From the Heart of a Mother
by Sherri A. Stanczak


Publish America, 2007. ISBN 1-4241-6694-2.
Reviewed by Lee Ambrose
Posted on 03/26/2008

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Life Lessons

From the copyright page of From the Heart of a Mother: "At the specific preference of the author, PublishAmerica allowed this work to remain exactly as the author intended, verbatim, without editorial input."

I read these words and immediately the proofreader in me saw a huge red flag... a warning to those of us who can't let improper grammar and punctuation slide by without correction. But, in the end, it didn't matter that there were misspelled words or that there was plenty of less than perfect grammar and punctuation. To allow her readers to see the unedited piece was a brave move on Sherri Stanczak's part. It shows the same kind of bravery that she musters every day as she faces her life with multiple sclerosis.

Stanczak writes (as her title reveals) from her heart about what matters most to her—her relationships with her three sons, the daily struggles she faces as she lives with multiple sclerosis, her family and memories from the past. Her poignant collection of stories and poems tackle the tough topics she's confronted in life: illness, divorce, the guilt of the age-old debate over being a working mother vs a stay-at-home-mom, the stress of being all things to all people, the pain of an absent grandchild. With equal grace she shares the beauty she finds in life: a small child's "treasures," the love of grandparents, the joy of being a grandparent herself, the sons who have been her constant source of strength and inspiration as they journey life's path with her.

Some of her poems and stories are light-hearted glimpses of the life of a mom of three boys: "What would our house be like without little cars and trucks/Without Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Donald Duck...." (from "Our House," pg. 29)

" A frog, a feather and even a stick/You can have one, Mom, just take your pick." ("Little Boy's Treasures," pg. 33)

Other poems tug at your heart strings as you read: "Someday you're going to want me/The way I've wanted you./Someday you'll want to love me/But I won't want you to." ("Someday," pg. 54)

At the end of her book, in a chapter titled "A Jungle Journey," Sherri shares three children's stories she has written. Each has an animal as the main character. Each tells a tale of that animal dealing with a real childhood issue: self-esteem, having to wear glasses, trying to sort out the ways in which family units differ. Each animal story stems from one of Sherri's memories about a specific son. What a treasure for her sons and their children—and the children who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to hear these charming tales.


Sherri Stanczak is a woman living with multiple sclerosis. She is the mother of three sons to whom this book is dedicated.

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