Monday, April 25, 2016

The Things Lily Knew; Things Unknown to Lily; A Little Like Lily (books 4-6 in a series) by Sherry Boas

The Things Lily Knew is the 4th novel in the trilogy.  Wait, what?  How does that work?  Sherry Boas intended for her novels about the profound impact Lily, a female with Down syndrome, has on everyone around her to be a trilogy.  However, the author, who has an adopted daughter with Down syndrome, missed writing about Lily so much, she penned three more novels linking the lovable leading lady with family and friends.

The emphasis on the immeasurable value of each person is more important than ever these days when some studies have shown that when women are given a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, as often as 90% of the time they abort the child.

I am awed by how fluidly and convincingly Boas tells the story of a precious life well worth living while simultaneously addressing the many questions and concerns parents often have when faced with what is commonly referred to as “a poor pregnancy diagnosis.”  The demands on patience, time, energy, and effort for parents of persons with disabilities are often heavy, but none of them outweigh the tremendous love that abounds.
Here are my reviews of the First Three in the Trilogy Turned Series of Six: Until Lily (1st book), Wherever Lily Goes (2nd book), Life Entwined with Lily's (3rd book)

Things Unknown to Lily (5th book in a series) has the depth, rich backstory, and character development I liked best about the Lily Trilogy.  Fewer characters developed at much greater length made this book more enjoyable and similar to the style and substance of the first three books. 

Dealing with the struggles of living with and/or suffering from depression are all-too-familiar for many people.  Studies show that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year.  That means the chances are better than average that you, a spouse, child, co-worker, and/or friend of yours is presently struggling with a potentially devastating invisible illness.

That aspect of things and the challenges it poses in a marriage are ones that we have experienced profoundly.  To read, one of my personal reflections on depression , check out Depression Is a Taste of the Agony in the Garden.

The book engages the reader through the characters’ common, though rarely said aloud questions (Will anyone ever really love me who gets to know me intimately?  What have I gotten myself into marrying someone who suffers from depression?  Will things ever get better?) They grapple with the questions that most people ask at some point in life about self-worth, relationships, intimacy, pain, suffering, vocations, and marriage.  The details, conversations, conflicts, and decisions illustrate that life is a complex journey with many ups and downs.  The struggles and suffering are real, but the triumphs and healing are, too. 

The innocent, honest, open style of Daisy’s thoughts, feelings, and actions create a moving portrait of what it might be like to be inside the mind of someone with Down syndrome.      

Within the structure of a personal memoir, there are several passages included from the viewpoint of other characters.  This gives us some additional perspective on what’s happening while providing the opportunity to read between the lines.  Oftentimes, we can deduce more about major aspects of the story, such as the severity of her father’s illness, from what others say and do than we can solely from Daisy’s thoughts. 

We are shown in a way that is real and respectful that persons with Down syndrome have the same emotions, challenges, and experiences with heartache that the rest of us do.  The dynamics of having a crush, being close friends with someone, feeling jealous when a loved one spends time with someone else instead of you are universal themes with which most of us can identify. 

I love the covers of these books!  They are quite beautiful, striking, and tie the books together well.  I’m very much into photography, art, and design as well as writing, proofreading, and editing, so that’s another thing I appreciated about the series.

I recommend the Lily series to anyone who thinks or would like to be convinced that each person’s life is precious and affects so many other lives well beyond our ability to imagine.  I received free copies of these three books in exchange for an honest review of each.

To read more about author Sherry Boas, click here.

To find out more about the Lily Series or to purchase your own copies of the books, click here.
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