Sometimes a book grabs your heart in such a way that there is no short way to talk about it - you just have to say every single thing you learned, and thought, and cried about, and wished, and loved. But I'm going to try to restrain myself from doing that, because I know you have a life and will eventually need to leave your computer to get some dinner.
All That Is Bitter & Sweet. There could be no more fitting name for this book. Judd shares the good and bad stuff of her life, from her early years to now. If you are looking for an inside story of someone who grew up in a prominent family, you will enjoy this book.
She doesn't hold back on those personal stories, but the real story is not Ashley Judd's famous family or her acting career. The real story is the work she has been doing with PSI and other aid organizations, and the work she has done in her own life to seek recovery and healing.
I cried my way through her trips to southeast Asia, Africa, and South America. During those trips she kept diaries that detailed the stories she heard as well as her own experiences and feelings. This book was born out of those diaries, and it is full of the powerful emotions that come with writing something in the moment. She says many times that her mission is to tell the stories of the poor and vulnerable she has met in her travels. This is a promise she has made to the people who have opened their hearts and lives to her, and this book is a beautiful fulfillment of that promise.
It isn't all heavy. There are lighthearted moments, too, and pages where you want to stand up and cheer for Ashley, for the staff at PSI, and for the people who are overcoming fear and circumstances to bring light to the darkness that surrounds them. Ultimately this is a book of surviving, overcoming, standing strong, and working and fighting for what you believe is important.
I closed the cover feeling completely inspired, and I believe you will, too.
*I received a free copy of this book because I am a part of the PSI Online Moms Club. I was under no obligation to blog about it. I wrote this post because All That Is Bitter and Sweet touched my heart.