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Book Review: Meant to Be: A True Story of Might, Miracles, and Triumph of the Human Spirit

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Amid a global pandemic that refuses to end and a world of divisiveness, it seems that the message of hope, resiliency, and forgiveness has never been more sorely needed. Roslyn Franken provides exactly that with her book, “Meant to Be.” 

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In her own words and those of her parents garnered through archival letters and countless recorded conversations, author Roslyn Franken brings to life with historic detail the personal second world war experiences of her parents. She recounts their unspeakable hardships of concentration camps and slave labor and how they not just survived, they thrived. We can learn at their hand.

Franken juxtapositions the darkest sides of human nature with the sheer grit, tenacity, and optimism of her main characters, Sonja and John. With tales of romance of her parents meeting, the power of love, and the tenacity of the human spirit, Franken succeeds in buoying you up by seeing everyday events through the grateful eyes of her parents. They rise above and refuse to be victims. They control the only thing they can, their attitudes. 

Thrust into an unfair world of cruelty governed by the hands of world leaders during World War II, Sonja and John demonstrate the power of maintaining hope against all odds. As you read, you understand their immense capacity to love and forgive. They refuse to spend their limited energy hanging on to hate. Instead, they assume an incredible gratitude for life’s simple pleasures. 

Franken writes in a style that pulls you in to eavesdrop on real conversations and to vicariously relive unthinkable losses and wins. She reveals through her characters that when things cannot get worse, they do, and then, magic happens. A twist of fate, something as small and unlikely as a can of prunes or a shoe that is too big, saves you from tragedy. 

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Franken points out so many haunting incidents when circumstances align to provide relief of some sort, that you cannot help but imagine that the collection of all these events is beyond coincidence.

As I read this book, I was reminded again and again of this lesson of recognizing how a small action can result in a huge impact. My take-away is to recognize the tiny details that nudge your life in a different direction, that save you from devastating impacts, and that leave you believing, at least in part, that they are truly meant to be.

If you need some encouragement, to know you are more resilient than you may realize, lean into the wisdom of Sonja and John, and read, “Meant to Be.

Go to www.roslynfranken.com to order her book.

Marion Grobb Finkelstein is an award-winning leader, author, and workplace communication consultant. She works with leaders at all levels who want to use their natural communication skills to build truthful, resilient teams and productive workplaces. She can be reached at [email protected] and sign up to receive her blog at www.marionspeaks.com

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