Monday, July 31, 2017

I'll Push You - a book review

I love reading true adventure stories so when I was given an opportunity to review the book, I'll Push You by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck, I couldn't wait to start reading. The story begins with Justin explaining his health issues that began not long after a motor vehicle accident he suffered in 1991. He began to notice weakness in his foot and leg. After many visits to doctors and several incorrect diagnoses, he finally receives the information he's needed. He is diagnosed with Multifocal Acquired Motor Axonopathy, also called by the acronym "MAMA." This disease is similar to ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a muscle wasting disease that renders its victims physically debilitated.

After Justin receives his diagnosis, he contacts his long time friend, Patrick Gray. Patrick and Justin have known each other since birth and have remained good friends throughout the years. Justin shares a dream with Patrick and asks for his help. Justin longs to travel the Camino De Santiago, a network of routes across Spain and Europe which all lead to Santiago de Compostela, in the northwest of Spain. Justin wants to accomplish this goal as a way to prove to himself that he can overcome his physical limitations. Patrick finally agrees to accompany Justin and tells him "I'll push you." As Patrick makes that commitment, he has no idea what lies ahead.

Justin and Patrick begin planning their trip and realize they face insurmountable odds. They have no equipment, no finances, and neither of them know how to take a wheelchair over rugged terrain. They begin to pray and God answers in ways they could never fathom. A local company agrees to purchase the specialized wheelchair Justin needs, friends and strangers donate money to buy the equipment, and God sends a team to help document the journey.

As Justin and Patrick begin their journey they begin to see that God wants them to learn more about themselves and about Him along the way. Traveling over rocky paths, through dense mud and other obstacles, Justin and Patrick forge a deeper friendship with each other and a deeper faith in God. Patrick thought he was going on this journey to help his friend reach a lifelong goal but he never expected to receive the spiritual insight God allowed him to experience.

This book touched my heart in so many ways. In 1991, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident which left me in a wheelchair for a year and a half. As I was praying for the crushed bones in my leg to heal, I had to learn how to maneuver day to day life without use of my legs. I could personally relate to Justin as I read the physical challenges he faced. It was at that time in my life, God used my trial to draw me closer to Him so I wasn't surprised when Justin shared incidents in his own life where God had done the same thing. In reading about Justin and Patrick's devotion to one another, I was reminded of a several verses in the Bible, "A friend loveth at all times," and "Greater love hath no man than he who lays down his life for his friends." Those verses speak to the type friendship Justin and Patrick shared, a very rare and valuable one.

I think you'll enjoy this book and I highly recommend it. It's easy to read and well written. The first hand accounts given by Justin and Patrick help the reader grasp the differences in their personalities and discover more about their faith.

I'd like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not encouraged to give a positive review.

If you'd like to purchase the book on Amazon, click here.

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