Someone to Talk To: Finding Peace, Purpose, and Joy After Tragedy and Loss
by Samantha M. White

Yankee Drummer Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-983-21420-5.
Reviewed by Shawn LaTorre
Posted on 12/02/2011

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Life Lessons; Nonfiction: Faith/Spirituality/Inspiration

Samantha White's latest book is a personal odyssey page turner. Through it she reveals a sorrowful journey from finding a way past a failed marriage, enduring the sudden, tragic death of one of her daughters, to learning to feel secure with solitude as she charges (literally with a charge card) her way around the east coast and parts of the world in search of release from her sorrows.

Her sojourn is divided into five parts: Falling, Searching, Climbing, Emerging, and A Recipe for a Healed Life. The pivotal event from which all Ms. White's future endeavors are benchmarked is the death of her beloved youngest daughter, Rebecca. The book begins with a 3:15 a.m. knock at the door by her former husband. He bears the unthinkable news: "Becka" has been killed in a vehicular homicide. Ms. White's thoughts flash back to life with two young daughters and husband. Here, the reader enters scenes from a typical family life, yet, there is a sense that something is amiss with the relationship between Samantha and her husband. Samantha, duty bound, is wearing herself out trying to "save" someone who appears to be clinically depressed and unable to hold a job, and who begins to show signs of paranoia about his wife leaving him. When Samantha packs up to take a break for a short period of time with Becka, the marriage quickly unravels amid cries of "abandonment" and she is catapulted into life as a single mother. Three years later, daughter Sasha remains, but Becka has gone.

A new companion, Nick, enters the picture. With a penchant for love-making, he bolsters Samantha's diminishing sense of self and proves to be a master in the art of disappearing. For a time, however, Nick plays an important role in soothing Samantha's soul, as do friends and relatives who provide support during these traumatic years. When her support people eventually retreat into their normal routines, she is left staring life down with the guidance of a trusted psychotherapist and a charge card in her hand.

Samantha begins an intensive search for work, truth, and her "right livelihood," all the while traveling from state to state talking to friends, nuns, rabbis, or listening to suggestions that arise from silent meditations in nature. Finally, the realization of the right career path emerges: social work is the one that will yield the most joy and for which she is perfectly suited. Through social work, Samantha realizes, she will be able to honor her own strengths as "one who listens," as well as honor the memory of her daughter Becka, remembered as one who enjoyed helping people.

White's clear and moving testimony will propel even the most tearful and hopeless toward taking inventory, action, and paving a personal road to healing. Her special gift: a critical, loving, must-read recipe for healing and moving on. This recipe, tweakable, is good for a lifetime.

Samantha M. White, MSW, LICSW, is a psychotherapist and life coach in private practice. She has earned college degrees in Pre-Med, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Social Work, achieving her most recent degree, the MSW, at the age of fifty-five. Her career has spanned the fields of medical research, education, health care administration, business and medical, hospice, and clinical social work, and she is a writer, educator, and public speaker. She lives in New England with her jazz musician husband, plays folk harp and percussion instruments, and enjoys kayaking on quiet rivers and ponds. Someone To Talk To is her first book. Read more about her on her website and on the book website, where you'll find more information about the book, as well as the blog.

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