I am so grateful for the positive reviews of my book, Embracing the Gray: A Wing, A Prayer, and A Doubter’s Resolve, that continue to be posted on Amazon.com…
Hollingsworth pulls no punches here. This is real, tough, faith in the trenches. The chapters dealing with family loss are heart-breaking and yet ultimately hopeful and full of grace and appreciation. One chapter (about a trans-Atlantic flight from Hell) had me laughing out loud, covering my mouth due to shock, the way I do when I read The Onion or humorist Dave Barry! I read the book in less than a week. For comparison's sake, my wife and I are still trying to get through The Shack after two and a half years. Get Embracing the Gray.
Laugh, cry, think. Embracing the Gray is fascinating. Mark A. Hollingsworth writes of his challenging life growing up in an era of great social change during which he is subject to even more scrutiny as a preacher's son. Added to that, his family carries extra burdens from multi-generational family problems with substance abuse. Despite this triple whammy (or maybe because of it) Mark's amazing life evolves as one of great joy, purpose and courage while questing for spiritual answers. I wanted to put this book down but I couldn't. This is a must read for anyone who admires books that cut thru BS.
You may not recognize the name Mark Hollingsworth, but you’ve probably heard him on the radio, read an article he’s written, been a fan of a band he managed or at least heard of his employer, Compassion International.
Embracing the Gray is a beautiful journey of doubt, music, reality, mission and faith…or a lack thereof. Through short stories from his work, confessing his renouncement of Christianity in college, destruction and restoration in his family, returning to faith, occasional looks at the every day … they are journeys and questions that I think we all need to consider if we really want to make our beliefs our own.
Walking through the gentle death of his father truly moved my spirit. I’m realizing that I’m not good at aging, and as I see my parents getting older I am forced to recognize how our relationship is starting to change. For Mark, the true realization his father was slipping was by beating him in checkers. For me, it involves deciphering recipes in the kitchen. It was comforting to look into not only what might be ahead, but to know that I won’t be navigating that road alone.
Out of the collection, the stories that truly touched me were his interactions with some of the least of these: a Kenyan girl named Mercy, a woman who broke rocks into gravel in India, children in Haiti who aren’t expected to survive so they have no names, the angel that showed up on Mark’s doorstep…all unexpected faces where grace is found. Mark’s narrative is descriptive, yet open so I can remember the people I’ve encountered over my own journey.
The beauty of a well-written memoir is realizing all of our journeys interact. And by looking at the lives of others, we learn more about our own.
Embracing The Gray is just such a book.
A journey toward meaning. This book shows that everything in life can move us toward meaning. I appreciate the author's willingness to expose his life on paper so that we share his journey. I was inspired by this to see my own life in a new way - which is all one can ask of a memoir. Lovely writing and full of humor, too. Five stars.
Mark's unique talent as a storyteller will have you laughing, sighing, & most importantly thinking ... often in the same chapter & sometimes in the same paragraph. I found myself making an effort to find "just a few minutes" to sneak in "just one more chapter", and know I will re-read it often. This is a book that would be enjoyed by & beneficial for everyone to read ... so buy it, read it, & share it!
Something that I greatly appreciate about Mark and his book is his gift of story telling. It's one thing to tell a story face to face, but sharing an experience through the written word and making the reader feel like they are right there beside you is an art form. Mark is simply a fantastic writer. I found myself, like many of the other reviewers who have posted, not able to put the book down. I wanted to find out what happened next! This book has so many layers...it's deep and soul searching as well as light and hilarious. It's one of those books where you find yourself laughing and then running for the kleenex box. You will walk away feeling inspired, invigorated, and challenged. I can't recommend this book enough. Well done.
I continue to be humbled by the response the book is generating. If you have read it and wish to correspond with me, I always interact with any communiqués. You can also read many reader reviews (97% are Five Stars) at:
Embracing the Gray is still available for a limited time as a 99 cent Kindle download at that same link, or as a free PDF download at my website (donations accepted):