Moonlight in the Desert of Left Behind

17 Jun

Moonlight(PICK IT)

Author: Jan Baumgartner

Genre: Nonfiction

First Published: 2017

Page Count: 320

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 5/5 Stars

A first hand, honest glimpse at one woman’s difficult journey caring for her terminally ill husband.


*Touching Storytelling


*Wanted Pictures

“Terminal illness covers the gamut of emotions and response, in its poignancy and depth of human experience it makes us take a hard look at life and living, and what truly matters.” Soon after moving to their dream home in Maine, our author, Jan, and her husband, John, learn that John has ALS. Suddenly, all their life plans and dreams come to a halt with this terminal diagnosis. Dealing with the challenges of this degenerative disease takes over their lives, but they still manage to use what time they have left to create lasting memories.

The author wastes no time jumping into her and her husband’s journey with ALS. While John’s diagnosis was the inspiration for this book, so that the author could document this difficult and last moment in time with her husband, it is not all that you will find in this book. There are passages about the terribly hard routines of caring for someone so ill, and descriptions of the devastating physical deterioration. However, there are also beautiful scenes of Jan and John experiencing things most everyday people can only dream of seeing and doing. They tour through picturesque Provence and traverse the wilds of Africa, savoring these final moments together in some of the most beautiful places on Earth. Both the difficult moments the author documents of the illness and the peaceful times spent just enjoying each other before the more challenging trials occur are touching in their own right.

The one thing I would have loved to have seen included in this book were some personal pictures, if the author would have been comfortable with that. These types of stories lend themselves perfectly to having a section of pictures. It gives the reader a visual reference for some of the main points of the book. I could have easily imagined this book filled with pictures of exotic expeditions in Africa, aged buildings in Europe, the author’s beloved home in Maine with all its critters, and, of course, some candid shots of the author and her husband. Baumgartner is such a descriptive writer that it isn’t hard to imagine all that she describes, but pictures would have given the book that extra, personal touch for the reader.

There is no question the author has been through a lot in her life; we can tell this just from the little over three hundred page glimpse we are given into this moment in time in her life. Yet, even through all the pain, she has experienced and seen incredible things, some of which I, myself, could never imagine doing, like her harrowing treks through the African wild. Baumgartner shows us that life can be hard and unpredictable but her book also shows that there are beautiful things right in front of us if we choose to look.



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