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4.7 out of 5 stars63
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on 26 December 2010
I read this book 4 weeks after my 17-year old son, Ibrahim Ditto, died on 24 November 2010.

My son was feeling very well and went to play basketball. He felt dizzy and next we knew he was in intensive care. Doctors could not find what was wrong with him and neither did the autopsy. We had to wait weeks before his body was released to us for burial.

I had some big why questions.

This book was very easy to read so that made it easy for me access at a time when my concentration levels were probably not at their best.

The book does present quite a paradigm shift which I continue to struggle with. Before I read the book I believed that God was all powerful and that he pre-planned everything. So in that sense what happened to my son was pre-ordained and there was nothing we could do about it. It was his destiny. This held some consolation for me (no guilt) but did leave me with the question why would God plan this for me - even if there is a higher purpose - it does seem quite cruel.
Kushner introduces a kinder God who does not necessarily pre-plan everything. In fact I finish the book with a much clearer definition of God ...God is the good in all of us, God is love.

As to whether my son died because it was his destiny - yes to some extent, but not pre-ordained by God. Rather, I believe it was due to chance and some bad luck - he happened to have suffered from something which we don't yet understand and therefore could not diagnose or treat. It is this same chance that has brought us a lot of luck in our life including the blessing of having a son like him.
I hope this review helps people with questions, to make the choice about whether this book will be helpful for them.
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on 21 March 2009
Harold Kushner's book is an essential read for anyone who has experienced suffering, loss or the injustices in life. He does not provide solutions. However, it is his philosophical approach, that I find powerful, and reassuring for anyone who is suffering. I have given this book to so many friends and colleagues who are faced with situations that are tragic.
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on 2 September 2001
I read this book many years ago and often recommended it to friends undergoing tragic events in their lives. Recently I decided to buy it and read it again. It is a truly wonderful little book. Rabbi Kushner does not attempt to answer the "why" questions at all really. He is more concerned with reaching out to those who endure unbearable sufferings with words of comfort and consolation. The message applies to people of all religions and none ..... Essential reading for anyone who just doesn't know what to say when faced with the pain of a loved one that they feel powerless to alleviate - buy it!!!
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on 30 September 2009
We have had two completely unexplicable, unimaginably tragic suicides in our immediate family. This book has helped us to cope where friends and church have lacked the capacity to make sense of the senseless.
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on 30 June 1998
Every physician who treats patients with malignancies is faced with the question by the patient "why me". The patient, if religious, feels abandoned or has a covert feeling of guilt or even that he is being punished by a higher force. This adds to his already present physical distress. Rabbi Kushner presents a rational arguement that the metaphysical has no relationship to our physical pain in life. He brings illness into the realm of reason and away from theological absurdities that were a carry over from Biblical mythologies.
The author gives the patient and his family an understanding that medical problems are just that and are not Gods way of punishing the innocent or abandoning the good, He gives the caring physician an opportunity to talk with his patients in a rational manner free of philosophical absurdities.
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on 7 December 2010
At a time of crisis many of us don't know where to turn to, what to think, say or do.
This book doesn't give 'the answer' but it gives support at a time of need. A thought provoking book which I read quickly and found worthwhile.
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on 26 November 2004
This is a very comforting book. I read soon after our beloved angel-daughter was diagnosed with a fatal disease and it did offer some feeling of peacefulness till the end. Although written by a religious man it was usefull for me who is not religious at all.
All of you who are going through a very difficult patch in their lives - this is one book for you.
It is a great book also for those who would like to learn more about handling their friends' or relatives' tragedies. This book gives you tips what to do and what to say and most importantly what not to say (the dreaded 'It is better that way et al'.) Although written by a rabbi, it should be mandatory for all priests of all religions to teach them how to handle grief and pain.
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on 3 March 2013
This is a big question for me. As I watched news coverage of a school shooting, the question ran through my mind 'WHY?'. What have a class of 6 year olds ever done to anyone? Hearing the sad news from a friend of the death of a woman with cancer. WHY? I asked myself. Getting fired from my job. WHY? I asked.

This book presents an alternative view of everything being 'pre-planned' by God. It challenges the view of bad things happening as a punishment. In times of grief, when things go bottom end up, when someone we love is hurting... Kushner states that maybe its not from God. God didn't make it happen. And its not a punishment.

Kushner has suffered grief in his life when his son was diagnosed with an incurable rare disease and died at the age of 14. He writes from the perspective of someone who has wrestled with the same questions.

This is one of the most inspiring books that I have read in a long time
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on 5 March 2010
This book was brill recommend you should buy it. Show me a different way to life i alway blame god when things happen to me but relise god can only guide us we have a free will which it tells you in this book.
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on 18 February 2010
This question nagged at me time and time again.... "why do bad things happen to good people". Nothing I read answered these questions until I read this book.

I life changing read!
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