|Book Review Will St. James
5 Out of 5 Stars
An extraordinary story of love, family and the will to survive! October 21, 2011
Bring Back Summertime — Author: Jeanne Starr Gater
Reviewed by Will Saint-James
Life is fragile. In the blink of an eye, it can transition from the peak of prosperity to the doldrums of despair. It can deliver a crushing blow that can literally knock one to his or her knees. Not convinced, just ask Jeanne Starr Gater, author of the riveting and inspirational book, Bring Back Summertime. In this 268-page narrative, Gater methodically takes readers on a real-life rollercoaster ride of ever-changing emotions, after receiving a dreadful phone call from a Michigan hospital on a chilly October morning in 1983. The news: her husband, Julius Gater, aka Dr. J, had been involved in a horrific three-car accident and his chances of pulling through were not at all favorable as he was comatose with massive and life-threatening injuries.
Bring Back Summertime represents a literary masterpiece of a wife's love, a family's love, a circle of friends' love to stay together and pray together...and bring back Julius from the clutches of death. The book depicts an epic journey of dedication, commitment, and an unwavering faith in God to believe that life is not over...until God says it's over.
The title of this book should not be misconstrued to think that bringing back summertime is about a return to the beauty of the summer months, per se...rather, the title should serve somewhat as a metaphor, a symbol, a figure of speech, an allegory, to bring back a time in anyone's life when things seem so special, good, happy, and relatively carefree. While the book chronicles real-life accounts of love, hope and faith in God, it does not mean that everything was always positive. Jeanne writes of Dr. J's sometime physical and verbal outbursts aimed at those who try to help and rehabilitate him, which included her.
In addition, she describes many other "perceived and real obstacles" experienced in her quest to bring back Dr. J. back to life. In some cases there were major adventures and misadventures involving insurance, medical care, home health care, rehabilitation and legal issues, practices and policies in America, which could easily be topics for another book or two. Yet, through it all, Jeanne stays focused on navigating Dr. J's long journey back to summertime; from the throes of death to stability and life as a paraplegic. Keeping her family unit together was her ultimate goal as she countered daily obstacles that threatened their emotional, mental, and physical survival.
The message in Jeanne's book is that we all have a summertime that we would love to bring back in the face of adversity. It could be bringing back a peaceful relationship with a spouse or sibling, bringing back a victory from drug addiction, bringing back a lost job or house in the face of a tough economy, or bringing back sanity from a bevy of crazy circumstances that life has a way of manufacturing and multiplying. Whatever it is that people long to bring back, Jeanne's book lays the blueprint based on her incredible story of strength, love, commitment, and faith in God.
While no two stories in life are exactly the same, the common thread that runs from Jeanne's story through a multiplicity of other stories is love, faith, family, and the belief that the mighty powers of God can miraculously bring back summertime from any circumstance or situation. In essence, Bring Back Summertime is a remarkable book about a remarkable woman's courage to bring back her special summertime...and the special husband, and father that the family refused to give up on.