Saturday, 15 August 2015

Another Comprehensive Review By Eddie Hewitt

A Life Steered is a wonderful but sometimes heart-rending story of Sandra, an ambitious young woman who finds herself having to endure a series of painful experiences and emotions, interspersed with only moments of happiness. Some of the challenges seem unbearable, but still Sandra holds on to her dreams of a more fulfilling life.  

The story is semi-autobiographical, with the author finding the writing process a form of therapy as well as a channel for delivering an engaging story. Thoughtful and compelling to read, the story also offers hope to those who may be seeking to overcome their own hardship and sadness (i.e. most of us at some point).

Sandra, a young Zimbabwean girl, is the oldest child in her family, headed by a father who drinks too much and frequently changes his partner. The mother has been long gone. Sandra wishes to pursue her education to pave the way to a better future, but circumstances conspire against her. The will is there, but the resources are not. Unable to improve herself in the way she hopes and expects, Sandra finds her life being steered in a different direction.

Marriage soon follows, after a surprise and as a moral necessity, but also out of love for a man who loves her back and supports her. Sandra gets the chances to train as a teacher, but to get there she has to undertake a number of unpleasant journeys on public transport, fighting off the unbearable heat and the unwelcome attention of lecherous men, and falling victim to a cruel confidence trickster. Moving forward is never easy. The marriage is tragically short-lived, and Sandra has to pick up the pieces of her life yet again. Other relationships follow, but they all appear destined to fail, and Sandra forever seems to have only herself to rely on. Ultimately, we leave her on the brink of a new and potentially rewarding journey that deserves, almost demands a sequel.

There are many intriguing and interlinking themes in the story. Becoming a woman, education, family struggles, lack of male support, financial troubles, finding and losing love, resilience and exceeding the expectations of others. As the story develops, the concept of a divine will is developed.

If there is one defining message, for me, it is the awareness that we cannot rely on earthly relationships. Other people will invariably let us down, sometimes through no fault or will of their own. So we have to be strong within ourselves. We have to develop the confidence and the courage to move forward with a purpose that sometimes seems to make little sense.

A Life Steered is not a happy story, for the most part, but it is nevertheless inspiring. Full of warmth and commitment, it reveals the author’s passion for sharing something of her own life in order to help others. The message will apply to many of us, if we are prepared to look deep and to acknowledge some key truths. Sandra is humble, but she is also a leader and someone who has a story worth listening to. And I want to know how the story continues…

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