On the surface this book could be mistaken for a story about a great tragedy. There is no doubt that the accident that killed 4 Taylor students and a staff member was a tragedy. But the overwhelming message is one of hope. The title says it all; Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope.
I didn't want to buy this book. I wasn't sure I needed to read this book. I thought I knew all there was to know about the details and aftermath of the accident. Our daughter, Katie, was a senior at Taylor that year. She had been on the lacrosse team with Laura. I am an alum of Taylor and part of the Taylor community. She and, consequently, we were a part of this unfolding story on a day to day basis. For hours, days, weeks and months we were wrapped up in this horrible event.
But of course, I did buy the book and I read it. It traces the story of this unfathomable accident through the eyes of the Van Rhyn family as they receive the news that their daughter, Laura, survived a horrific accident through her 5 weeks of recovery. But it also tells the story of the Cerak family as they deal with their grief at losing their daughter Whitney. And it also is the heart rendering story of what happened leading up to and discovering that the girl in the hospital in Fort Wayne was not Laura Van Rhyn but Whitney Cerak.
But as the families say in the prologue, "It is a horrible thing to lose a child. Yet even in the midst of the worst of tragedies, God reveals Himself. These are not just words we use to keep our spirits up during difficult days. We have experienced this revelation in ourselves. Above all things, this is the message we hope to convey. This is a story about God's grace and His love for us that transcends the worst this world can dish out."
It is truly a powerful story of Hope for everyone.