Books Magazine

Review: “The Littlest Angel” by Heidi Chandler

By Appraisingpages @appraisjngpages

Heidi Chandler is a high school journalism teacher who emailed us a few months ago about reviewing her memoir, The Littlest Angel. After reading the information in her email I knew it was one for me. Read the synopsis from its Goodreads page below:

“Two weeks before her due date, my unborn daughter unexpectedly died. After the shock wore off, I found myself in the depths of depression, questioning my worth as a mother, wife, and human being. This deepy personal story of love, loss, and redemption follows my quest to find normal after being blindsided by death, and proves that it is possible to live, love, and smile again.”

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Being a mother is an experience unlike any other. I know non-parents out there may roll their eyes as they imagine their annoying co-workers who don’t shut up over the stories and pictures of their kids but it’s true: you learn more about the depths of love from being a parent more than any other relationship.

This is why I knew I needed to read Ms. Chandler’s book, I felt I’d be able to understand her pain more than a non-parent. I’ve never been in the heartbreaking situation of a stillbirth but I know what it’s like to love a child from the moment you lay eyes on him or her.

Her memoir does not disappoint. It’s gritty, real, honest, and she doesn’t hold back on the despair that she felt in those weeks following her miscarriage. I learned a lot from her book, not only from the inside look at the emotions behind a stillbirth but also at the process afterwards. Do you hold a funeral? A burial? A cremation? Do you put pictures of your lost little one in your home? How do you react to the intrusive questions? These are questions I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, and I do hope I never have to answer them, but it makes me thankful that I read this memoir.

I also feel like I’ll be able to respond better to a friend or family member in this position after reading her book. Again, I hope someone I love is never in this situation but I now know the phrases, words, and sentiments that may seem appropriate but only make the parents cringe inwardly. Things like “I’m sure you can’t wait to get pregnant again!” may seem hopeful but comes across as insensitive to a grieving mother without a child to hold.

I was a little hesitant to begin a self-published author’s memoir. Why? I was worried it would read like a unedited diary entry, full of run-ons and bunny trails that distracted from the real story. This blog is a huge supporter of indie authors but we all have to admit that sometimes there is a reason the book is self-published. However, all of those worries I had I could throw away after the first chapter. The book never feels slow and she writes professionally yet personally, the best combination for a memoir.

I would especially recommend this book to someone who has been in her position before, or to anyone who frequently comes in contact with those in this situation (i.e. hospital staff), but really to anyone or any parent. It taught me sensitivity about a subject I hadn’t really though much of before, and also to hug my children and loved ones tighter at night. And really, isn’t this a lesson we all should remember more often?


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