Fri | Jun 2, 2023

Book Review - An easily enjoyable and engaging book

Published:Sunday | February 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

  • Title: 'On Seraph Wings:
  • Memoirs of a Country Girl'
  • Author: Sandra Palmer-Peart

On Seraph Wings: Memoirs of a Country Girl is a highly inspirational real-life chronicle of a simple Jamaican 'country girl' who dared to dream of making her mother proud by becoming someone extraordinary - and is doing just that.

This simply written and motivating memoir details the author's life from her childhood days of dreaming under a star-apple tree to becoming a successful mother, entrepreneur, and university lecturer with an earned PhD. Even occasional readers will find it an easy, enjoyable and engaging book to read within a couple hours at most.

The centrepiece around which Sandra Palmer-Peart has weaved a compelling life story seems to be the conviction, born from her experience, that:

"No matter who you are, and what your current life circumstances may be, you can dream big, because if you can dream it, you can do it. If you are willing to pay the price and if you live in the consciousness that whatever circumstances you find yourself in, there is always an angel - a Seraph - sent to see you through."

Sandra Palmer-Peart writes in an unpretentious style that evokes the feeling of having an intimate conversation with a trusted friend about deeply personal but important details of her life. No area of her life seems to be off-limits as she shares more than the bare facts of her journey. She dares to bare her soul: sharing deep feelings of self-doubt, insecurities, anger, frustration and disappointment on the one hand, and joy, confidence, courage and determination, love, tenderness and humility on the other. Readers of both genders and of every age will be emotionally touched by stories and experiences that are sure to resonate with them at some level.

The author relates the story of her incredulity, embarrassment, and intense feeling of disappointment at failing the nationally administered Common Entrance Examination on her first attempt, and her relief and joy at succeeding the following year.

Keeping you hooked

Readers will find themselves impelled to turn the next page as Sandra reveals her high-school spirit of competitiveness, her devastation at not being chosen for head girl, and the outcome of her skilful manoeuvrings to wrest the valedictorian honour from her nemesis who dared to steal her head-girl dream.

The absorbing accounts of her first Kingston job experience; of failing her first year at the University of West Indies, and how a miracle saved her from dropping out altogether will stimulate hope, kindle optimism, and stir readers with renewed determination to keep on persevering.

Her traumatic motorbike accident which nearly cost her life - and then her university dream - is a particularly poignant tale of resilience. An almost surreal account of being saved from certain rape by a complete stranger in the nick of time is a stark validation of her faith that no matter what happens, there is an angel there to help in times of desperate need.

Overcoming the odds

Women everywhere will especially be empowered by Sandra Palmer-Peart's real-life drama of having to deal with a failed marriage, while taking care of a young child in a foreign country. They will also draw inspiration from her resolute attitude to succeed as a sales professional, then as a female entrepreneur competing in a generally male-dominated field, yet demonstrating the gutsy character to succeed against the odds. Her life-changing quest to complete her PhD dissertation reads like an emotional roller-coaster ride, and will provide powerful lessons in perseverance for both men and women with intellectual and scholarly ambitions.

Sandra Palmer-Peart has provided people of every age, gender, calling, profession and walk of life with a powerful reason to dream: her own life. Her fascinating life story will be a reservoir of hope and inspiration for generations of dreamers to come.