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Loose of Earth: A Memoir

by Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

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"Thirty-eight years old, fit and handsome, John Blackburn was a former Air Force pilot and evangelical Christian. His wife, a veterinarian, healed animals and homeschooled their five children with the Bible as their textbook. The coming end of days was certainty, not poetry, and for John, the end did arrive--cancer. The healing hands of his community hovered over growing tumors in his torso, but his disease continued to progress. At the time, no one knew that the Ogallala Aquifer, the giant underground sponge of wet rock that irrigates the High Plains, was awash in PFAs--carcinogenic residuals of firefighting foams. The deadly chemicals seeped into the wells of Lubbock and the water of Reese Air Force Base, and from there, the blood of John Blackburn. Kathleen Blackburn was a teenager in 1998, when her father was diagnosed. For fourteen months her parents pursued a miracle through faith healing instead of traditional medicine, and Kathleen wondered why her own prayers did nothing to stem her father's decline. Helping to care for her dad and with responsibility for her siblings, Kathleen feared that her faith was simply not strong enough--that any misstep could kill her father. But the family's resolute vigilance was powerless against the ravages wrought by contaminated water. Now, in beautiful but anguished detail, Kathleen writes the truth. An arresting portrait of the pernicious creep of decline, and a powerful cry for environmental justice, Loose of Earth captures the desperate futility and unbending religious faith that devastated a family, leaving them waiting for a miracle that would never come"--… (more)
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I usually enjoy memoirs, even ones describing difficult circumstances. I’m not sure why, but i did not really connect with this one. Perhaps there were too many threads (cancer, religion, home schooling, veterinary medicine, PFAS, etc.) to really be woven together into a coherent whole; I don’t know. In any case, although I felt truly sorry for what the author and her family had to go through, I can’t really say that I’m glad to have read the book. ( )
  Rosalind | Feb 5, 2024 |
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"Thirty-eight years old, fit and handsome, John Blackburn was a former Air Force pilot and evangelical Christian. His wife, a veterinarian, healed animals and homeschooled their five children with the Bible as their textbook. The coming end of days was certainty, not poetry, and for John, the end did arrive--cancer. The healing hands of his community hovered over growing tumors in his torso, but his disease continued to progress. At the time, no one knew that the Ogallala Aquifer, the giant underground sponge of wet rock that irrigates the High Plains, was awash in PFAs--carcinogenic residuals of firefighting foams. The deadly chemicals seeped into the wells of Lubbock and the water of Reese Air Force Base, and from there, the blood of John Blackburn. Kathleen Blackburn was a teenager in 1998, when her father was diagnosed. For fourteen months her parents pursued a miracle through faith healing instead of traditional medicine, and Kathleen wondered why her own prayers did nothing to stem her father's decline. Helping to care for her dad and with responsibility for her siblings, Kathleen feared that her faith was simply not strong enough--that any misstep could kill her father. But the family's resolute vigilance was powerless against the ravages wrought by contaminated water. Now, in beautiful but anguished detail, Kathleen writes the truth. An arresting portrait of the pernicious creep of decline, and a powerful cry for environmental justice, Loose of Earth captures the desperate futility and unbending religious faith that devastated a family, leaving them waiting for a miracle that would never come"--

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