An American Soldier’s Awakening: Anthology of Poetry and Prose
by LTC Nina R. Petrarca, USA, Ret.
Christian Faith Publishing

"Do not allow life to steal the true essence of self and always seek joy."

A mixture of prose and poetry, this small volume touches on the joys and sorrows of life through the author’s personal trials and observations. Petrarca credits her faith in God as the one thing that has helped her discover peace and courage in her spiritual journey. Some of her poetry is tinged with the sorrow of losing a young daughter to brain cancer. “The years have passed, and I still see the twinkle in her eye / And when she closed her eyes to rest before she sought the sky / It’s no wonder the birds sing and the church bells ring on this eve of her departure.” In another piece, she describes the joys of simple things playfully: “Song and dance just soothes the soul / Enjoy and play some rock and roll / Got to go, for now it’s clear / I’m wasting time just sitting here.” Throughout the book runs the theme of belief in the healing power of God, nature, and oneself.

When reading this book, one can feel the sincerity of the author. She offers readers wonderful advice on living life to its fullest. She speaks of life’s sorrows and grief with the wisdom and understanding that only those who have suffered greatly possess. Yet, Petrarca avoids sentimentality in both poetry and prose. Her prose is delightful with such phrases as, “My path is a place where oceans meet the morning sky, and its shore plays with sandpipers in a hurried movement against its cresting waves to finally break in shallow waters.” Her poetic voice comes through in her prose’s beautiful imagery. The author opens her heart and soul in a way that makes one feel like a new friend has been found. This beautiful volume of spiritual reflections on life is a joy to read.

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