Sensing The Rhythm

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What would you do if the thing you enjoyed most in the world, your dream and your passion, was taken from you?

This was the reality that talented singer Mandy Harvey had to face as just a few months after beginning a music degree at Colorado State University her hearing deteriorated, until by the end of her freshman year, she was profoundly deaf.  She sank into a deep depression and thought that her hope of a career in music was gone forever.

Fast forward ten years though, and the outcome has been very different.

I first heard about Mandy and her story when a friend sent me the link to a video clip and urged me to watch it.  The clip, below, shows Mandy’s performance on America’s Got Talent earlier this year, when she shot to fame after earning a Golden Buzzer for her performance from Simon Cowell.

She will be performing in the final of America’s Got Talent this week and, along with Mark Atteberry, she has also written an autobiography called “Sensing The Rhythm- Finding My Voice In A World Without Sound,” which will be released on September 26th.

When I got the chance to read a review copy I was keen to learn more about Mandy’s story.  As a musician, the thought of someone learning to sing, keeping pitch and time, without being able to hear the music, fascinated me.  I wondered how she did it, how she had even thought to try, and how she had made the transition from someone whose musical career seemed to be over to an incredibly successful singer.

What I was not expecting from the book was a discussion about the Christian faith.  Normally I only review Christian books, and I had planned for this book to be an exception, but when I saw the chapter headings and that chapter 10 was entitled “There’s no-one quite as hurtful as a Christian trying to justify God,” I saw that faith was up for discussion after all, though I was unsure which perspective it had been written from.

It turns out that Mandy Harvey is a Christian.  It is not billed as a Christian book, but her faith shines through at various points as she tells her story, as well as in this chapter  where she addresses the Christian response to her situation specifically.  (I won’t go into detail here, but let me pass on one tip- “If you have enough faith, God will heal you,” is not a helpful (or true) thing to say!)

I think the way Mandy shares her story is a huge strength.  Because of her success on America’s Got Talent and her amazing story of overcoming the odds, many people will be drawn to read her book who would probably not have chosen to read a Christian book.  As they do, they will see an example of a real and living faith, one which is not without doubts and questions but which is clearly a significant part of her life, and which comes out naturally as she shares about her journey.

I enjoyed reading this book.  It is a quick and easy read but it is filled with helpful insights.  As well as telling her story, Mandy shares wisdom she has picked up along the way, and each chapter ends with some questions for reflection, inviting the reader to consider their own story and how they can move forward in their own lives.

While most of us will not share Mandy’s story of hearing loss, the themes she addresses are universal- facing loss and grief of various kinds, the temptation to find our identity in what we do, how we respond when our dreams seem to be dying, how we can face challenges and overcome adversity, and, of course, how suffering can impact our faith.

There are also many helpful insights giving a better idea of what it is like to be deaf- explaining some of the challenges people in Mandy’s situation face on a daily basis and giving advice on responding well to people with disabilities.

Above all, it is an inspirational story of overcoming seemingly impossible odds and it is well worth a read.

You can find the book on Amazon at these links: UK, US (not affiliate links, just added for your convenience).

I’m grateful to Howard Books and Netgalley for access to an advance digital copy of this book.  I only share books here that I believe will genuinely be beneficial to my readers.

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26 thoughts on “Sensing The Rhythm

  1. Love this post! Mandy is one of my favorites on AGT. I don’t watch TV much, but I follow the best of the best, golden buzzer moments, etc on YouTube. I’ve loved her from the beginning. Such a powerful story and she moves me to tears when she sings, so stunning in beauty, in talent, and in miracles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Karen! I had never watched any of AGT until my friend sent the clip (I’m in the UK) but I was so impressed by her voice and her story. I haven’t seen any of her competitors perform but I’m kind of hoping she wins!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lesley! I’ve been following Mandy on AGT this year, and she is an amazing young woman. I had no idea she had a book, or was a Christian. Thank you for letting me know about that! I bet it’s a wonderful book too.
    One of my favorite singers, Linda Ronstadt, can’t sing anymore due to her Parkinson’s Disease. I can’t imagine how awful that would be…I hope she can triumph in some way, just like Mandy.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ceil! Yes, it’s a really inspiring story and she has lots of wisdom to share. It is so sad when people with talent are unable to do what they love, but one of the main things that comes through in Mandy’s book is that even when we have to give up a particular thing there is always something else that we can do if we don’t give up.

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  3. And I’m crying again…aaahhhh. I’ve got to get my hands on this book. Such beauty, thank you Lesley. God is so, so good…and He shines brightest through our heartbreak. Did I mention the crying? Ha! Deep, thankful breath…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on the crying! It’s funny, I never used to cry at things like that but now I do all the time! It is amazing how God can bring good even in such awful situations.

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  4. I have been following Mandy on AGT. I love hearing survival and overcoming stories from the contestants, and hers is one that really inspires me. It’s so amazing that she can still sing on key and so beautifully. I didn’t know she wrote a book and that she is a Christian. It sounds like an inspiring read. I’m glad she shares about the hurtful remarks some Christians make that don’t help us at all. With this additional info about her life, listening to her in the finals will be even more inspiring. 🙂 So thank you! Blessings and Hugs to you, Lesley!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks like we have a little fan club going here! I had been so inspired by the clip and it was amazing to read more of her story. I’m glad you found it interesting to learn more too. Her comments about remarks Christians make (both positive and negative) were great and will hopefully help others learn to respond well to those who are suffering. Love and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a gifted young woman. I hadn’t seen that before, thanks for sharing, Lesley. I’ll have to share the video with my (musician) husband and son. The book sounds like a great read. What an inspiration, she is. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an inspiring story! The video caught my eye earlier in the year and I’m so pleased to read there’s more to the story.

    Wishing her every success for the future! And thanks to you for sharing!

    Natalia
    My Hearing Clinic

    Liked by 1 person

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