irrepressible optimism and sense of humor that keeps this book from being a dreary pity party and allows the reader to enjoy her story with laughter as well as tears. I read it in two days because her intimate style of writing was so engaging. I was at the end of one chapter before I knew it and had to “read just one more.”

Kennedy includes in her book many personal stories of other ladies who have gone through the anguish of being deserted, either by a boyfriend that was surely “the one” to women who have had their husbands walk out. She also has a surprising chapter from the “cad's” perspective. A few brave men explain their actions and their honesty provides the female readers (as if a man would read this book) with a rare opportunity to get inside the male head and better interpret the interplay in their next relationship. I probably found that chapter to be the most useful.

Kimberly also gives her own steps to recovery as well as advice to the rest of us. To all my fellow BSFers out there, one of her steps was to get involved in a good, solid Bible study (guess which one she belongs to?).

I'll close with a story Kennedy shares that became the theme to her recovery from grief, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness:

While Kimberley was at the mall, a complete stranger approached her. This woman knew her story (it had made the headlines, of course, since she's a TV personality). The lady just told her one thing: “Man's rejection, God's protection.” With that, the woman walked away. Kimberly writes that she has repeated that phrase to herself over and over again. She has come to understand that ultimately God allowed her to go through this dark valley because He knew it would lead her to His door. Or maybe I should say it led her to the door in her heart that He had been knocking at all her life.

Do I think you should read this book? Let me put it this way: I'm asking you to please read this book!

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