An Unseen Angel
When Alissa Parker lost her daughter Emilie in the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting, she started a life-changing journey to answer soul-searching questions about faith, hope, and healing. As she sought for the peace and comfort that could help mend her broken heart, she learned, step by step, how to open her heart to God's Grace and will.
One step brought her face to face with the shooter's father, where in a pivotal and poignant meeting, she was given an opportunity to forgive. Another step brought her into the sheltering compassion of her community as family, friends, and even strangers reached out to buoy her up with their shared faith. And several miraculous manifestations of Emilie's continued presence and influence lifted her heart and will validate the faith of every Christian.
The story of Alissa and Emilie reminds us that the bonds of love continue beyond this life and that despite tragedy and heartache, we can find strength in our family and our faith.
|Book on CD||Unabridged, 5 discs, 263 minutes|
|Size||5.5 x 8|
|Published||Shadow Mountain 2017|
By Alexis Tanner, Submitted on 2017-05-23
I was a little hesitant to read this book because I was afraid I would just sob through the whole thing (I hate crying). I knew about what happened to Emilie Parker from the news and then also heard Alissa speak at a Women's Conference about the horrible event. She was an amazing speaker, but it's just such a sad story especially since I have children about Emilie's age. But I thought I would give it a try and am so glad I read this book! Alissa didn't choose to spend the whole book on the terrible death of her daughter, but focused a lot of it on her healing and the amazing experiences she had about her daughter's new life in heaven. It really helped me look at our life after death in ways I had never even thought about before. I did cry throughout the book, but it wasn't all sad tears. There were definitely happy moments and I felt joy and uplifted as I finished the book. I would definitely recommend it!
By Monica @ TheReadathon, Submitted on 2017-05-21
I remember where I was when I heard about the Sandy Hook school shooting. I was sobbing as I drove around town running errands. I can't even imagine what it would feel like to lose a child in such an awful way. This book is the story of a family who lost their daughter that day. It's heartbreaking to read. I cried through most of it. At the same time, I found that it was also full of hope and healing. It's well written and full of beautiful pictures of Emilie. Alissa and her family are an inspiration. I would recommend it for about 16-17 years-old and up. You may read my full review on my book blog: www.the-readathon.blogspot.com.
By Andrea, Submitted on 2017-05-12
I thought this would be a really hard book to read, and it was. I had to read in small bits (sometimes just a chapter at a time) because the tears/crying headache were too much. Sandy Hook was such a horrible event in our country. I cannot imagine sending my kids to school and getting a call that there's been a shooting, and then never seeing my child alive again. The act of the gunman is unthinkable. These little first graders were 100% innocent. It was truly a heartbreaking incident.
Time and time again as I read this book I thought about how good people are. Some of the acts of kindness (often by strangers) may have seemed like small things to the givers, but they all added up to huge actions that helped a family in a horrible time of crisis. The police officer washing and returning the clothing, the gifts of stuff animals and flowers from the airline employees, the police escorts, the co-workers donating their paid time off. So many things that just made me think about the goodness in this world.
It is inspiring to see that Alissa and her family were not destroyed by this tragedy. They suffered immensely, but they held strong to each other and their faith and lifted each other up in their worst moments.
One of the most important messages to me in this book is the message of forgiveness. I've never dealt with anything remotely close to this situation (and I hope I never have to), but I have been hurt and held onto bitter feelings. I can testify that when you let those bitter feeling go your life is so much better! Those feelings are truly a weight that holds us down. Forgiveness is an important part of the healing process. Alissa's ability to get to a point to recognize that Adam Lanza is also a child of God, loved by our Heavenly Father, helped her on her road to forgiveness. It was a major struggle, but over time she was not only able to forgive him, but to feel love and compassion for him.
By Katie, Submitted on 2017-05-03
I didn't want to read this book at first because I remember this incident and it was horrifying. How could a mother find peace and hope after this? I was intrigued by that thought and opened it up. And I read the whole thing in one sitting, all while crying my eyes out.
Alissa Parker is an amazing woman and I loved reading about her journey to finding it in her heart to forgive, therefore finding peace. Her sweet little girl was only 11 days younger than my youngest daughter, so this tragedy hit home. Emilie packed a lot of life into a short amount of time and I think even after her death, through this book, she's going to be touching many lives.
The Sandy Hook shooting ripped the hearts of many around the world--so many young, innocent lives lost. How could it be possible to move past that. I love that it's a process and it's not an easy road to travel. This author gives hope to many, not just those in her circumstance, by showing the steps she took and by realizing the many miracles, blessings, and tender mercies that happened around that time and afterward. I seriously couldn't put it down and was deeply moved. I think if all of us in times of trial reflect on our faith, no matter what it is, and take the time to grieve and heal, we, too, can find that peace.
Content: nothing too graphic, but it definitely tugs on the heart (violence); religious elements
*I received a copy through the publisher, which did not affect my thoughts in any way.*
By S. Staley, Submitted on 2017-04-24
An Unseen Angel is a hard story to read. It will bring you to tears. Alissa bears her soul as she writes of her grief after her daughter,Emilie, was killed in the Sandy Hook school shootings in 2012 in Newton, Connecticut. Readers will follow Alissa's hard journey as she learns to live life without her daughter and not let bitterness and grief rule her life. With the help of her religion (LDS) with her belief in life after death and that there are angels around us, she finally finds peace in her life.
There is much to gain for those readers who are going through the grief process and reading how anyone can heal from a tragic loss by having faith in their life, searching for the peace that can come from forgiving others and forgiving yourself depending on your own circumstances. Despite the tragic story of great loss, readers will be lifted up by the beautiful messages found in Alissa's story.
By Sharon, Submitted on 2017-04-21
There is no way to read this book without bawling. I remember the day of the shooting- exactly where I was and what happened. I remember seeing Emile's beautiful face on the news and then the funeral that they had in Utah. This book is hard to read, especially if you have children. I think the author was very brave to tell her story and expose herself to the world. The first several chapters had me crying as we journey down memory lane with her. She tells us how things happened on that horrific day and the months following. She tells us of the tragic loss of her father just months before. If the rating was based purely on the first half of the book I would give it a 5 star rating, but the remainder of the book was not written as well. The author actually started with the assistance of one author and then she had a different author help her finish the book. That can clearly be seen. The quality dramatically dropped. I know she is not an experienced author and she did very well considering, I think the problem was the author tutoring her may have taken a different direction with the book. I don't want to judge her or point out faults with the book because I can't even imagine how hard it would be to write a book like that after such a tragedy. However, in my opinion she shared several very personal spiritual experiences that I think would be better kept to herself. It seems like too much to open some of them up to the world. I also felt like she was so desperate to see Emile in everything that she "forced" some of the experiences. Maybe not, I don't know, but to me they seemed forced. Like I said, I don't mean to judge, I just give my honest opinion. I think that some parts of this book could benefit others who have so tragically lost a loved one, especially someone who was killed by another person- either accidentally or on purpose. That is probably the only group I would rally suggest read this book. It could help them have the experience of another person to help them work through their own pain. I did enjoy the first several chapters but I did not finish this book feeling "uplifted." This book did not help me build faith. A good book changes you. It makes you want to be better to do better or to see the world differently- this book did not do that for me.
By Cathy J, Submitted on 2017-04-17
I will admit that this book had me bawling like a baby! I really enjoyed reading about Alissa Parker's life and her experiences with the Sandy Hook tragedy. Being a mother myself, made the whole story hit me harder than it probably would have otherwise, but her story is really compelling and...well, amazing.
I was amazed by the way she used her faith to move on. And I was really amazed at the way she was able to connect several seemingly unrelated tragedy's to strengthen her faith and be able to move on in caring for her other two children.
I love the way she shares her faith in the eternity of both our lives and our families. I can not even imagine how people who don't have faith in eternal life deal with the death of family members, especially when they die in tragic ways, as in this case.
If I ever get the blessing of meeting Alissa Parker, I want to just wrap my arms around her and give her a big hug, both because of what she went through, but also because of her strength and willingness to share her life with the world.
I enjoyed reading this book, but as I was cleaning one day, I also turned on my Deseret Bookshelf Plus and listened to a few chapters of the audio book. I don't know who reads it, but I like to think I was listening to the author as she described some of what she had done to be able to move on.
Go grab this great book, you'll be inspired to do better with your own challenges!
By Heidi G., Submitted on 2017-04-05
I clearly remember the day that Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and 6 adults. I was at the elementary school I work at now. I remember the horror I felt as the details started to come in. But the emotions I felt were nothing compared to those of those who lost a loved one that day. Alissa Parker's 6-year-old daughter was among the twenty children whose mortal lives ended that day. In this book, she walks the reader through her experiences both leading up to that day and the year that followed. I'll admit that I shed plenty of tears reading this tender account of a mother's love for her daughter, and the grief that followed her loss.
As Alissa and her family struggled to deal with this tragedy in their lives, they sought for a way to somehow find healing in the face of utter heartbreak. I can't really do Alissa's account justice, I can just recommend that you read it. Yes, it's a story of tragedy and grief, but it's also a story of family, friends, and compassion. It's a story of evil choices made and the resulting anger and bitterness that often accompany such things. But it's also a remarkable story of forgiveness, and peace, and God's love. The photographs that accompany the story reveal a beautiful little girl who touched the lives of many, far beyond her years, both in life and death.
I admire Alissa's willingness to share such an incredibly difficult experience with the world. And even more so the tender experiences of prayers answered. While the story revolves around a tragic event, it still manages to show beauty coming from ashes and the love that God has for his children and His willingness to help us through the challenges we face.
By Becca (aka Paij Slater), Submitted on 2017-04-03
Actually I don't believe there is a high enough book rating for this book. I believe it needs at least 10 stars!!!!
I have been trying to put my words on paper about this book. Then I decided there are no words that would adequately express how much this book touched my heart.
I had a chance to hear Alissa talk about her tragedy in person. It was just as hard to put into words then how I felt as it is now after reading the book.
I am also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Her stories inspired me, and touched me so deeply and still do. It wasn't until I finished reading her book, that I realized it doesn't matter what religion, background and color etc. we may be, this book is inspiring. It teaches about love, healing, and finding our way though tragedy. Every one will experience some kind of tragedy, at some point in their life. Whether little or big. What this book teaches, is how to go about healing after the tradegy without becoming bitter.
I cannot imagine what Alissa and her husband Robbie and family went through on that fateful day, and still do. Yet she has found a way to be happy and find healing in the simple things in life. She has found a way to connect with her sweet child that is no longer with her physically on this earth, but is still very much with her.
I cannot tell you how emotional this book made me either. This is hands down one of my biggest fears every day as a mother. When I send my kids off to school every day, and have actually gone through some shut downs at school because of kids who make bad choices. I cannot fathom a life without my children in it. Yet, I see through this book, and through my own faith that we are never really separated. Though we may not always be together physically, we will always be together.
If you are suffering with loss in any way, please take a moment to read this book. It doesn't take long. It is powerful, and uplifting. It is inspiring. Although the reason for this book is horribly tragic, the words written on the paper and the sweet pictures included, far out weigh the tragedy.
I cannot thank Alissa enough for being willing to put her thoughts into words to inspire others. This book has changed my life. It has given me a greater understanding of life after death. It has increased my faith, and understanding of the importance of always treasuring those moments with our kids while they have been placed in our possession on this earth.
I could go on an on about how much this book has touched and inspired me, so I hope you take the opportunity to experience it for yourself. You will not regret it. The sweet feeling of peace that came over me while reading it, I hope will stay with me for a very long time.
Source: I was given this book as part of a blog tour. I was not compensated in any way for this review. These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.