Friday, June 2, 2023

I Feel Your Stare: An Autobiography by Cheryl Gillespie (Review)

I Feel Your Stare

An autobiography of a Canadian woman who continues to overcome a crippling disease so she can lead her best life.

Book Details:

Title: I Feel Your Stare: An Autobiography by Cheryl Gillespie
Category: Adult Non-fiction, 242 pages
Genre: Autobiography
Publisher: Fingertip Books
Release date: July 22, 2022
Content rating: G

Book Description:

Imagine yourself in a position of maneuvering through aspects of our everyday living we simply take for granted. Would we see our existence as a beautiful opportunity to explore and live our moments fully, or spend our time lamenting our perceived hardships? Throughout I FEEL YOUR STARE you will be transported to a place in time whereby Cheryl Gillespie’s descriptive scenes allow the reader a glimpse into a life of an individual assuming control of her future, and who excels far beyond the most hopeful of expectations. ~Mary McGinley

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

It's not often I read autobiographies, but when I do it's because a particular aspect of the person's life has grasped my attention. In I Feel Your Stare, it was the fact that Ms. Gillespie has suffered from a chronic illness since childhood that led to her blindness. And she is Canadian.

The author begins her story from childhood and it is filled with her memories of family events, life in the Maritimes (eastern Canada), her experiences at the School for the Blind away from her home, and the profound role her mother played in her life.

I enjoyed reading Ms. Gillespie's life story. It's easy to read because it feels like she is sitting in front of you telling her story. It's not a long autobiography since the author does not go into many details about some aspects of her life, but there is enough to learn that resiliency, determination, and courage are needed to overcome large obstacles and build a satisfying life no matter what the circumstances.

This book pulled at my heartstrings because as a mother myself, I know some decisions we make believing to be the best option for our children, are not always easy to make. The author recognized that her parents did the very best they could for her at a time when the Internet and online learning did not exist. I think this book is an ode to her mother, and the writing process a way to reflect and come to terms with the PTSD triggered by her multiple surgeries, hospital stays, and time away from her loving family. 

One of the best lines from this book: We are all a little broken, that's how the light trickles in.

This autobiography shows us the impact of chronic childhood illnesses and how the love of family and friends, and one's own inner strength, plays a significant role in helping such children lead successful lives.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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About the Author:

In her home province of New Brunswick, Canada, Cheryl Gillespie, along with her cat Mattie, will often be found basking on the backyard deck beneath the warm sunshine, the very spot where many of the chapters for "I Feel Your Stare" were written.

A childhood diagnosis of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, with associated blindness, coupled with physical and societal barriers, has proven only to strengthen her resolve. Following graduation from Fredericton High School, Cheryl advanced in her private studies through the Royal Conservatory of Music, attaining First Class Honours in piano, theory and history.

Today, well established in her teaching career, she takes pride in the education of her students, highlighted by a two-time provincial medal winner through Mount Allison’s Local Centre Examinations Department of Music. Through her active role within the Fredericton Music Teachers’ Association, Cheryl has built invaluable, longstanding friendships with her colleagues. In 1993, Cheryl was the recipient of the Stanley B. Cassidy Memorial Award, presented by the Fredericton Music Society, recognizing her dedication to excellence and personal achievements.

Cheryl’s first work for adults, "I Feel Your Stare" was preceded by her children’s book, "Tigger and Jasper’s New Home."

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