“Compelling, gritty, heartbreaking, beautiful, humorous, and altogether God-honoring . . . a real work from the heart” are just a few words readers have used to describe Realer than Real, a true story of a Nebraska family’s journey to find grace, hope, and healing amidst tragedy, regret, and disappointment.
The tale is told by Ryan, the Wilkins family’s only son, who chronicles a life-changing loss the family suffered in 2004, the tragedy’s impact on the family, and the unique, winding, complex spiritual paths each family member walked before intersecting in the wake of new misfortune. With candor and perceptiveness, Ryan develops characters the reader feels he or she knows. He displays a remarkable willingness to be transparent and vulnerable in all aspects of the personal struggle, grief, and suffering that his family endured, individually and collectively. He seamlessly weaves humor and insight around heavy subjects—including death, disability, divorce, and abuse, among others—and breathes life into the family’s high and lows, incredible miracles and devastating tragedies, in a way that is both honest and instructive.
Cumulatively, the Wilkins family’s struggles and setbacks over the past decade seemingly defy all probability that one group could endure so many traumatic events over a relatively short period of time and come through it stronger, not weaker. But through reliance on their Christian faith and an outpouring of community support, the family withstood and grew through these trials, learning much about God and themselves in the process. With insight and vulnerability, Realer than Real captures the struggle, pursuit, perseverance, and restoration that accompany faith. The book will captivate readers across walks of life, inspiring them to behold their blessings and to trust God through their trials. “Once you begin reading, it is almost impossible to stop.”
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