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Letters for Lizzie: A Story of Love, Friendship, and a Battle for Life [Paperback]

By James O'Donnell (Author)
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Item description for Letters for Lizzie: A Story of Love, Friendship, and a Battle for Life by James O'Donnell...

A remarkable true story of a husband's love for his cancer-stricken wife, this book contains O'Donnell's insights on faith, illness, and healing. A special section gives advice on "how to think" and "what to do" when faced with life-threatening illness.

Publishers Description
Having just made a cross-country move, Jim expected that his new assignment from God was to teach in a small college in Indiana. He wasn't prepared for the task of dealing with the onset of his wife's battle for her life. A wide prayer network began. With personal reflections on a painful, years-long ordeal of cancer and heart disease, this book is the compilation of those insights, as well as insights on faith, illness, and healing. A special section gives advice on "how to think" and "what to do" when faced with life-threatening illness. This is a remarkable true story of a husband's love for his sick wife.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Letters for Lizzie: A Story of Love, Friendship, and a Battle for Life by James O'Donnell has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Library Journal - 03/15/2004
  • CBA Retailers - 04/01/2004 page 42
  • Christian Retailing - 06/22/2004 page 60
  • Christianity Today - 07/01/2004 page 67

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Northfield Publishing
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.62" Width: 4.94" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.48 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2004
Publisher   Northfield Publishing
Edition  New  
ISBN  1881273016  
ISBN13  9781881273011  

Availability  0 units.

More About James O'Donnell

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! JAMES ODONNELL spent many years as an executive in the financial services industry with such firms as Fidelity Investments and the Dreyfus Corporation. He is currently a professor of Business and Economics at Huntington University. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his MBA from Columbia University. He is the author of Letters for Lizzie and Walking with Arthur, which chronicle his wifes battle with cancer and his spiritual journey as they walked through those trials together. ODonnell currently resides in Huntington, Indiana.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious
3Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Disorders & Diseases > Cancer > Breast Cancer
4Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Disorders & Diseases > Cancer > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Inspirational

Christian Product Categories
Books > Inspiration > Motivation > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Letters for Lizzie: A Story of Love, Friendship and a Battle for Life?

James O'Donnell, Indiana author, moved to the state from the east coast with a huge income reduction for the purpose of teaching in a Christian school. Soon after arriving in Huntington for his Huntington University assignment, his wife, Lizzie was diagnosed with cancer.

It is an amazing story beginning with a fight with cancer and developing into a heart transplant need along with many, many struggles with her health over a rather short period of time. The author, originally wrote letters to friends back in the east for prayer support. One negative letter would be followed with a positive only to be needing correction after the next setback occurred. It is an amazing honest struggle with health, life, financial, and family issues in a time when their world was collapsing. When most of us would give up. Jim and Lizzie maintained their faith in God even when the darkest days invaded their life.

After a chance to meet the author, I discovered the man to be a true Christian and a very caring person. His love for Lizzie is without doubt, and their faith is yet strong, even as continued health testing and issues invade their days.

This story of faith and refusal of give up is inspirational for any person or couple dealing with loss of any kind. Not just medical ills, but the book will encourage even those dealing with financial loss, grief from death or separation, and a host of other issues that attack human joy in life.

This is a book my wife and I have given several times as a gift, and recommend it being used that way. It is a ministry tool to help those in need to cope with what they face in their own struggle. It is a must for every church library.

Jim also wrote "Walking with Arthur" after releasing "Letters for Lizzie". His second book is about how he became acquainted with Christ through the friendship of Arthur. You will want to read it also. And...I've heard... from the author's own words...another book is being written.
Wonderfully writtten!   Mar 17, 2007
Written from a husband's point of view. Compassionate, loving and glorifying to God.

This is an emotionally difficult book to read -- Lizzie experiences further health problems because of her treatment and she ultimately does pass away -- but it was a book that I could not put down. O'Donnell is honest about Lizzie's persevering spirit, his anguish at not being able to help/save his wife, and the theological questions this presented.

I would recommend this book wholeheartedly to caregivers and friends. More cautiously recommend it to cancer patients -- depending upon their individual prognosis, this book could be inspiring or discouraging (this is true with all personal stories related to cancer/disease). For me personally, as a Christian and a breast cancer patient, it was good to read about someone who loves God so much but who questioned and anguised over the sorrow that disease brings. The decision to buy or gift this book should be made on a case-by-case basis.
For Anyone Battling Cancer   Oct 30, 2006
This book is a worthy companion to Sheldon Vanauken's A Grief Observed. Highly recommended for anyone battling terminal illness and wondering how to make sense of God's presence in the midst of unbearable physical struggle.
A Journey of Compassion  Aug 10, 2005
"Cancer teaches you harshly to think short-term, holding everything loosely." ~James O'Donnell

It is difficult enough to know how to react when a someone you love is diagnosed with cancer and even more difficult to face the reality of a friend or relative entering treatment for this devastating disease which tests the very fabric of existence. Letters for Lizzie explores even deeper struggles as a man's heart makes a transition from wanting a divorce to fighting for his wife's life with every ounce of strength he possesses.

Letters for Lizzie is a journey through a spiritual crisis where James O'Donnell is forced to reevaluate his life when Lizzie is diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Together they travel through sickness and sorrow from Christmas in 1994 to July 2, 1996. While this book is filled with thirteen letters, James O'Donnell also provides a setting for each reading experience.

At first you may question James' decision to relocate his family and take a cut in his salary to become a teacher, but as the story unfolds, you start to realize how God works in amazing ways to put you in a place you need to be so you can be loved and nurtured. Not only do they move close to an Advanced Research Center, the community they live in supports them and cares for them through their struggles with frustration, anger and failed expectations.

As doctors struggle to keep Lizzie alive, she continues to weaken and yet manages to find the strength to write Letter Eight. Her strength and positive attitude wanes at times and yet even in this dark time she has a deep faith and commitment to God. In her letter she says:

I know it has cost each of you dearly to ride this wild roller coaster with us, yet I am convinced that it is your prayers and God's mercy that have carried us through this ordeal so far, and I can't begin to thank you. The best way I know how is to share with you the wonderfully ordinary life we now live, which we no longer take for granted. ~Lizzie

Written from a husband's perspective, James O'Donnell deftly describes the destructive qualities of the cancer diagnosis and gives insights into how to fight and how to surrender. I was surprised by the life affirming qualities of this work and how a story of cancer could be one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever read.

Tomorrow my father will find out what it will take to fight his cancer and this book has helped me to understand how I should react, what I should say and how my life will change in the coming months and years. Like so many, I never thought cancer would invade my family and just the knowledge of illness causes you to reevaluate your priorities.

If you are struggling with the emotional aspects of dealing with a cancer diagnosis or you are in the midst of fighting this disease, this book will bring comfort to your heart. In our world, where uncertainty is certain, this book provides a peaceful knowledge of God's care for us even when we think he has disappeared. James O'Donnell's conclusions are beautiful and he provides insight into troubling conflicts and difficult interpersonal relationships. In the end, kindness is what matters most and our presence in the life of someone who is suffering might be what is truly needed, even if we don't know what to say.

~The Rebecca Review
Amazing story of trials and perseverance.  May 14, 2004
This true life story gripped me as I read about Lizzie's horrific battle to overcome amazing obstacles in miraculous ways. I became part of the story, cheering for Lizzie and fearing the worst with James. Once again, I'm reminded of the truly important things in life--love and family. This is true life heroism. A truly remarkable story with remarkable outcomes.

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