The inspiring true story of how one woman—who People dubbed "the saint of Staten Island"—is changing the world, one child at a time.Review:
Fourteen years ago, Elissa Montanti was a lab technician in Staten Island. She had, in the span of only a few years, lost her beloved mother, grandmother, and high school sweetheart. Hoping to find a way past her own troubles and the depression and panic attacks that quietly crippled her, she decided to raise money for school supplies for the children of war-torn Bosnia. But at a meeting with the UN ambassador she learned that those children didn’t need pencils. He showed her a photo of a boy who had lost both arms and one leg to a land mine; these children needed a lot more.
Elissa went to Bosnia, brought the boy and his mother back to Staten Island, and arranged for free prosthetics and medical care. The Global Medical Relief Fund was born.
Working from the walk-in closet in her home, Elissa has since brought more than 150 children injured in war zones—Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere—to the United States, where, with the help of the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia and a network of doctors, nurses, and community leaders, they receive free housing and ongoing care.
In I’ll Stand by You, Elissa tells the stories of these children and the soldiers, doctors, and ordinary Americans who have come to their aid; the resistance she has faced for helping non-Americans; and the heartwarming tale of how in helping these children, she healed herself.
When I was first offered the chance to read and review I'll Stand By You, I quickly said yes, as I've been on a kick to read more memoirs and non-fiction lately, and this book seemed like the perfect place to start. Thankfully, it was an inspirational and a heartwarming book that has left me in complete awe of what Elissa and her various friends have accomplished over the past few years.
I'll Stand By You offers the reader a look into The Global Medical Relief Found, Montani's charity to help children around the world get the medical attention they need, as well as Montani's life and what lead her on this journey. I really enjoyed how the first half of the book was mostly about Montani and her family and friends, as not only did it offer an unique and interesting view on Montani, but it also showed how strong of a woman Montani was from the get-go, even if she did fall down sometimes. The later part of the book showed most of the same but with the charity at the center point of her life. Over the course of the book, I was just blown away by how amazing and kind of a woman Montani was. Here's a woman who has faced tragedy after tragedy, yet she still manages to pick up the pieces as well as help others at the same time. I can only hope if I faced half the problems she did, I would be half as strong as she was. Plus I loved seeing the work she's done, and every time she talked about a struggle that came up in her life or work, I was continually hoping everything would work out for her.
I'll Stand By You was also well written, in my opinion. I thought Elissa (as well as her co-author Jennifer) did a great job of exploring various parts of Elissa's story as well as delivering it in a way that was fast paced and interesting to read about it.
In all, I'll Stand By You is a great memior, and I highly suggest it to readers looking for something different to add in to their reading. It's a fast read and quite intersting. But word of warning: it will make you want to get out there and start helping the world as well once you're done. :)
I'll Stand By You (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) is now out!
Source: Publicist at Penguin- thanks Cassie!
Thanks to Cassie, I also have ONE copy of I'll Stand By You to giveaway. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway form below.
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