Book Review: Unshaken

Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Haiti's Hotel Montana

Dan Woolley spent 65 hours trapped in an elevator after the Haiti earthquake. This book details his time in the elevator and his difficult and amazing rescue.

I bought it initially because one of the women in my homeschool co-op is Woolley’s sister-in-law. I wasn’t in the co-op last year but apparently during the time of the earthquake the people in the co-op were fervently praying that he would be found and then for his recovery. Early in the year signed copies of his book were offered at one of our meetings. In all honesty, I bought it without a lot of expectations for a good read. I’m so often disappointed in “Christian books” that are poorly written or shallow. But part of the proceeds were going to Compassion International, an organization I was happy to support (Woolley was working for Compassion while he was in Haiti) and it looked interesting enough.

I was quite pleasantly surprised. The story of his survival is amazing enough on its own. But Woolley interweaves his story in Haiti with the story of his early courtship and marriage to his wife Christy. Christy suffers from depression that was quite severe in the first part of their marriage. He compares his rescue from the dark pit underneath a collapsed building to her rescue from the dark pit of depression. It makes for a fuller, more interesting story.

I also really liked that both Dan and Christy were willing to be very honest in this book. They admit to losing faith in God, to crying out in anger to God and to sometime giving up in despair. This is a real portrayal of a complicated faith instead of something shallow and simplistic. It made me appreciate much more what he had to say when he talked about what God has taught him through this experience.

As a survivor of a disaster where thousands and thousands lost their lives, Woolley obviously struggles with the question of why? Why did the earthquake happen? Did God allow it? Why? What good can come of so much evil? Why did he survive and others not (including one of his Compassion co-workers who he was standing next to in the hotel lobby when the quake hit)?  I liked that he addresses that these questions are tough and complicated. I liked that he doesn’t attempt to give easy answers. He simple tells about his own experience and how God was part of that experience.

One thought on “Book Review: Unshaken

  1. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: April 30, 2011 | Semicolon

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