Book Review: Letters to Gabriel

Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum

By Karen Garver Santorum (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)
Book Review: Letters to Gabriel
Karen Santorum’s book Letters to Gabriel is a touching true story about life and celebrating life, no matter how brief. The book is comprised entirely of letters Karen wrote to her son, Gabriel over a 16 month period. With a pregnancy that only lasted 20 weeks, Gabriel was born too soon and lived for just a couple of hours. And this was despite the extraordinary efforts of his parents and the medical community to produce a happier outcome.

Letters to Gabriel exudes family and faith: a close family that provided support and encouragement and an abiding faith that sustained and was clung to during the darkest of times. Letters to Gabriel does not provide simplistic answers to complex questions, but is real and honest when Karen asks God, “Why?”

Chronologically parallel to Gabriel’s gestation, brief life, and the subsequent mourning over what was not to be, is then-Senator Rick Santorum’s legislative fight to ban partial birth abortion. Ironically, abortion was an option recommended for young Gabriel.

This book, however, is not a political treatise. And for those may who read this as an effort to advance an anti-abortion agenda, they are missing the book’s main point. Letters to Gabriel is simply a poignant chronicle of two parents’ boundless love for their son and their efforts to help him realize the promise and potential of life.

[Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum, by Karen Garver Santorum. Published by CCC of America, 1998; ISBN:1-56814-528-4; 132 pages.]

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