Reviews

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“This book is a powerful story in how breaking down is breaking through.” – Mike Monahan best selling author of From The Jungle to the Boardroom.

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“Truly an inspirational story on so many levels. A must read for everyone who ever thought it was them against the world. If you are looking for hope or healing in any situation this story will help in the healing to know that you are not alone!!” - Maureen M.

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It was an ominous feeling, one of those dreams portending something was going to happen to Bryant if he went on that trip to the gorge. Catie could probably, like all mothers, chalk it up to instinct. Indeed, any time a child wanders beyond the boundaries of the home there could be dire consequences, but Bryant was no longer a child in need of reprimand. Reluctantly, she allowed young James to accompany his older brother on the camping trip. Perhaps with his younger brother along the focus would be more on the wonders of nature rather than partying. Bryant was a man at twenty-one and lectures about alcohol held no weight. Things would work out well and her boys would return safely. Or would they?

It would be the year of the cicadas as they emerged from the ground to leave their own legacy behind, a legacy that visited the earth once in every seventeen years. They’d emerge from the ground to destroy the vegetation around them and leave eggs behind for the next onslaught. It was the year that Bryant would leave his own legacy behind, a year that would be as memorable as that of the cicadas, fraught with nightmarish memories that not even a mother’s love could repair. It was Steve who answered the phone. As an afterthought, Cam, Bryant’s girlfriend made the call when Ace, contacted her. “Bryant has been hurt …”

Ace and James woke up that morning, but Bryant was missing. Perhaps he’d gone for an early hike. Sporadically they heard noise washing over their camp, but more than likely it was other campers. Unfortunately it was emanating from Bryant, his moaning was eerily drifting from below. He has fallen 180 feet to the depths of the gorge and was fighting for his life. James began his descent to find his brother, but it would be hours before help arrived. “Take care of your brother, don’t let him get hurt,” Catie had said to Bryant, but it was now up to James to save the brother who was supposed to tend to him.

Steve and Catie would stay by Bryant’s side, but at times it seemed like the only thing they had to hang on to was prayer. The tubes were everywhere, the ventilator told them he was alive, and that chuck pad somehow stole away their son’s remaining dignity. Catie’s mantra, “I believe in the power of Christ,” was scant comfort when they learned of the extent of Bryant’s injuries. There was the skull fracture, the contra-coup, and the stroke. “Hey Buddy,” the nurse would call out, “can you hear me, can you give me a sign, can you hear me?” Could anyone hear a mother’s anguish? Their fight had just begun and Bryant would start to emerge to leave his mark in the year of the cicadas. The Neurological ICU would hear him fight as his “aggressive nastiness” aimed at Catie became worse. Would her faith enable her to stay with her son until he recovered? With such a dire prognosis, would he, could he move beyond this vegetative state?

This is an amazing story of the power of faith and a mother’s love for her son. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a medical issue that many parents have to face, particularly when their children are in car accidents. I was awed by Catie’s tenacity and faith, in spite of the obstacles she faced. Yes, it is the tale of how TBI can impact a family, but also the power of a woman who would give anything for her child. Obviously, this was not an easy story to write, and consequently not an easy one to read. The pain wafts from the pages as the struggles goes on and on. Unlike Joni Eareckson Tada’s tale, this one is much more detailed and told from a different vantage point. It’s a tale of struggle and not a pretty one nor exciting one. This is a story of miracles, a mother’s love, and unwavering faith. Somehow, as a mother, it was a universal tale of love I can totally relate to.

-D. Fowler (Top 30 Amazon Reviewer)

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I received this book directly from the author, and added it to the stack I have waiting for when I have time to read them. I picked it up last week to thumb through it, and ended up putting it down 3 hours later. I stayed up WAY past my bedtime several nights in a row because I *had* to know how it ended.

Catie wrote a book of raw and honest emotion, as much about her own growth and recovery as about her son’s. I found myself crying along with her during the desperate parts of the book, and nodding my head while thinking “yes! I do that too!” while reading almost every page.

This isn’t just an overwrought chick-lit book – it’s a true story of a family faced with a horrible tragedy, and the way each of them coped with it. Catie’s son, Bryant, fell over a cliff while hiking, and in that instant their “normal” family changed forever.

As a mother of four kids, I can’t imagine a more nightmarish situation than seeing one of them full of tubes and in a coma. Catie’s faith in God and her faith in her son were all that sustained her day after day, and I’m not sure I could manage the patience and faith she had. I won’t spoil the ending for those who are planning to read the book – I’ll just say bring tissues and prepare yourself for an emotional re-assessment of your own life, relationships and priorities. You will love your family more deeply and see life differently after you finish this wonderful book.

Catie also shares a lot of information about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), both for the patient and for those who care for a loved one struggling with with it. I plan to pass this book along to a friend of mine who is struggling with her husband’s TBI.

-Lisa K. (Top 250 Amazon Reviewer)

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“The Year of the Cicadas is a riveting story of strength and love. The Hartsfield’s remarkable journey underscores the power of hope, faith and courage. It’s a reminder that anything is possible and that life is a truly precious gift.” -Lisa M.

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“I was enthralled by this story, overwhelmed with emotion as I couldn’t imagine how I could find the strength to live through Katie’s journey. All emotions were tapped; sadness, anger, happiness, concern and sheer joy. It is a book you won’t be able to put down.” -Pamela C.

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“The Year of the Cicadas is a courageous and inspiring tale about a mother and family who heals from the inside out and emerges stronger than they ever thought possible. To me it also teaches a poignant lesson in the power of self-awareness. Are you really living the life you want or just disappearing behind the details? As a woman, a mother, and a wife, this story really touched my heart.” -Lynn W

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2 Responses to “Reviews”

  1. Kayte B. November 26, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    I read this book in less than 24 hours as I could not put it down. It was truely inspirational and displayed the true power of faith and family. Further, as a nursing student, I realized the importance of being a patient advocate and working together with patient’s families. This realization will remain with me throughout my nursing career. This book has opened my eyes in more ways than one and I will be forever amazed with this family’s strength. Catie, thank you for sharing your story. You’re an amazing woman!

    • Catie Hartsfield January 24, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

      Thank you Kayte, the response to our story has been overwhelming. I am so happy that it touched you. Your review really touches my heart.

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