[Book Review] Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

In creating this post, I’ve tried three consecutive times to start my review with somethingWave by Sonali Deraniyagala other than, “this memoir will have you shedding countless amounts of tears”. What I’ve learned from typing and hitting backspace is that there might not be any other way to describe this memoir. You will cry. You will feel your heart breaking for Sonali Deraniyagala and I’m almost positive that all of those emotions will resonate on page 1.

On December 26 2004, Sonali Deraniyagala, her husband, parents and two sons are visiting Yala on the south coast of Sri Lanka for their Christmas holidays. While organizing their morning plans, she looks out the window of hotel and sees a giant wave coming right for them. She yells for her husband, she grabs her kids and the four of them start running. As the four of them them start running to escape their fate, she knows in her heart of hearts that there is no time to knock on her parents door to warn them. She knows that if she takes the time to wait and explain the situation to her parents, it would jeopardize her boys lives. Picturing that scene alone is enough to make me start crying as I’m typing this post.

Together they run to their car and with the sheer force of the tsunami coming at a rapid pace, the four of them get separated. When she comes to, she realizes that she’s alone with no husband, her two young boys are nowhere in sight and she doesn’t know what’s become of her parents. In an effort to better understand Sonali Deraniyagala’s story, I went to YouTube and searched this devastating event and it was one of the saddest things I’ve ever watched. I can’t imagine what it would be like to experience what she went through during those terrifying moments.

This is the story of Sonali’s attempt to pick up the pieces, when everything she’s ever known has been ripped from away from her. She’s a broken woman and she repeatedly talks of taking her own life to escape this nightmare, but those feelings start to subside with time. Her story of her beloved family is a tragic and honest depiction of loss. It takes you on a journey of devastation and the ability to hold on to that glimmer of hope, even when its the dimmest its ever been.

I can’t promise you a rose garden with this memoir, because that’s not what you’re going to get. It’s sad, heart breaking and tragic, but there’s a lot of perseverance that comes with tragedy and as you read Wave, you’ll begin experiencing what those perseverances are and how Sonali faces them over time.

This is a memoir that will teach you about the true meaning of family, love and strength.


3 thoughts on “[Book Review] Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

  1. Kathleen says:

    I loved this book, too! I’m working on my own review of it, but I’m finding that it’s hard to write about how someone else writes about loss (if that makes sense…).

  2. Steph VanderMeulen (@BellasBookshelf) says:

    My friend just bought this book and on reading the description on Amazon, I thought, well, maybe not. But after reading this review, now I think I’d like to read it, even though I’m afraid to. It sounds not only devastating but also beautiful. And there is definitely beauty and awesomeness in what humans do to survive. Thanks for such an emotional, touching review!

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