Of the books that came my way in 2018, three were from the author, Tonya Barbee. They had beautiful covers. And so I confess, instead of reading them I used them as décor. One day I picked up Sharing Our Prayers, a book of testimonies that included one from Tonya Barbee, the sole author of the other two books. I read Tonya Barbee’s testimony and I thought I must have missed something. Surely this can not be the same woman I see welcoming visitors to church on Sunday morning. I started reading I am Still A Rose and within a week I finished it as well as her other book The Little Girl Inside: Owning My Role in My Own Pain. My initial reaction was that I could not believe the author was sharing what I was reading. In church there is an oft repeated saying, ‘You don’t look like what you been through.’ This could not be truer than in the life of this beautiful author. Tonya Barbee’s truth telling (about everything including herself) is what kept me reading, one book right after the other. And after you read the first book you will look for the second book. She had to write it as it expands and answers questions from the first book.
Tonya Barbee’s books hit the payload on the reader satisfaction scale. I thought about her books for a long time. They include suspense, humor, financial issues, family drama, triumphs, just enough titillating details, faith, love and so much more. The marvel is that Tonya shares all of this in her books. One of my favorite things about her writing is her ability to reflect honestly with herself and make necessary changes for her life and her children.
What I love most is that without propping herself on a pedestal, Tonya Barbee is the hero in her story. She is brave and she is smart. And while I wanted her to have the fairytale love and happy ending she was seeking, what makes her books powerful is her persistent resilience. This is not a book about barely weathering the storm. This is a book about a woman who stood firm and did not let circumstances define her. It is fitting that she identifies with the rose. A rose is a symbol of love. Tonya Barbee is a Rose and she knows it!
A few tickets remain for the September 21, I am Still A Rose Event
Purchase Tonya Barbee’s books here