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Jim's December 2019 pick, 1 of 2
Finding Chika is Albom's most personal book to date. It is a companion piece to, if not an outright soulmate of, Tuesdays with Morrie, if books can be such. Morrie even makes a brief appearance. Rather than five people you meet in Heaven, Morrie and Chika are two people Albom has met on Earth, both of whom have changed his life to its foundation. One, a mentor/father figure, the other a child. Part of the subtitle reads " the making of a family, " and this is exactly that, the creation of a family born from his efforts to help an orphan receive the medical care she so desperately needs. If you had ever wondered if Morrie's influence on Mitch endured, look no further than Finding Chika.
Albom borrows the format of Morrie, too, alternating chapters between the past and the present, and as in Morrie, identifies and elaborates life lessons, this time, taught by a little girl, joyous in her approach to life despite being so close to death.
You will laugh. You will cry - a lot. As a parent, I connected completely to this book and Albom's instinct to help a sick kid. He also opens up about his beliefs, raising the "touchy-feely" factor sky high. Many people are put off by the spirituality in his works, but I find it comforting. It is what touches me the most. I was a big fan of the author before, but after reading Finding Chika, I am more so now than ever. This is a book that will speak to your soul.
"Mitch Albom has done it again with this moving memoir of love and loss. You can’t help but fall for Chika. A page-turner that will no doubt become a classic.” --Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club and The Art of Memoir
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Tuesdays With Morrie comes Mitch Albom’s most personal story to date: an intimate and heartwarming memoir about what it means to be a family and the young Haitian orphan whose short life would forever change his heart.
Chika Jeune was born three days before the devastating earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010. She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty, and when her mother died giving birth to a baby brother, Chika was brought to The Have Faith Haiti Orphanage that Albom operates in Port Au Prince. With no children of their own, the forty-plus children who live, play, and go to school at the orphanage have become family to Mitch and his wife, Janine. Chika’s arrival makes a quick impression. Brave and self-assured, even as a three-year-old, she delights the other kids and teachers. But at age five, Chika is suddenly diagnosed with something a doctor there says, “No one in Haiti can help you with.” Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care can soon return her to her homeland. Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their household, and their lives, as they embark on a two-year, around-the-world journey to find a cure. As Chika’s boundless optimism and humor teach Mitch the joys of caring for a child, he learns that a relationship built on love, no matter what blows it takes, can never be lost. Told in hindsight, and through illuminating conversations with Chika herself, this is Albom at his most poignant and vulnerable. Finding Chika is a celebration of a girl, her adoptive guardians, and the incredible bond they formed—a devastatingly beautiful portrait of what it means to be a family, regardless of how it is made.
Mitch Albom is a bestselling author, screenwriter, playwright and nationally syndicated columnist. The author of five consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, his books have collectively sold more than thirty-three million copies in forty-two languages worldwide. Tuesdays With Morrie, which spent four straight years atop the New York Times list, is now the bestselling memoir of all time. Four of Albom’s books, including Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day, and Have a Little Faith, have been made into highly acclaimed TV movies for ABC. Oprah Winfrey produced Tuesdays With Morrie, which claimed four Emmy awards including a best actor nod for Jack Lemmon in the lead role. Albom has founded six charities in and around Detroit, including the first-ever twenty-four-hour medical clinic for homeless children in America, and also operates an orphanage in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Albom lives with his wife, Janine, in metropolitan Detroit.
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