Friday, February 21, 2020

Book Review: 'The Mourning Parade' by Dawn Reno Langley

Adroit author Dawn Reno Langley has published widely – at times under nom de plumes Dawn Reno, Dawn E. Reno, Dawn Elaine Reno, Dawn Reno Langley, and Diana Lord. She is a global traveler, a teacher, gardener and vocal Baby Boomer! She reviews the arts in the Raleigh-Durham area for Triangle Arts and Entertainment. A PTSD sufferer herself, Dawn has bonded with majestic animals at elephant sanctuaries in both Thailand and Kenya, and researched how PTSD affects animals. So, this emotional journey of grief is close to her heart – with its long road to healing and the amazing bond between humans and animals.

Dawn has chosen a theme that rings all to true in real life – the senseless slaughters of innocent people by both terrorists against the country and against humankind and sensibility. While we all shudder at the near daily realities of these events around the globe, Dawn has crafted a book that palaces the horror in a personal manner - a technique that hopefully will bring an end to such senseless killings.

Much of the manner in which Dawn shares the gut-wrenching core of her story comes through in the style in which she writes. For example, before chapter two she quotes Buddha – ‘Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.’ She then opens the doors of her Thailand landed plane with ‘Natalie stepped off the plane in Bangkok into oppressive summer heat that felt like a wet cloud she had to push through. As she followed the other passengers across the tarmac, it struck her that only a month ago she’d been in Atlanta at the Southeastern Veterinarians’ Conference where she met Andrew Gordon, the philanthropist who convinced her to give up almost everything to move to Thailand for a year. He’d unwittingly offered her an escape from the media, as well as an opportunity to do something that would make a difference in the world, something that would make her feel worthy of life. She shook her head now, remembering that she’d gone to the conference determined to take Dr. Littlefield’s advice and find something— new research or a technique she could incorporate in her surgical clinic or a cause she could throw herself into. Anything that would keep her mind occupied.

But the plot is as follows – ‘Natalie DeAngelo lost everything the day her two young sons were killed in a school shooting. Desperate to find relief from her unspeakable loss, she volunteers as a veterinarian on an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, but soon realizes she may be in over her head. Battling the memories that torment her day and night, Natalie must find a way to heal an angry, injured elephant named Sophie. Through love, acceptance, and gentle care, Natalie and Sophie heal together, finding new ways to enjoy life again.

Excellent book, very powerful and extraordinarily thought provoking. These are the times that try men’s souls. Grady Harp, July 17
I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.