REVELL READS REVIEW: "Forged Through Fire" by Mark McDonough, MD

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Hey everyone!  I had the opportunity to review the new memoir Forged Through Fire: A Reconstructive Surgeon's Story of Survival, Faith, and Healing through the Revell Reads program.  I'll give you a little bit of back-cover-matter about the book, and then I'll just dive right in with the review.


When Mark McDonough was a teen, a catastrophic fire claimed the lives of his mother and younger brother.  It also left Mark with burns on over 65 percent of his body.  During a long and painful recovery, his faltering faith in God was strengthened by a remarkable near-death experience.  Numerous reconstructive surgeries and postoperative rehabilitation motivated him to become a physical therapist.  His work with burn, disease, and trauma patients inspired him to become a reconstructive surgeon, working to help those who suffer as he has.  McDonough has overcome numerous other adversities on his journey, including addition and a stroke.  Now he shares his incredible true story of survival and perseverance to bring hope and healing to those dealing with great physical and emotional pain.  

If you or a loved one has suffered from personal trauma, disease, or loss that has tested or stolen your faith and exhausted your emotional resources, you'll find real hope in this redemptive story."  


4.5/5 stars

This book was fascinating, one that I couldn't put down.  I'd say that is a testament to this book in and of itself, because it's nonfiction and deals with a lot of heavy topics.  Dr. McDonough explains the trauma he experienced with a very vivid and succinct vocabulary.  While he describes a lot of medical procedures in the book, he also takes the time to explain them to readers who might not have an extensive medical background.  I found the book to be not only inspiring, but also very informational.  

As I read this book, I found myself aghast at the amount of trauma that Dr. McDonough faced.  As is mentioned in the synopsis, he loses his mother and young brother to a house fire that also burns most of his body.  That's just the beginning of the laundry list of setbacks and injuries that he faced on the road to recovery.  That he was able to maintain and grow in his faith is astounding and very inspirational.  I won't go into detail about everything that he mentions in the book - it's just something you have to read for yourself to believe - but as I said, it's an excellent read.  If you're looking for healing or facing health problems, it's a good book to pick up.  He also describes a near-death experience which is amazing to read: a moment where he's reassured that his lost family members are safe with God and that he has to keep fighting for recovery because his life isn't finished yet.  

I think the only thing that I found difficult in this book is the pacing.  Sometimes, especially earlier in the book, the author jumps back and forth between events, making it a little difficult to keep each event straight as far as how they happened chronologically.  (And there are a lot of events that take place.)  That issue seems to resolve itself later and with further explanation, however.  

As the story goes on, he talks about his family and other tragedies that befall them, as well as the strides he took to keep the faith through it all.  It's satisfying to watch him grow from a young, deeply wounded (mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually) kid to the doctor that he became and is today.  As I mentioned before, I think it's a great book that is very much worth the read.  

Do you plan on picking up a copy of Forged Through Fire?  

If you'd like to connect with Dr. McDonough, you can follow him on Facebook HERE and on Twitter HERE.  

Many thanks, again, to Revell Reads for the opportunity to review this fantastic book!  

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