QUICK HIT: Sara’s story in Every Bitter Thing is Sweet is simply incredible, as is the choice to learn through adversity, to be redirected when God closes doors, and to embrace a plan that’s not your own ideal is difficult but so necessary.
A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb,
But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
Finding joy amid pain, growing through frustrations, seeing God dash our hopes and dreams only to see Him rebuild them better and bolder…that’s what this book is about. That’s what Sara Hagerty’s life story is about. It’s a story of loss and love and languish and laughter. It’s a story of the broken made whole, the shattered person broken even more only to be restored, the hurt finding happiness. In short, it is a deeply personal story and at the same time it is all of our stories.
Throughout the memoir, Hagerty details the times of loss and frustration in her life: her dad’s debilitating injury, her emotional emptiness after marriage, burnout within ministry, and the trials and tribulations of barrenness and the process of adoption. Far be it from me to delegitimize anyone’s story, but I feel like this would have been a stronger memoir had she simply developed the storyline of barrenness and adoption. As it comprises the majority of the book, it leaves the other experiences to read like awkward, attached add-ins.
At times, Hagerty falls into the purple-prose trap that lies just on the other side of eloquence. Her desire to write in rich terms works for most of the book, especially in the latter portion, but early on she toes the line between lyricism and floridity.
The memoir began to hit its groove when she began to talk about her and her husbands’ adoption process and the hurt and hope that came from that. This hit me especially hard because I was reading this on a plane, making the return journey from visiting a newly joined family that my wife’s adoption organization (Gathering Family) fundraised for. (Since originally writing this review, my wife and I have adopted a child of our own!)
Sara’s story is simply incredible, as are so many other stories of adoption, and that’s what ultimately captivated me about her tale. The choice to learn through adversity, to be redirected when God closes doors, and to embrace a plan that’s not your own ideal is difficult but so necessary.