Not being someone who watches TV or movies a lot, I have to admit that the name Don LaFontaine did not ring any bells for me; which mattered very little once I got a few pages into Finding My Voice by Nita Whitaker LaFontaine. Yes, he was a famous person, but this book made this everyday, mere mortal man side much more important than any claim to fame for his work could have ever made.
How does a woman cope with a loss of a spouse, father to her children, best friend and simply the center of her universe? Well, if that woman is Nita Whitaker LaFontaine, she does it with immense grace, poise and incredible inner strength. Every page of this heartfelt book made it abundantly clear.
As the reader, I felt immediately immersed in the story, and found a surprisingly strong connection to the author. It felt like I was invited into her home, as well as into her heart and her head. I find it quite rare that an author manages to achieve such degree of honesty without sounding melodramatic, sappy or worse.
Sure, there were the gushing passages describing the happy times with her now deceased husband, and those describing his struggle during his last days of life, which brought tears to my eyes. But they never veered into maudlin or anything even remotely so.
While I am usually a big stickler for proper punctuation, detailed line editing, and similar matters, this time a few misplaced commas and like simply made me smile. If anything, they made the whole book better.
I really felt the author’s pain, as well as her joy upon remembering the good times, and such uncensored and not overly re-done style suited this work beautifully. It was also very refreshing to see that some celebrities, while by no means perfect, actually care about being decent people and do normal things like the rest of us.
This book made it perfectly clear that the LaFontaines cared about being a real family, cared about their friends and relatives, did things any “normal” family does and enjoyed all of it immensely. I dare any reader to look through the “Family Album” section, filled with wonderful shots of the family, and not grin at those pictures. I bet their own family album contains many of the similar photos…
Whether you were an admirer of Don LaFontaine’s work, somebody who enjoys reading about celebrities, or simply somebody coping with grief and loss, this is a book I would heartily recommend. Beautiful in its sincerity and healing in its wisdom, Finding My Voice by Nita Whitaker LaFontaine is a wonderful glimpse into the soul of an extraordinary woman.
(Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views)